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Reviewing the Cannabis Landscape in North America

Last year Alec Griffiths an IP Manager at Patent Seekers, shared his research and insights on the changing landscape of Cannabis in North America.  A follow up article covering 2020-2021 will be with us shortly.  If you’d like an advanced copy please email

In the meantime why not check out the original article.  Cannabis – How the North American Patent Landscape is Changing. | Patent Seekers GB

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Championing Gender Diversity for Innovation

In celebration of International Women’s Day 2021, take time out to read Patent Analyst Clare Gibson’s thoughts on gender diversity in IP. Found in the latest issue of  The Women’s IP World Annual.

Clare has been a Patent Analyst at Patent Seekers since 2017. She has a degree in Physics from Cardiff University and works on the Physics and Mechanical Team carrying out a wide variety of searches for innovatiove companies worldwide.  In this article Clare discusses what gender diversity means to her.

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Opioid Addiction – A Patent Perspective part 2

In our latest article in the Global IP Matrix, Alec Griffiths, IP Manager at Patent Seekers, discusses part two of  ‘Opioid Addiction – A Patent Perspective’ and provides further in depth analysis on the opioid crisis focusing on the global distribution of patents and the activity surrounding some of the key assignees in the field.

Read the article here:The Global IP Matrix (

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AIPLA Virtual Mid-Winter Institute 2021

Attending the AIPLA Virtual Mid-Winter Institute February 1st to 5th 2021? Patent Seekers will be there to join the conversations, contribute to discussions and support your Intellectual Property search needs . Let us know if you’re attending, and look out for our exhibition space.

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Tec transfer teams’ IP challenges post-Covid-19 and beyond

Join the webinar for adiscussion of how to approach pre-filing searches, and the surprising intelligence and insights that search data can hold
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Patent Seekers joins Appleyard Lees for part four of their ‘Tech transfer teams’ IP challenges post-COVID-19 and beyond’, series of interactive virtual discussions, focused on the issues relevant to those managing intellectual property for tech transfer departments.

When budgets and time are tight, are pre-filing patent searches really worthwhile? If searches are done, what are the benefits? If they are not, what are the risks? Whether or not to conduct pre-filing searches can seem like a straightforward issue, but careful consideration is required to fully appreciate the implications of searching, or not.

Patent Seekers’ Alec Griffiths joins Appleyard Lees partners Richard Bray and Ean Davies for a discussion of how to approach pre-filing searches, and the surprising intelligence and insights that search data can hold.

Date: Tuesday 2 February 2021

Time: 10.00-11.00am – UK time

There is no fee to attend this webinar, however places are limited. Please register soon to guarantee your webinar seat. We hope you can join us.

Register now


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The Patent Development of Single Use Plastics

Food packaging has dominated headlines in recent years, largely due to the negative environmental impact of the production and waste of single-use plastics. With companies and governmentvowing to combat this it will be interesting to see if the patents within this field reflect the rhetoric, as well as looking where the industry is generally heading.


In the latest publication of Food & Drink Processing & Packaging  (page 68), Patent Seekers analyse the patents published within the last year to understand the industry direction. 

The patent development of single use plastics

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Transform Healthcare with Artificial Intelligence

It is clear that AI is transforming the world of medicine, yet innovation around the globe appears to be primarily concentrated in the US and China, the two economic powerhouses.


In the latest publication of Medical Device Developments  (page 27), Patent Seekers discusses the impact artificial intelligence has on Healthcare.

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Opioid Addiction – A Patent Perspective

Opioids are a broad class of drugs that interact with opioid receptors in your cells, creating sensations of pain relief and pleasure. Opioids can carry the risk of changing the brain’s chemistry, leading to tolerance, such that a larger dosage is required to produce the same effect. Opioid addiction can be characterised by an almost uncontrollable urge to use opioid drugs. It can lead to life-endangering health problems, such as overdosing, which in turn may cause breathing to slow or stop, and ultimately, death.

The opioid addiction crisis is one of the foremost global health concerns of recent years and is largely believed to be a direct result of the overstatement of the benefits of opioids coupled with underplaying the risks by large pharmaceutical companies and advocates.

Check out the full article, written by Alec Griffiths IP Manager at Patent Seekers, in issue 8 of the Global IP Matrix  where he analyses the patent landscape surrounding the fight against the opioid crisis.

