Why It’s Time to Change the American Patent System

The Patent system in the US has evolved from time immemorial. Being the first federal statute patent in the US, The US Patent Act of 1790, vested the power to grant patents to the Patent Board. The board consisted of:

  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of War and,
  • The Attorney General

The Patent Act of 1836, established patent office which acted as an organization under the Department of State and was to be managed by a commissioner. The patent system has seen gradual improvements in attempts to straighten the previous patent systems. Not only has the patent system changed but also the manner in which applications for patents are made, the definition of an invention and other terms used in patenting.

American Patent System

US Patent Trademark Office has segregated patents to three types;

Utility Patents

Granted to those who invent or bring forth new and useful improvement to process, machine, article of manufacture or composition of matter.

Plant Patents

Awarded to those who discover and succeed in asexual reproduction of a plant(s)

Design Patents

Given to anyone who may invent a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

The Congress is the one empowered by the US constitution to enact laws that affect patents.

Worth a patent?

The Patent law dictates that the subject matter to the awarding of a patent is useful. Useful in that, the invention acts to serve a purpose; also includes operating the status of the machine. Therefore, an idea or a suggestion is not protectable.

Conditions

No patent if:

  1. The invention has ever been patented, described in a printed publication, in public use, on sale or in any way available to the public before the effective filing date for a claim.
  2. Subject has been described in a patent issued by the US or in an application of patent published or thoughtfully published by the US and names another inventor who enjoyed the patent.

Why a Change Is Crucial

Patents protect innovators. Strengthening them will motivate Americans to innovate, compete with the outside world and most important; create jobs. Congress is empowered to make laws on patents. Various houses have thus come up with legislation that has undermined patents sometimes even rolling back to previous patents, you see?

A good example is the PATENT Act (s. 1137) a Senate version of the Innovation Act. Below are the reasons:

To Draw Line Between Inventions

According to USTPO, a subject seeking patent and not exactly shown by the prior art and involves one or more differences over the most nearly similar known thing, will still lack patent even if the differences would be obvious. We are saying, “A critical, simple, improvement to an invention may lack a patent.”

Draw a clear line that will show what difference is looked at when giving patents. It will lead to people improving other people’s inventions knowing whether a copyright of their improvements is valid.

Treat Patents like Properties

Just like any other private property, patents cannot be infringed at will by other parties. Changing the current patent system will get innovators protected against large corporations and foreign entities. The two above maneuver and use weaknesses in the system to infringe rights awarded to innovators without making necessary compensations. Change the system to have innovators enjoy the fruits of their contributions to a better America!

Poor Use of Application Fees

Patent application fee should be used solely for matters that regard patents. Currently, the fees is being diverted to fund other government expenditures. Changing the patent system will bring sanity to use and management of the funds.

Permit Necessary Directives

Orders are necessary to prohibit patent infringers to continue using the invention while the matter is in court. More so, patent owners are not protected against notorious firms after the case is out of court. To protect them, change the existing system.

Encourage Fairness in Patent Office

Changing the patent system will mean also introducing new rules that will govern patent office holders. Changing the current system will encourage the said office holders to show fairness when dealing with patent issues. It will also caution them against harassing those coming to seek the office’s services.

In Conclusion, we appreciate that there exists a system governing patents. Although good, it’s weak. We attribute its weak nature to continued harassment of innovators. It has also discouraged inventions. A change of the patent system will promote innovativeness and creativity. Who knows, it could be the one holding back a great invention that may bring the heaven closer to earth!

National Honor Society

It is a pleasure to be attending American Heritage, let alone to be invited to the American Heritage National Honor Society. Everyone who has been invited here shares many outstanding traits. However, I have a few experiences that many might not. I bring some unique qualities to the table. I have participated in programs that strive to build confidence, leadership, and critical thinking; such as the Marine Military Academy Summer Program, an Envision trip to Stanford University, and a future trip to the U.S. Presidential Inauguration sponsored by Envision.

I attended the Marine Military Academy over a summer where I participated in a specific course dedicated to building leadership skills; in which I excelled. During the Envision trip to Stanford University, I underwent a simulated college experience and led a team to create a Mock Trial in only 7 days. Lastly, this coming Friday, January 20, 2017, I will be attending the Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit sponsored by Envision. During this experience, we will be creating solutions to fix 21st century problems. Some of the problems we will try to remedy will include fixing or enhancing solar energy, decreasing climate change, understanding AI, and many more.

Prior to all these leadership programs, I went through a very important school program in middle school. I became a guidance counselor (peer counselor) for elementary school students and sometimes students of the same grade as we were. This program was very helpful for me because it taught me both how to understand other people, and provided me with the critical thinking skills necessary to figure out others’ problems and how to solve them while also dealing with my own work.

In closing I would like to state that I would be flattered to become a member of the National Honor Society to be able to advance my leadership skills, meet other leaders and work together on solving problems.

Happy 95th Birthday Today, Pete Seeger – and That Calls for a Festival!

Mark the dates – Thursday, July 17 to Monday, July 21. Hudson Valley & New York City.

It was an NYC invite-only press invitation gladly accepted earlier this week by broadcast and print media to learn about – and report on – the first-ever Festival/Tribute to be held in honor of the life and contributions of Pete and Toshi Seeger.

“Seeger.” The name alone commands respect. And now, the press learned, that name is going to be further honored by the creation of a festival to celebrate this man’s placement in history. At least, if Pete and Toshi’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson and a core of Seeger family members and friends have anything to say about it.

