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70 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JANUARY 2023 A Patently Innovative Revolution e month of January is named for the Roman god Janus, a two-faced deity whose role is to watch over doorways, the comings and goings of individuals, and the passage of time. In January, individuals oen make resolutions to themselves; though following through on these resolutions may be short- lived, a new year oen prompts us to be mind- ful of the need to make some improvements in our lives—whether personal or professional. One of the best ways to look forward is, like Janus, to simultaneously look backward. For technologists of every stripe, one of the best places to look back on is the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). e patent office is a great place to get an understanding of the kinds of useful ideas that may shape our technological future. We gener- ally think of patents as a means to protect intel- lectual property, but patents can be a valuable tool in divining what's to come. As many of us lack a full appreciation of the history of patents, this article aims to provide a brief history and some personal comments and observations on this important topic. In the broadest terms, the patent office has been the nation's repository for millions of inspirations, insights, and all our inven- tors' "Eureka!" and "A-ha!" moments since the founding of the United States of America. e USPTO records and memorializes all the inventions born from those special moments of discovery, allowing everyone in the world to see and learn from them. Flexible Thinking by Joe Fjelstad, VERDANT ELECTRONICS

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