Over the years I have usually been very lazy, paying little or no attention to my cell phone bill. Years ago I sort of got into a rut, clicking around to use whatever cell phone plan on AT&T offered unlimited data and unlimited domestic calling and unlimited texting. Maybe a year ago I found I was paying $180 per month, and then I got it down to $120 per month, and then with a phone call I got it knocked down to $80 per month. I thought I was doing pretty well, and then realized that there are MVNOs that charge a lot less. I finally took the plunge and now it looks as though I will be paying $23 per month for unlimited talk and text and data. In this blog article I discuss factors that I think you might want to consider in possibly switching to a less expensive carrier. Continue reading
In this article I will propose that you buy your next cell phone from a different place than before, and maybe you will save several hundred dollars. Oh and toward the end of the article I will say a word or two for iPhone users. Continue reading
Recently a colleague asked whether a second Hague application (international design application) can claim priority from a first Hague application. This is a very interesting question. The answer is yes, it can, under certain circumstances, as I will explain. Continue reading
There is a procedure for converting a US provisional patent application into a non-provisional patent application. The practitioner who follows this procedure (instead of simply filing a non-provisional with a domestic benefit claim) will put the client in the position of incurring an extra government fee and losing some patent term.
So why would anyone ever carry out this procedure? There is a real-life situation where this might be the clever thing to do, as I learned the other day from a smart member of the EFS-Web listserv.
In the early 1980s, “shoulder surfing” was practiced near public pay phones to steal calling card digits and make long distance calls. In those days, the wary traveler would cup his or her hand around the pay phone keypad so that others could not see the calling card number being keyed in.
How times have changed, as we are reminded by this nice airport amenity — a public telephone offering free calls to any telephone number in the US. What do you suppose it costs the airport to provide this amenity? Continue reading
It’s a sort of sad discussion topic, but it comes up in the Internet discussion groups every few months. Here’s an example:
Do any of you know of countries outside the US that have a “grace period” after a public disclosure of an invention for filing a patent application in the country directed to the invention?
Sad because one wishes that the would-be inventor had consulted competent counsel before permitting the public disclosure to occur.
So, what’s the answer? Wouldn’t it be nice if, all in once place, somebody has compiled a list of countries with grace periods? Continue reading
A few days ago I wrote a blog article asking readers all around the world to please try making a few test telephone calls. I also sent out an email blast to our firm’s email mailing list, asking readers to please read the blog article and place a few test calls. The goal was to test out some special telephone numbers in the 883 country code (called iNum numbers). I was intrigued by the results. Continue reading
A loyal blog reader asked:
What prevents the U.S. telephone carriers from ending the use of spoofed caller-IDs? It would seem possible to put an authenticated (tokenized) caller-ID system in place for in-country calls that maintains the originating number, or at least flags the displayed number with some symbol if it cannot be authenticated.
This is a very good question. The answer might surprise him. Continue reading
A decade ago some Internet geeks set up a new kind of telephone number — an “iNum” telephone number. A regular telephone number always starts with a country code. Calls to Switzerland for example use a country code of “41”. Calls to North America use a country code of “1”. Just by looking at the telephone number, you can see what country it is associated with. But not iNum numbers. Continue reading