They were there in force. Tom Chapin, The Chapin Sisters, Emma’s Revolution, Rick Nestler, Aurora Brown, Hip Hop artist and poet Nyraine and DJ Kool Herc, all stepping up to the microphone to pay tribute and show support. They will be among a score of musicians who will sing and play at the upcoming fest.

Performances and Protest – Synonymous With Pete Seeger

Think of the occasions through the years. The festivals of Clearwater, Strawberry Festival, Newport Folk Festival (he was a founder), Farm Aid, benefit concerts for migrant workers, college coffee houses, churches, summer camps, world tours, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Union Halls, Carnegie Hall, the Vietnam Moratorium Day, Lincoln Center…any place and time where peace and hope needed to be championed.

Think of the people he sang with, or whose music he influenced. The Weavers, the Kingston Trio, Peter, Paul and Mary, Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Burl Ives, Lee Hays, Cisco Houston, The Byrds, Johnny Cash, June Carter, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Tom Paxton, Judy Collins, The Smothers Brothers, Bob Dylan, Theodore Bikel, Odetta, Don McLean, Bruce Springsteen, and on and on.

Think of the songs he wrote or made famous. If I had a Hammer. Turn Turn Turn. Where Have All the Flowers Gone? Waist Deep in the Big Muddy. Midnight Special. What Did You Learn In School Today? Little Boxes. Guantanamera. This Land is Your Land. Worried Man Blues. Kisses Sweeter Than Wine. La Qunice Brigada, And, of course, the anthem: We Shall Overcome.

Think of the travails he endured and overcome. They came early and lasted late. His early membership and experience in the communist party, his work on behalf of labor unions, pioneering integrated casts of musicians, and musical lyrics which called for peace instead of war caused him to be the target for right-of-center politicians and the John Birchers of that day.

That continuing, corrosive assault caused his work and his patriotism to be questioned and attacked, resulting in a blacklisting of his famous singing group, The Weavers, and radio stations refused to play their music and bookings were cancelled.  The McCarthy era ramped up the venom.

On August 18, 1955, Pete Seeger was subpoenaed to testify before the HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee) where he refused to plead the Fifth Amendment. Rather, he stood on his First Amendment rights of free speech.  The 1957 indictment (from a body itself contemptible – much as today), he was convicted in a jury trial for contempt of congress. In May, 1962, an appeals court ruled the indictment to be flawed and the conviction was overturned.

Blacklisted and unemployable in the industry, he and Toshi survived by earning money as music teachers in summer camps and travelling the college circuit. And, this is where he served as an essential source for the revival of folk music. Pete’s music and causes helped him to worked his way back into America’s heart (where he had never left).  We are the beneficiaries of his life’s work.

And, That Calls for a Festival!

Think of the experience you will have, attending what will surely be a musical love-fest. Artists (and expect surprise “walk-ons”) over the series will include David Avram, Tom Chapin and the Chapin Sisters, Guy Davis, Emma’s Revolution, Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, Kim & Reggie Harris, Hudson River Sloop Singers, Holly Near, Paul Winter Consort, The Vanaver Caravan, Dar Williams & Dan Zanes and Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and the famous “more.”

Here’s just a partial run-down:

Thursday, July 17 – Opens with a film screening of the Emmy-award winning documentary, Pete Seeger: The Power of Song. Pier 46 & The Hudson River. 8:30 p.m.
Friday, July 18 – Memorial Service. Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, NY. 7 p.m.
Saturday, July 19 – ALL DAY
Events throughout the Hudson Valley, song circle and potluck supper, square dancing, “Rocking the Boat,” and film-and-photography by Pete and Toshi Seeger by El Taller Latino Americano.
Sunday, July 20 – 4 p.m.
Lincoln Center Out of Doors – Memorial Concert for Pete and Toshi
Monday, July 21 – 6 p.m.
New Songs of Justice: An Evening Honoring Pete Seeger. Summer Stage, Rumsey Playfield, Central Park

(More complete details for each event can be found at: www.seegerfest.org)

The Founder and Executive Producer of Seeger Fest is Pete’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, his wife, Jeannine and family friend Kalynda Klementis. The festival co-producers are Gina Belafonte, actress, activists and daughter of Harry Belafonte, Janae Desire, television producer and Jason Samel, music activist and record producer.

As described at the site:

“The Seegers were involved in nearly every cause of the twentieth century. From the labor movement to civil rights to anti-war to the environmental movement, Pete and Toshi were always on the front lines. This five day event will honor their work, remember them as people and shed light on the musicians and non-profit organizations continuing to work for a better tomorrow.”

Your presence, as part of that acknowledgment, is requested.

guitars and banjo

A Wave of Action – Or a Wave Goodbye? It’s Occupy’s Call

What will prove to be either the last gasp of the Occupy Movement, or its Renaissance as a social powerhouse, will lie in the success and its embrace of a highly-publicized #WaveOfAction which launches a major 90-day program of protest and resistance on April 4.

The Wave begins, symbolically, on the date of the assassination of Martin Luther King and ends, symbolically, on July the 4th.  It will run from the date of the death of a dream that will not die to the date of the birth of a vision which has yet to be fulfilled.

 So, what is the purpose of this ambitious campaign, who is behind it, and what can we expect of it – and of ourselves?  The purpose is stated on its website and is quite clear.