E-Cigarettes Patent (Application) 3 of 3

Hello Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts!

Ready for another round of Name that Patent?  I know I am.  So, for this post, I will be looking at R.J. Reynolds patents for VUSE.

Patent (Application) 3 of 3:

US20140000638

 ECig 3

According to the Product FAQ page, SmartLight, V-Liquid, and SmartMemory are all marked as TM.  Though not marked, these are also filed as trademarks according to the USPTO: VUSESolo (actually registered); VaporDelivery Processor; and PowerUnit…tsk tsk R.J. Reynolds, you should be more diligent in identifying your marks…particularly when the marks are basically generic or descriptive when listed without their logo!

With all those choices, you would think I would find tons of patents from them on the topic.  Interestingly enough, I cannot find any e-cigarette utility patents issued to R.J. Reynolds.  However, I decided to keep looking in published applications, and I was not disappointed.  In this one application, I have found potential references to the SmartLight (see eg. page 8, paragraph 0047), PowerUnit (see eg. most of page 5), VaporDelivery Processor (throughout pages 5-8), V-Liquid (“aerosol precursor”) and SmartMemory (see eg. page 5, paragraph 0034).  These references are vague and general, but they are there.

What’s really surprising is how recently they filed this application.  They filed an earlier application in 2012, but, still, they seem very new to the industry.  These recent patent filings combined with their aggressive trademark filing and sloppy use of those trademarks suggests that they are throwing themselves into the market so they don’t miss out on the e-cigarette trend.  It seems at least one other person was equally skeptical about their products.

So, those are my guesses.  I may be right.  I might even be wrong (to paraphrase the bizarrely obvious opening lines of Throwdown with Bobby Flay).  What I do know is that I am much more aware of e-cigarettes now, and I have been surprised at how prevalent they are.

I don’t know if they will overcome the traditional tobacco cigarette, but in our anti-smoking nation, e-cigarettes may allow smokers back into restaurants, bars, airplanes…anywhere people are forced to share the same air (yes, I understand that on a meta level, we all share the same air, but you know what I mean).  Right now, the industry is capitalizing on the lack of regulation, extra taxation, and health data.  Big Tobacco companies are catching on.  Some, like Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds, have developed their own lines, and others, like Lorillard (Newport), have bought out already-successful e-cigarette companies (in Lorillard’s case, Blu).  I foresee a big change when the FDA realized that e-cigarettes may not be just a passing trend.

Patently Yours

E-Cigarettes Patent 2 of 3

Hello Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts!

It feels like I have been away forever.  Hopefully, you missed these witty posts.  Heh.  As I promised, I will attempt to pair a patent to a trademarked e-cigarette technology from each Philip Morris (Marlboro) and R.J. Reynolds (Camel).  I shall begin this game with the MarkTen from Philip Morris.

Patent 2 of 3:

US6994096

Flow Distributor of an Electrically Heated Cigarette Smoking System

ECig 2

According to the MarkTenTM website, under MarkTen facts, the e-cigarettes use FourDrawTM technology “for a consistently smooth experience.”  The stated purpose of US6994096 is “a desirable improvement in air flow distribution to heater blades of an electrical smoking system, which results in an increase of the total aerosol delivery of the system.”  And, not so coincidentally, two dependent claims specify embodiments with four openings.  In further support of my guess, Column 4 lines 21-41 (you have to view the patent in PDF form to column and line numbering) describe in detail an exemplary embodiment with four holes.  Boom!  Matched!

Stay tuned for the next exciting round, which**spoiler alert** is not nearly as obvious as this one.  And on that bombshell (to quote Top Gear), I conclude this post.  Until next time!

Patently Yours

E-Cigarettes Patent 1 of 3

Hello Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts,

Welcome back to our second e-cigarette installment!  Unlike the Christmas Tree patents, the e-cigarette results were not nearly as fun and ridiculous.  So, instead I shall begin at the beginning and then play a little guessing game for the next two blog entries.  Intrigued?  I thought you would be.

