I can hardly believe it has been two months since I first set foot in Prague, the month just prior to the onset of the Syrian migrant crisis in Europe.
For those of you who know me, you probably already know I had the pleasure to spend two weeks this summer in one of the gems of Europe, Prague in the Czech Republic, with my son, Ryan. My 12 year-old hockey player wanted to attend hockey camp. Sports define him. He expresses himself on the ice/field. He was hoping for a trip to Florida, but when I looked at some of the summer hockey camps available, I discovered an opportunity of a lifetime. For the price of a local camp, he could attend a world-class camp and experience another culture. And, I get a mini working vacation.
I am glad we chose this camp. Ryan met children from around the world and lived with the other campers eating local food and doing local things during his free time. Language was not a barrier. He actually liked the food. Any parent knows picky pre-teens rarely like anything new.
Ryan met some expatriates from Pennsylvania. He learned what a small world it truly is and made some friends I hope he keeps in touch with – he already made plans to meet again next summer at camp.
Ryan spent five days at the Hvezda ice rink with his campmates from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Ukraine, England, US and other regions of the world. Out of a total of about 700 active National Hockey League (NHL) players, about 39 are Czech-born. To be sure, Czech Republic is a country of only 10 million and outside of North America. Clearly, they must have done something right about hockey. This is a small country, but it has a global impact. As a patent practitioner, I learned about the inventive contributions of Czech Republic. For the relatively small population and economy, it has materially contributed to global technology advancement. We also had the opportunity to ride Segways, an American invention, around the City of Prague. Not an average day at home and a cool way to test iconic inventions.
A few of the patents granted to Czech citizens include US7,895,933 entitling “Pistol Conversion from An Automatic Weapon,” US8,176,833 entitling “Firearm Receiver with Extended Bridge,” and US 8,191,298 entitling “Magazine Quick Release Blocking Apparatus and Method.” In 2014, 310 US patents were issued to at least one Czech co-inventor. This list shows a steady increase from the past years:
2002 – 48 patents
2003 – 63 patents
2004 – 55 patents
2005 – 57 patents
2006 – 55 patents
2007 – 62 patents
2008 – 76 patents
2009 – 92 patents
2010 – 127 patents
2011 – 150 patents
2012 – 189 patents
2013 – 229 patents
It’s been truly a pleasure and honor working with all of you, my dear clients from Washington state to Kiev, Ukraine on patenting your inventions. Don’t forget to continue to “Czech” us out for your future IP needs!