Monthly Archives: January 2014

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.