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:
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.