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The High Steaks of BBQ IP

With July 4th weekend upon us, we at Patent Seekers would like to wish our families, friends and colleagues in the United States a Happy Independence Day by looking at the US patents that have helped make July 4th the undisputed King of BBQ related holidays.  We’ll explore the filing history of these patents, investigate the oldest BBQ patents we can find and take a look at some of the most recent publications to get a glimpse of where BBQ technology is currently. We’ll also take a sweeping look at the patent landscape, seeing where innovation is heaviest. Lastly, we’ll highlight some of the more weird and wonderful innovations in the area. By the end we’ll have shone some light on this niche of the culinary industry, highlighting the American innovations that have culminated in the barbecue’s domination of holidays such as July 4th, as well as its place amongst the top traditions of the summer months.

BBQs: A Patent History

As part of our insight in to the world of patents it only felt right to take a look back to some of the earliest references to BBQ innovation, to those barbecues that took the first foray into the realm of patent protection. Some of the earliest documents include: US1156773A, entitled “Barbecue Furnace”. This patent has an application date from 1915, making it the earliest reference we could find. It appears to relate to “constructing a portable folding stove or furnace for camp or field use made usually of a size to receive a quarter of beef for instance, so that it could be stored in small compass, easily transported, quickly set up”. US1250861A, entitled “Barbecue Stove” has an application date of 1917 and also appears to focus on portability. By contrast we also looked at some of the most recent patents that relate to barbecues. We found US2020178546A with an application date of 10th Dec 2019, entitled “Smoke-producing device for an outdoor grill” and US2020054168A “Pizza oven” with an application date of 13th August 2019, which appears to relate to a device for allowing pizza to be cooked on a barbecue grill.

Figure 1 (below) shows the filing history of barbecue related patents from 1915 to 2019. The filings appear to follow a pattern of almost sudden spiking, followed by a slight dip. There is a clear upward trend of filings from 1915 through to a tremendous peak in 2005, however, filings appear to have gradually decreased thereafter. Other noticeable peaks include the years 1989 & 2000.

Filing history of barbecue related patents from 1915 to 2019
Figure 1. Earliest Priority Year vs Number of Patent Families* (US only) *Produced using PatWorld.

Current BBQ Landscape

Figure 2 illustrates a set of documents clustered according to their semantic proximity where a point corresponds to a patent family. The map provides a visualisation of the technology clusters prevalent within the barbecue portfolio and reveals a diverse set of interests. The largest clusters appear to mainly relate to portability (blue dots) and barbecue covers/smokers (orange dots). Other clusters appear to relate to specific parts of the barbecue such as the grill assembly (dark blue dots), the stove (red dots) and the fuel supply (brown dots) or to accessories such as tongs (purple dots). The last remaining clusters appear to relate to barbecue sauce (green dots, grey dots).

Figure 2. Barbecue-related patent family map (US only)
Figure 2. Barbecue-related patent family map (US only)

Weird and Wonderful BBQ

When conducting the research for this paper, we came across a number of stand-out patents. We thought it would be a disservice not to draw attention to at least some of these great innovations!

US2006254433A1 - Barbeque and smoker
US2006254433A1 – Barbeque and smoker. Abstract An apparatus for barbecue cooking and smoking is described herein. Provided is a grill enclosure having a grill chamber and an adjustable vent to allow smoke to be released from the grill chamber. Additionally, an adjustable venting hood is coupled to the grill enclosure to channel and control smoke from the grill chamber. A smoker that is coupled to the venting hood receives the smoke channelled from the grill chamber. The smoker includes one or more racks connected to an axle capable of movement



US2016345774A1 – Stadium Barbeque Grill – Abstract – A stadium barbecue grill comprising an upper hood and a lower base defining an interior of the grill, a grid cooking surface with an indicia of an American football field; and an exterior indicia of an American football stadium attached to the hood.

USD627597S – Boxing glove shaped barbecue grill



With the current long days and cool nights of the summer months upon us, we are well and truly into the prime barbecue season. It is a wonder how much of the innovation present in today’s barbecues is patented, and how today’s barbecues have been shaped by the patents before them. This brief and light-hearted glimpse into the patents behind the barbecue culture has shown that barbecue innovation appears to be on the decline, does this mean that we have already reached the pinnacle of barbecue related technology?

Although the barbecue appears to be a relatively simple invention, with a long patenting history, there still appears to be room for innovation, certainly for attachments, accessories and/or means to cook food not usually associated with a barbecue, such as pizzas. Could this be enough to warrant at least a small resurgence in US barbecue tech?

As we make our way through these summer months, people everywhere have a renewed sense of appreciation for the barbecue and its long-standing tradition of bringing friends, families and communities together. We hope that this report has helped increase that appreciation by drawing some attention to the hard, behind-the-scenes work that has gone into making the barbecue the amazing cooking device that it is today.

From everyone at Patent Seekers, we hope you have an amazing July 4th Weekend!

Happy Independence Day!

This article was written by Alec Griffiths, IP Manager at Patent Seekers.

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