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Archived updates for Friday, August 24, 2007

TGIF for Enigmatic Patent Secrets

Thanks to "What the Funny...Patents" for pointing to U.S. Patent No. 6,103,946 for "Cryptographs" by William Friedman, issued October 10, 2000 on a single application filed October 23, 1936, a pendency of just under 64 years, probably due to a secrecy order.

On February 23, 1918, German engineer Arthur Scherbius applied for a patent for a cipher machine using rotors, and, with E. Richard Ritter, founded the firm of Scherbius & Ritter. Scherbius' prior art "Enigma" patent — U.S. Patent 1,657,411 , granted in 1928:

The Enigma was used commercially from the early 1920s on, and was also adopted by the military and governmental services of a number of nations—most famously by Nazi Germany before and during World War II. The German military model gained notoriety because Allied cryptologists were able to decrypt a large number of messages that had been enciphered on the machine.

Read on for more enigmatic patent secrets that were revealed this week by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Thank Goodness It's Friday,

--Bill Heinze

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