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Old 01-30-2007, 12:16 AM   #1
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Trailer: Boler 17 ft
Posts: 510
2003 #1: Soap Saver Dishes

Date: 2 Jan 2003 06:32:23 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

I'm writing to you to ask for clarification of UIC's policies regarding
a recent idea of mine.

I just read your office's web pages advertising the Online Measurement
System (CR18) invention. My new idea involves a level of creativity
similar to the level displayed by that invention, and has a much wider
potential market. Perhaps UIC is interested in obtaining a patent on
this idea, and promoting transfer of this technology to an industrial
partner, for the benefit of both UIC and the general public.

The invention is a Soap Saver Dish. The Soap Saver Dish is a plastic
holder for soap. It has several prongs reaching up out of a tray. Soap
can sit on top of the prongs, while soapy water collects in the tray.
The prongs reach higher than the edge of the tray, so that water
collected in the tray does not touch the soap.

The prior art includes two types of soap holders:

* A soap dish is a tray. It holds soap in place, and collects soapy
water, keeping the soapy water off the underlying surface (unless
the soap dish overflows). It does not prevent the soap from resting
in water and turning to mush.

* A soap saver has several prongs reaching up from a flat surface. It
holds the soap in place above that surface, preventing the soap
from turning to mush.

The Soap Saver Dish combines the advantages of soap dishes and soap
savers. It appears to be new. The closest prior art I have found in my
market research is a soap dish with prongs at the same height as the top
of the tray; this fails to keep the soap out of the water when the tray
is full. The Soap Saver Dish avoids that problem.

Specific questions:

1. Does this idea constitute ``intellectual property'' under the
University of Illinois Policy on Patents and Copyrights? Please explain
your answer in enough detail that it can be independently verified.

2. As I recall, I came up with this idea in the shower one morning. Am I
correct in concluding that, under the University of Illinois Policy on
Patents and Copyrights, the university does not own this idea? Please
explain your answer.

3. Am I correct in concluding that I am under no obligation to report
this idea to the university? Are there any relevant factors here other
than the location in which I came up with the idea? Please explain your

4. Whether or not disclosure is required, I could assign patent rights
in this idea to the university. Is UIC interested in this idea? How does
your office make these decisions?

2003 #2: Two-Person Cookbooks

Date: 3 Jan 2003 08:29:24 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

I am writing to you regarding another recent idea of mine. I have the
same questions here that I had regarding the Soap Saver Dish.

The idea is a Two-Person Cookbook. A normal recipe is a sequence of
instructions for one cook to prepare a dish; when two cooks want to work
together, they have to figure out which instructions can be carried out
in parallel, how to fairly divide the labor among the cooks, etc. The
Two-Person Cookbook already contains all this information in novel
two-person recipes.

I should note that I received your previous message. While I appreciate
your statement of enthusiasm for the Soap Saver Dish, I cannot accept
that statement as a substitute for clarification of UIC's patent
policies. Does UIC require, or desire, disclosure of these ideas? Please
explain your answers.

2003 #3: Shared Exam Creation

Date: 4 Jan 2003 05:14:10 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

You said in your second message that works are ``outside the patent
policy'' if they are not ``within the scope of your UIC employment in
the Math Department.'' But this begs the question: exactly what items
are ``within the scope'' of my employment?

Here's another recent idea of mine: Shared Exam Creation. I've noticed
that professors often teach courses similar to courses taught before or
taught at other universities. Instead of repeating all the effort of
course creation from scratch, they can combine efforts. In particular,
there's tremendous redundancy in the creation of thousands of similar
exams on a single topic; a fraction of the effort would produce a pool
of exam questions that everyone could use. The pool could include
answers, grading scales, statistics on student performance, etc.

Does this idea constitute ``intellectual property'' under the patent
policy? Is this idea ``within the scope'' of my employment? If so, why?
If not, why not?

2003 #4: Unkillable Alarm Clocks

Date: 5 Jan 2003 09:52:08 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: the Unkillable Alarm Clock. I have the
same questions about the Unkillable Alarm Clock that I had about the
Soap Saver Dish, the Two-Person Cookbook, and Shared Exam Creation.

