Blawg Review

It's not just a blog carnival; it's the law! ~ a fool in the forest

Patent Pending

a powerblog review by Anita Campbell

This week's PowerBlog Review is about the blog Patent Pending.

Or, as the full title describes the site, "Patent Pending - Inventions and Technology Updates For Fans of Inventions and Technology, Startup Companies and Entrepreneurs."

The Patent Pending blog is the brainchild of Robert Shaver, an attorney from Boise, Idaho, USA who enjoys technology.

Patent law blogs are nothing new -- there are dozens already. But Patent Pending is different. It is so interesting.

Robert says he didn't set out to write a typical "blawg" or law blog. Mostly those are read by lawyers and as he says, patent law is "a boring subject even for me."

Instead, he wanted to write about things that were of interest to non-attorneys -- things that inventors or other people interested in inventions and technology would want to read.

Robert has always liked to read facts about inventions, such as the items that trivia columnist L.M. Boyd used to write. He thought that if he liked it, so might others. So he decided to write about what interested him, using L.M. Boyd for inspiration. He says he looks for "...information that is readable, interesting, and something that the average person would have a hard time finding. Patents are good for that, because there are 6 million of them to choose from."

What you will find at Patent Pending is not typical blog fare. For one thing, it is mostly original content. For another, it is often about events that were news a long time ago, instead of something that happened yesterday or last week. Yet somehow it all seems fresh and relevant. History, technology, inventions, historical patents and trademarks are all covered -- often with a sense of intelligent humor and wit.

Some of the historical patent posts are absorbing -- even when they're about subjects you'd think would be a snooze. Take for instance, the plow. There is a great post on the history of the plow, replete with diagrams of a John Deere patent for a plow. Boring it sounds, but boring it is not. A lot of interest is added by the different patent diagrams and images Robert inserts in the post.

The way Robert approaches his subject matter heightens the interest. One of the techniques he uses adeptly is to tell a story using background information about inventors. One of my favorite posts is about Thomas Edison's invention of the ticker tape. The post illustrates Edison's capabilities as a negotiator, and how he received over ten times the amount for the invention than he expected -- all by knowing when to ask a question rather than answering one. While the post is ostensibly about the ticker tape, it is really a vignette about Thomas Edison the entrepreneur.

In addition to all the invention and technology topics, Patent Pending also gives practical tips about patents for inventors. For instance, did you think getting a patent was expensive? Well, perhaps it's not as expensive as you think, as this post, Patenting Basics, Q & A, points out.

The Power: The Power of Patent Pending is in the content that is full of trivia, but hardly trivial. And it is also in the way the blog tells stories, covers unusual topics, and uses images and diagrams to make for fascinating -- even addicting -- reading out of what would otherwise be dry subject matter.