Showing posts from November, 2018

Reefer Madness

The burgeoning marijuana industry is witnessing incredible growth as the previously forbidden fruit becomes legal in an increasing number of states.  While the public is quick to adopt its legalization, other sectors are slow to adapt and the USPTO is no exception.               Early internet patents predicting various ways in which the internet would be used are now viewed as overly broad and the USPTO has swung the pendulum in the opposite direction (hello Section 101 rejections). Marijuana patents appear to be in a similar phase; it’s hard to say what is overly broad for a new product.  However, unlike the internet, marijuana has been known and tested, with many experiments occurring in the last century.  This presents an interesting issue - companies may patent previously known compositions, strands, and the like with little consequence, for now, as documentation of marijuana experimentation was minimal and possibly incriminating.              One example of such a case is goi…

Lessons from the “Nut Wizard”

Inventions are often born out of a desire to improve upon current market products. If this is the case with your invention, clearly pointing out prior art that your invention has improvements over is useful information to include in a patent application.
One example of a patent application that includes discussion of prior art is for the “Nut Wizard” (U.S. Pat. No. 6,460,249 B1), a rolling basket with a handle that is used to pick nuts and fruit off of the ground. The patent application for the “Nut Wizard” does a great job of emphasizing improvements made over other devices in the same space. For example, the “Nut Wizard” application points out how U.S. Pat. Nos. 3,215,293 and 3,604,190 includes axles that run through a basket, which may be difficult and expensive to produce. Then, to clearly contrast this prior art, the “Nut Wizard” application explains features that make it simple and inexpensive to construct.   
Pointing out disadvantages in prior art and how your invention addre…