In a 95-5 vote earlier this week. the United States Senate passed the America Invents Act. The Act would change the U.S. patent system from first-to-invent to first-to-file. This race to the patent office for inventors is meant to provide avenues to relieve increasing litigation over patent infringement and help the Patent Office clear its backlog of some 700,000 applications.
The Patent Office usually generates fees of around $4,000 per application, but the Act would allow them to set a higher, as of yet undisclosed, designated fee to ensure that the application clears the process in one year. This is seen as a bonus for large companies, but perhaps a larger financial burden for the small inventor who will not likely be able to compete with large corporate firms who have the financial clout to be first to file and pay the designated one-year application fees.
The Act now makes its way to the House of Representatives where there is no immediate indication of when or whether it will reach the floor for a vote. For a broader story on the Act, see and article in the New York Times at:
If you can get over the initial confusion about a fireplace being recalled due to a fire hazard, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a voluntary recall today of some 20,000 Garden Treasure Living steel-framed outdoor wood-burning fireplaces sold at Lowe's Retail Stores from March to November, 2010. According to the CPSC the product has a decorative bronze powder coat finish on the chimney that poses a fire hazard during use. CPSC has 14 reports of this occurring with one report of melted siding.
As with many recalled products, this one was manufactured in China, but has a U.S. manufacturer listed as Sunjoy Industries Group Limited of Steubenville, Ohio. The fireplace cost about $300 and the recalled product code can be found on the front page of the instruction manual -- item number 0027705 and model number L-OF082PFST-3.
It is illegal to re-sell a recalled product. For a picture of the fireplace or more information, see the recall notice at
Check your Skippy Peanut Butter in 16.3 oz plastic bottles against the recall list at the FDA link below. The peanut butter has been recalled due in part to risks of Salmonella, which can cause serious or even fatal infections in young children, and serious health conditions in others such as the elderly or immuno-compromised.
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