This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on March 17, 2012 10:45 PM. The previous post in this blog was At the little big dance. The next post in this blog is Censored in Portland. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Quotation of the Day

The Portland Loo symbolizes intelligent municipal government.... The Loo shows how government can become a profitable resource rather than a net spender.

It also symbolizes illegal governmental spending of ratepayer dollars. Or so a judge will soon be called on to decide.

Comments (34)

The Loos were designed and built with city general fund dollars.

Check out the tags at the end of the article: "Portland" & "Toilet."

The Loos were designed and built with city general fund dollars.

We all hope that that's what the court finds.

It's certainly being publicized with water bureau funds.

The official brochure seems to be coming from the water bureau.

More water bureau involvement in commercializing the loo here. But apparently no water rates go toward any of it. Hard to believe.

"We're hoping that this can be a profitable project and that we can lower the rates at the water bureau, what they have to pay for their water bills."

Then there are the maintenance costs...

It's such a great lawsuit. Best thing that's happened in Portland in a decade or more.

Thanks to bojack.org about Randy Leonard.

Randy cares not a whit for the niceties of legal and illegal.

Another example is the farcical attempt - and the fees paid pursuing it - to patent the Loos.

A government can't copyright or patent squat.

Gotta love Randy - never let a law get in the way of doing what you want.

He can't leave too soon.

I believe the loos are patented. The document I saw lists the inventor as Charles R. Leonard, a.k.a. Randy.

At least Randy assigned the patent to the city of Portland.

However I see no inventor listed except Randy. That means he is saying that he and he alone created the entire part of the invention claimed as original.

It appears to be an application, not an issued patent - am I missing something (its been a few years since I paid attention to patents)?


Can we see the rest of the page - the part with the patent number?

(This may be a learning experience for meas, like I said, I haven't paid attention to patents for a few years)


The patent (number D622,408 which has issued) is a design patent. This has the economic significance of a new chair design.

"Profitable resource" suggesta that Randy has sold a sufficient number of loos to paying customers to cover his overhead (design/I.P./manufacturing etc.)...

I call bull***t. Unless some municipal authority has purchased hundreds of loos which I haven't read about.

If we later learned that Randy is turning a profit on the Loos, that would make sense.

I'm relieved (sorry) to know that it's a design patent and not a patent. For a few minutes there it was looking as if Randy Leonard had invented the toilet.

Simple way to figure out who is right here Mr Leonard, open the books....

He may not have invented the toilet, but let's give Randy L credit for finding unique ways to flush tax dollars down it.

"The Portland Loo symbolizes intelligent municipal government...."

I thought it was obvious that Randay's smarter than all of us put together. Just ask him.

At least the loos will give the 1/3 that don't graduate HS here someplace to hang out and make deals.

I wonder if Water Bureau employees Anna Hill and Anne DiBenedetto will be subpoenaed with their time cards? Their time spent designing, commercializing, managing the Loo must astronomical.

And if the Loo is "simple to install" as the brochure says, then why did water bureau engineer David Gray need to go to Victoria to help install it?:

"INSTALLATION" "One water supply and one sewer connection are all that are required to make the Portland Loo operational"

Will Gray need to be sent again to apply lubricant to the door hinges as stated in the "MAINTENANCE" PR, to keep the 1 year warranty valid?

"At least the loos will give the 1/3 that don't graduate HS here someplace to hang out and make deals." Then let us call them "The Boardroom" and Randy is the "Chairman of the Board"

S8edriver: The patent (number D622,408 which has issued) is a design patent.
JK: Thanks - that finds a PDF that looks like a patent.

Again, Randy is claiming to be the sole, complete and only inventor.

And all that is patented is the look of the thing as shown in the drawings - not the technology or operation.

Another patent, on the operation, may be in the works, but it will have to get around this (and all the others on the prior art list):

US Patent #6,615,414 (Martha Miller in Georga):
The present invention is a portable sanitation device comprising a stall that houses and maintains a conventional toilet. Coupled to the toilet is a water source and coupled to the stall is a removable and separate septic tank. The water source will render a flushable unit that permits the waste to travel from the toilet to a separate and removable septic tank. Other features can be added for enhancing the present invention, such as, but not limited to: a sink coupled to the water source; a light source interiorly and/or exteriorly located; a urinal coupled to the water source; a tissue dispensing apparatus; a soap dispenser; a vent; shower head coupled to the water source; a capacity gauge coupled to the septic tank; and a by-pass valve located within the waste line of the toilet to the septic tank for enabling capability of by-passing the septic tank and tapping into an existing sewage line.

Miller even describes adding solar power (how very Portland for Georgia!)


Randy has a patent for a crapper......

His parents and Al Bundy must be so proud!

It never ceases to amaze me how wasteful the water bureau continues to be. In this month's bill, received around 3/10, were two "helpful" winterizing inserts. How is it intelligent municipal government to send out winterizing propaganda in March? This should have gone out in November. They were promptly escorted out to the blue recycle bin. Maybe they can add this wasteful use of water and sewer funds to the suit.

Wow, just wow. This is crazy. I blame myself. I pay Portland about $200/month for water and stormwater, and about $500/month for the Portland-component of my property taxes. I'm looking for an exit strategy.

Both a design patent and a utility patent were filed for "Public Restroom".

Design -- issued as Aug. 24, 2010 as U.S. Design Patent No. D622,408 and covers the appearance of the loo.

Utility -- filed Jan. 22, 2010 (although based on an earlier filing from Jan. 27, 2009) and is currently pending. No patent has yet issued, and in fact the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has NOT yet examined the patent application. The application has simply been published for public disclosure 18 months after the earlier filing as required by law.

I did not work on this patent application but, as a patent attorney, I know how to read one. Utility patents are filed to cover the structure and operation of an invention. In the instance of the Portland Loo, the utility patent application claims coverage for the combination of louvered upper and lower walls, an occupancy sensor triggering one of two light colors, roof-mounted photovoltaic panel coupled to light sources and sensors, a toilet, and a sink. I am, of course, summarizing as the exact structure is described in the claims of the patent application and a patent examiner will determine whether those claims are (1) new, and (2) non-obvious in view of prior art such as the '414 patent that JK noted in the comment above.

But as the money is already spent, I am hoping this patent ultimately issues and the city can make use of it. Otherwise, they're just flushing cash down to loo (so to speak).

Scott Schaffer, how much would you estimate the City taxpayers have spent for all these patent claims, and will spend to complete?

You say the "Loos were designed and built with general fund dollars" yet the City Attorney's preliminary response to the lawsuit (March 2013)says" From Fiscal Year 2008-2009 through FY 2010-11 the Water Bureau's capital investment in construction of Portland Loos or street toilets, including capitalized overhead, came to $101,434.
O&M for the same period, $75,000 with $60,000 for 2011-12.
The City Attorney did not provide information for the period prior to 2008-09.

lawsuit response date in last post should read March 2012, obviously not 2013

General fund and PDC contribution during same period noted above as reported by the City total $650,000.

In their lawsuit response letter intro statements City Attorney Thatcher says that there "may have been some errors during the information collection process and the numbers I provide would reflect those". So in other words the information provided may not be reliable.

How much money spent on patents thus far?

Probably around $10,000 for both the utility and design patent. Could be another $5000 over the next two years to prosecute the utility patent until it issues. At the very least, another $1000.

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