Showing posts from April, 2019

Diversity in Patent Drafting

My Thanksgivings growing up were potluck-style, my family bringing traditional Persian foods, my aunt’s family bringing traditional Filipino foods, and everyone doing their best imitation on traditional Thanksgiving dishes. I’ve found that using a similar mindset can greatly improve patent drafting and prosecution. Unlike a more traditional patent law firm model where applications in a specific field are drafted by an individual who only works in that field, I’ve been exposed to different approaches with patent technology specialists having diverse backgrounds working with experienced attorneys who practice in a wide range of technologies.  Why can this be advantageous? Patent drafting inevitably requires some amount of learning. Inventions are, by definition, new and anyone other than the inventors is not an expert. Traditional firms might think it is beneficial to assign these inventions only to attorneys and/or agents considered experts in a particular field that seems clos

Inter Partes Reviews Wipe Out Three Napkin Patents

Have you ever read an article about a new patent, or seen a patent number on a product, and thought to yourself, “You can patent that??”  After nearly eight years in the intellectual property field, I’ve read some patent applications that were real doozies, but rarely do the really “out-of-the-box” ideas make it all the way to being a granted patent.  Consider, for example, napkin folding.  Is napkin folding an area of intellectual property that is hotly sought after?  It turns out, yes it is, as highlighted by three inter partes reviews (IPRs) that were recently entered by the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).  In February, the PTAB entered three IPR decisions relating to three patents owned by Essity Hygiene and Health AB and all directed to folded napkins ( 8,597,761 , 8,273,443, and 9,320,372 ).  Did you just ask yourself, “Someone got not one, not two, but three patents to folded napkins?”  Because I did.  But all  joking aside, not only did Essity own three folded nap

The Elastic Patent

Primarily, a patent is used to legally block a competitor from replicating an invention.  Patents have other uncommon uses as I’ve described before.  One example was the Scrub Daddy, who used patents to help secure an investment on Shark Tank and become what is now a $40-million-dollar company, which you can read about here . U.S. Patent No. 9,265,983, Exercise apparatus for assisting in strength exercises , or better known via its commercial name, The Sling Shot, is a resistance band that stretches across the user’s chest as the user is about to do a pressing motion.  The Sling Shot is designed to mitigate a load on the user’s shoulders as the user’s moves out of the fully eccentric position while maintaining proper form.  The Sling Shot is simple in design - the arm cuffs are elastic and the middle connecting portion is relatively inelastic, thereby preventing elbows from flaring out and providing a modicum of assistance in concentric direction.  Its primary use appears to act a