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!
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.