The Unkillable Alarm Clock makes noise for a preset amount of time. It
cannot be turned off. It has a battery backup so that it cannot be
usefully unplugged. It comes with a security cable so that it can be
locked to an unmovable piece of furniture. It is built from reinforced
steel so that it cannot be destroyed by a baseball bat. In short, unlike
a normal alarm clock, the Unkillable Alarm Clock ensures that the user
does not simply turn the alarm off and go back to sleep.

2003 #5: Luggage Key Escrow

Date: 6 Jan 2003 09:38:14 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: Luggage Key Escrow.

As I'm sure you've heard, the government often needs to open luggage
checked on commercial planes. The Luggage Key Escrow idea is to deposit
copies of luggage keys with the government, so that luggage can be
safely locked without interfering with the government's need to open the

Of course, electronic locks will allow simpler key management than
traditional pin-tumbler locks.

2003 #6: Multiple TV Guide Channels

Date: 7 Jan 2003 14:55:06 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: Multiple TV Guide Channels.

Right now, a typical cable TV service has only one TV Guide Channel,
which takes several minutes to present a complete TV listing. With
Multiple TV Guide Channels, the TV viewer can see the complete TV
listing much more quickly. The listing can be organized by channel, by
time, by type of show, etc.; with enough TV Guide Channels, listings
organized in several different ways can be presented simultaneously.

2003 #7: Frequent Flyer Belt Buckles

Date: 8 Jan 2003 08:11:27 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: Frequent Flyer Belt Buckles.

Airports have turned up the sensitivity on their metal detectors at
security checkpoints. Common metal belt buckles are now setting off the
detectors, so passengers are forced to take their belts off. Frequent
Flyer Belt Buckles solve this problem: they are made of materials that
don't set off airport metal detectors.

2003 #8: AspiTonin

Date: 9 Jan 2003 08:01:12 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: AspiTonin.

Many people take daily doses of aspirin. Many people take daily doses of
melatonin. An AspiTonin tablet contains both aspirin and melatonin, so
that people who want both drugs can take a single tablet. AspiTonin is
also suitable for occasional use.

2003 #9: Internet Bus Locators

Date: 10 Jan 2003 09:38:22 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

Here's another idea I've had: Internet Bus Locators.

It can be rather frustrating to plan bus travel, because buses almost
never run on time. An Internet Bus Locator is a web site that shows the
current locations of buses and, possibly, updated estimates for the
arrival times of the buses at subsequent stops, allowing passengers to
adapt their schedules accordingly.

2003 #10: Coin-Operated Elevators

Date: 11 Jan 2003 09:45:28 -0000

Dear Ms. Tarzian:

This is the tenth message I've sent you on this topic. Your responses so
far really haven't been of any help in clarifying UIC's policies. Is
there some reason you aren't answering my questions?

Anyway, here's another idea I've had: Coin-Operated Elevators.

With Coin-Operated Elevators, instead of pressing an elevator button,
the passenger inserts a coin into an appropriate slot. Coin-Operated
Elevators help shift the costs of running an elevator to the passengers
who use the elevator. They also discourage pranksters from annoying
legitimate users by casually pressing random elevator buttons.


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Old 01-30-2007, 01:57 PM   #2
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Name: Anne
Trailer: Escape 17 ft 2006 / 2005 Honda Pilot
Posts: 467
Hmmmm . . . . I kind of like the recipe book idea.

The bus/train system in Portland already has gps locators connected to scheduled stops - you can find actual 'minutes to arrival' for the next bus coming to your stop by connecting with a web-enabled cell phone (or calling the transit tracker phone number) - so he's too late on that one.

The rest of them . . .

Anne H and Fay Wray, the cat | Portland, OR
en Plein Air (2016 19' Escape; 2016 Honda Pilot )
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Old 01-30-2007, 04:15 PM   #3
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Name: Don
Trailer: Back to shopping
Posts: 224
Is this the guy who invented the little plastic thingee that goes on top of the pizza in the delivery box
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