Patent 1 of 3

Smokeless Non-Tobacco Cigarette

Filed April 17, 1963

US3200819

US3200819-0 E-cig 1

Before we get to the excitement, though, let’s review the “Smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” patent.  Though there is ample debate today about the safety of e-cigarettes, it seems that Mr. Gilbert wanted to focus on the potential health benefits of this technology, as either a way to dispense medicine or to simulate a traditional cigarette.  The patent even suggests adding flavor to further help curb smoking habits.  I think my favorite exemplary flavor suggestion is the “artificial flavor of Scotch Whisky.”  Mmm…after a long day at work, nothing sounds better than pulling out a fake cigarette and inhaling some vaporized liquid that sort of tastes like Scotch Whisky.  All the burn without the buzz.  Aha!  Added benefit, you can quit drinking at the same time you are trying to quit smoking.  Boom!

Judging by the patents that reference this patent as prior art, at least some companies believed in the idea of using a vaporizing device to administer drugs.  For example, many of the referencing patents are owned by Alexza Pharmaceuticals, the company now marketing the Staccato System, which uses vaporization and heat to control particulate size to allow for deep inhalation of medicaments.

However, despite seemingly healthy intentions, this patent still unofficially (very unofficial) marks the start of the e-cigarette revolution.  A handful of tobacco companies own patents that reference this one, but two standouts are R. J. Reynolds Tobacco (Camel, etc.) and Philip Morris (Marlboro, etc.).  That leads me to the awesome guessing game!  Both of these tobacco juggernauts have come out with an e-cigarette line, each with their own share of trademarked technology.  For this little game, I will try to match the trademark to a patent owned by the company.  Of course, this assumes they have one, but it will still be a fun game.  So, stay tuned and keep innovating!

Patently Yours

P.S.  Please note that my blog posts are in no way an endorsement or judgment of any habit or brand.

E-Cigarette Patents

Hello Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts,

I hope you have been having a wonderful holiday season.  I find that time off is so strange and rare that I end up staying up late watching the inevitable end-of-year television show marathons.  Case in point, last night I watched five episodes of Bar Rescue on Spike TV.  As expected, the commercials were repetitive and adult oriented (or so I would hope that was their target demographic).  I was surprised, however, by the abundance of e-cigarette ads from multiple brands.  So, that inspired me to investigate these strange substitutes for the increasingly-evil, smoke-releasing cigarettes.  Before the patent search, my research began where most at-home research does today – Wikipedia.

Now, side note, I do not advocate relying on Wikipedia as the final or sole resource for information.  That being said, it is an excellent place to start, often offering guidance on where to continue your research, particularly when the entry is full of citations.  Wikipedia entries are uniquely helpful to begin patent searches because they usually discuss the variety of vocabulary associated with the topic, which may allow for a more complete patent search.  For example, according to Wikipedia, an “electronic cigarette” is also an “electronic vaping device”, a “personal vaporizer”, “electronic nicotine delivery system”, tobacco smoking simulator, or “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” – the term used in the first relevant patent, according to the History portion of the page, which is notably noted as incomplete.

For this particularly search, I did limit one term to cigarette, otherwise, the results would be too abundant to sift through for these brief, yet riveting, blog entries.  Based on that limited search, it appears that the all-knowing Wikipedia may be correct.  The “Smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” of patent US3200819 started it all.  Well done, Wikipedia, well done.

Stay tuned for more hot, non-smoking e-cigarette patent discussions, including their various alleged functions and benefits.  I hope you enjoy safe and inventive New Year’s Eve festivities!

Patently Yours

P.S. To all you junior innovators and patent enthusiasts, despite how awesome Bogey and Bacall made it look, smoking is an unhealthy habit that will permeate your entire house and wardrobe.  If you don’t know who they are, go watch “To Have and Have Not” and realize why smoking was all the rage for decades and almost a symbol of liberation for women for the first half of the twentieth century.  Of course, this was all before we knew its detrimental effects on smokers and nonsmokers alike.

Patent 3 of 3: Christmas Tree Vibrator

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours and Merry Christmas to those celebrating today!  Christmas Tree patents were delightfully abundant, making it difficult to select only a handful of gems.  Here is the last fun Christmas Tree patent along with my cheeky review.  Check in next week for a new festive patent search.  Happy holidays and keep innovating!

Patent 3 of 3

Christmas Tree Vibrator

Filed April 3, 1947

2,522,906

2522906

Did you ever wish there was a way to really make that Christmas Tree sparkle?  Have you ever looked at your dull, static tree and thought, “If only those ornaments and tinsel could actively shimmer…”  Well, at least one person has, and he felt so passionate about it that he patented this misleadingly naughty sounding Christmas Tree vibrator.  Perhaps he wanted to bring a little extra Christmas cheer after World War II.

