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