Re User authentication based on a wrist vein pattern US 20140196131 A1

I would have thought my published prior art disclosures would invalidate this patent. I only published these disclosures to keep the technology open so that I could return to it once the world and the consequential market for personal worn biometric authenticators came around to my way of thinking.

Joe Rice

See: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/joseph.rice/



My view in more detail:

I put the Open Source Biowatch project up some years ago to try and spur some interest in an open source project to develop a biometric wristwatch, but I had no interest in the project from any sources. However, now in 2014 I am getting lots of interest in the Biowatch. Its interesting that the US patent Office judging by the patents its granting doesn't seem to read anything by me on the subject of the Biowatch or wrist worn vein based biometric systems, I have been publishing stuff in the public domain (internet) since 1996 and they never cite it.

I first published my ideas for the development of a wrist worn biometric authenticator on my website in 1996 see http://homepage.ntlworld.com/joseph.rice/ and subsequently I presented a paper on the subject at the Biometric Summit in Washing DC in 1999. It seems strange to me that although my talk was at an international conference and it was subsequently published in an industry journal the US patent Office seems to be granting patents on all sorts of stuff that I have previously disclosed.

My talk at the Biometric Summit was to put a marker down for the Biowatch I had received no interest in the idea nor did I have any chance of funding, plus the BTG ( British Technology Group) were retiring my vein pattern patents early as there was no interest in the technology. My talk did not go down well the place was filled largely by police and security organisations, none of them wanted a biometric system that the people owned and controlled themselves!

I knew I was right and the Biowatch would succeed I just wondered when, so my talk was aimed at keeping the ideas open and putting a marker down for the future so I could pursue this project again once the world had come around to my way of thinking. However, during the long years of being overlooked I began to wonder whether that day would be long after my death.

However, that time now seems to have come so I will start again with interested collaborators in developing personal worn biometric systems based on vein patterns.

J.Rice August 14 2014

  • Your patent: Apparatus for the identification of individuals US 4699149 from the 1980's looks relevant to US20140196131 to me. I highly recommend using the AIA third party submission program to at least put it and two other relevant things in front of the examiner. Under that program the examiner is required to consider them. – George White Aug 16 '14 at 18:53
  • @GeorgeWhite -- good find; not sure why he didn't cite that himself. – Soren Aug 17 '14 at 2:23
  • Hi George thanks for the information. I thought that patent examiners would automatically look up prior granted potents for prior art and that is why I didn't reference my patent in my post. Does it matter that I am English and not an American and my original patents were filed in the UK and Europe before the US filing? If not, how do I bring this prior art to the attention of the examiner as it is not obvious from their website uspto.gov/aia_implementation/faqs-preissuance-submissions.jsp Unless I am looking at the wrong website. Cheers Joe Rice – Joe Rice Aug 17 '14 at 15:20

First, having content on a webpage is not evidence of prior art, unless such material can be independently verified and dated. I can see pages on archive.org dating from 2000 but not earlier than that -- archive.org is an indication, but not evidence unless archive.org provides a document of authenticity. A reference to the British patent you are citing would be much better -- but looking at the UK patent database I don't see any patents listed in your name.

Second, A brief look at you page, you are talking about that vein images can be used to authenticate a person -- so you are describing what can be done, but I don't see anything about how it can be done -- e.g a description of machinery to do such detection.

You cannot patent a naturally occurring phenomenon, but you can patent a technology to detect or create such phenomenon -- so if I discover a new shade of red, I cannot patent that shade but I can patent a process to produce it or I can patent a technology to detect it.

The patent you are citing looks to me (but i'm not an expert in this field) as a description of technology on how to obtain and detect the vein patterns. The fact that there is prior art on documenting that such patterns exits is kind of irrelevant as that is not what is patented. The fact is that most new inventions builds on non-obvious and innovative extensions to prior inventions, which is exactly what is expected from an inventor and the patent process.

  • Thanks for the info so its worth getting all my UK and PTO patent stuff together plus the demonstration at the Techmart exhibition in Birmingham UK and my talk to the Biometric Summit before approaching the US examiner. – Joe Rice Aug 17 '14 at 15:30
  • Should have typed PCT patent stuff above sorry? However, my big question is how should I go about developing my own invention without paying royalties to US firms with smart lawyers when it starts selling in the USA? What is a poor engineer to do faced with all these smart US lawyers? – Joe Rice Aug 17 '14 at 16:26
  • For Early Vein stuff look up my innotts pages Joe.Rice Veincheck Joe Rice Joe...@innotts.co.uk innotts.co.uk/~joerice see: cypherpunks.venona.com/date/1996/07/msg02765.html – Joe Rice Aug 17 '14 at 17:01
  • A demonstration on a exhibition is not going to gain you anything with respect to patents at this point -- only material dated before the filing date on the application will be useful -- as per George's suggestion AIA third party submission program is the way to go, and possible getting a lawyer involved to vet your moves. – Soren Aug 17 '14 at 17:58

And just to be clear, the publication to which you refer (US 20140196131 A1) is not a patent. It's pre-grant publication of an application for a patent. It has not been examined, yet alone granted/allowed.


An update to the other answers shows that the application US 20140196131 A1 was abandoned on 06-08-2016. Thus this application is not and will not become a US patent. I used the US Public Pair site to determine this.


Examiners do search for earlier patents and patent applications but searching doesn't guarantee finding. It doesn't matter who you are or where you live or where you filed first. In Ask Patents meta there are instructions for the 3rd party submission process. meta.patents.stackexchange.com/questions/105/…. Also, the 20140196131 is not a patent. It is the publication of an application for a patent and has not yet show that it has been searched or examined.

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