I personally feel that a non-vibrating Christmas Tree is drab and lifeless and so blasé.  This invention should become a holiday staple, nay, a year-round staple to elevate your garden and your indoor plants.  Of course, the commercial market has yet to catch on, so, you would have to construct one from scratch if you were as excited as I am about this Christmas Tree vibrator.  Just be sure that your wiring is safely insulated, again, to prevent the dreadful, Christmas-cheer-snuffing Christmas Tree fire.

Patently Yours

P.S. Some have suggested an alternate (and actually practical) purpose for this Christmas Tree vibrator (fourth time I wrote this, and it still makes me giggle).  If you had a motion sensor, the vibration may be a deterrent for curious pets, particularly those who climb.

Patent 2 of 3: Artificial Christmas Tree

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours!  I hope you enjoy this second serving of Christmas Tree patent fun.

Patent 2 of 3

Artificial Christmas Tree

Filed April 8, 1936

2,125,906

2125906

Though fake trees are not uncommon, this fake tree is particularly intriguing, primarily because it seems to use fuzzy garland, instead of the traditional tree branches.  This beauty also includes strange candle branches (hopefully LED lights, given the fire hazard of other light sources) awkwardly protruding out of the fuzzy cone.  However, this may be perfect for those daring few who are not only willing to be different but who demand everyone recognize that willingness to be different.  You know who you are – actually, we all know who you are, mostly because you tell us.  To you, I commend you for your ugly, fuzzy, fake tree.

Patently Yours

Patent 1 of 3: Christmas Card Display Device Simulating a Tree

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours!  Christmas Tree patents were delightfully abundant, making it difficult to select only a handful of gems.  But, I managed.  Here are a few fun Christmas Tree patents along with my cheeky reviews:

Patent 1 of 3

Christmas Card Display Device Simulating a Tree

Filed June 14, 1945

2,447,856

2447856

Yes, not technically a Christmas Tree and more an odd solution to organizing and displaying the pile of holiday cards.  Still, this could be a fun improvement on the traditional Christmas Tree.  For example, a card tree never requires water.  Also, if you are exceedingly popular or come from a massive family, you may acquire sufficient cards each year, so you could start a new card tree each season.  Not only would you have a display that proves to your guests how loved you are, but you would also have a disposable fake tree that won’t gather dust in your attic over a year.  On the other hand, to those with a recently-changed address or to those who favor quality over quantity of friends (and family?), you may need a few seasons to accumulate enough cards to make a lush card tree.  So, personally, I would have a Charlie Brown card tree this year.  However bountiful your collection of holiday cards may be, now you have a quirky new way to display them beyond the usual card garden.

Patently Yours

P.S. Hopefully this goes without saying, but please keep all flames or potential flames away from the very flammable paper cards.  Safety first!

Welcome Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts!

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome to Patently Yours!  Each week, I will perform a cursory patent search on a particular topic and then report back with some general observations and a few surprising treasures.  For our inaugural blogging month, we shall stick to a holiday patent theme through December, beginning with the classic tradition – the Christmas Tree.

During my search, I was overwhelmed with innovations related to clever and creative ways to prevent or extinguish a Christmas Tree fire.  (Click these patent numbers for a few random inventions US2477981 US2522020 US2682310 US3783946 US7963343)

Thankfully, the prevalence of such patents has diminished of late, at least, relative to the exponential increase of issued patents over the decades.  According to the USPTO, 45679 patents were granted in 1963, and 253155 patents were granted in 2012.

The reason for this decline?  Well, perhaps the modern Christmas Tree is less flammable.  Perhaps the inventions truly solved the problem; so, rapid development within the field may not be crucial to combating those fires.  Or, perhaps we have limited our use of flaming, lit candles as festive tree ornaments.

Still, the results of Christmas Tree fires are alarmingly severe, though rare, with approximately 230 reported per year in the U.S., which is a significant decrease from the 850 reported in 1963 (congratulations to us).  So, I shall wish everyone a safe and emergency-free holiday.  And, to those with a Christmas Tree, may your fires remain in the confines of your fireplace.  Click here for more Christmas Tree fire safety tips and facts from the National Fire Protection Association.

Stay tuned later this week for a few selected results from my Christmas Tree patent search.  Until then, I wish you a happy holiday season!

Patently Yours