The Weather Permits Patents

Monday March 20th was the start of spring. I don’t know about you but I look forward to flowers blooming, the sun shining (I know we’re in Portland but it does happen), and activities like hiking in the Columbia River Gorge.

To celebrate the approaching weather changes, I thought it would be fun to share with you some weather related patents:

Thermometer, US 798211 A


Flood hydrograph and rain-gage recorder, US 3309710 A


Barometer, US 784986 A


Weather forecasting apparatus, US 4218755 A


Weather-Vane, US 1093062 A
Weather radar with turbulence detection, US 4835536 A

At Mohr IP Law we are fair and not fair-weathered. We will be with you at good and bad times, sunshine or rain. If you’re ready to protect your intellectual property contact us today. All of the rain shouldn’t just help flowers bloom; it’s time for your ideas to get some sun.

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Spring is upon Us


Spring is upon us. Muddy flower beds will turn into beautiful flowering yards. And, we will get the much needed Vitamin D from a sun that has for the most part been hiding.

Inventor Samuel Hopkins understood the importance of spring. He was issued the first U.S. Patent on July 31, 1790 for a pot ash and pearl ash apparatus and process.


Although the patent office itself was not created, a new 1790 patent statute facilitated granting patents. As a result, Hopkins petitioned for a patent and was later issued one signed by President George Washington, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.

Around the same time (but after Hopkins), patents were issued for a new candle-making process and a flour-milling machine Id. I can guess/understand what these two patents are or what they were for, but I am lost in regards to “pot ash.”

Years later there are organizations like the “Potash Development Association” that can answer our questions:

“In agriculture and horticulture potash is the common term for nutrient forms of the element potassium (K). The name derives from the collection of wood ash in metal pots when the beneficial fertilizer properties of this material were first recognized many centuries ago.”

There’s also this: “Things to Know about Potash:”

It’s Made of Potassium
The element potassium is a member of the alkali metal group and is abundant in nature. It’s always found in combined forms with other minerals in the earth’s crust, particularly where there are large deposits of clay minerals and heavy soils.

Potash is an impure combination of potassium carbonate and potassium salt. Rock deposits bearing potash resulted when ancient inland seas evaporated millions of years ago. The term potash has been commonly used to describe the fertilizer forms of potassium derived from these rocks by separating the salt and other minerals.

It’s Part of History
In the early days, the primary source of potash was the ash from native hardwood trees. The basic chemical compound potassium carbonate was extracted by leaching the ashes in big iron pots to dissolve out the soluble components. Evaporation of the solution through percolation resulted in the production of potash. Potash was used in making fertilizer, glass, soap, gunpowder and dyeing fabrics.

Up until the 1860s, the only sources were hardwood trees and a few other plants. The U.S. dominance in potash production began to decline when natural deposits of the chemical were discovered in dry lake alkali beds in Germany. The outbreak of World War I forced other countries such as Russia and France to develop their own natural sources. Additional sources were discovered in California, Utah and New Mexico.

It’s in Your Food
Ninety-five percent of the world’s potash is used on farms to fertilize the food supply. It’s a critical ingredient that helps to improve crop yields, increase resistance to plant diseases and heighten water retention. It also has a positive effect on food color, taste and texture.

Potash is a component of feed supplements used to grow livestock and enhance milk production. It still has several industrial applications that trace their roots back to the colonial days, including glass, soap and ceramic production.

You Need it in Your Diet
Potassium is an important element of the human diet as it’s involved in both cellular metabolism and body functions. It’s essential for growth and maintenance of tissues, muscles and organs, as well as the electrical activity of the heart.

The average recommended intake for an adult is 4.7 grams per day but the intake level can change depending on your specific medical condition. Good sources of potassium include citrus fruits and juices, milk, chicken, red meat, fish, soy products, root vegetables, bananas, nuts and yogurt.

PotashCorp is the largest fertilizer company in the world, engaged in the production of potash, phosphate, and nitrogen. With a presence in seven countries, it accounts for 20% of global production. In 2009, potash accounted for one-third of the company’s revenues, totaling $1.2B in net sales. More impressive was that the gross margin from potash sales was 71% of the total, ample evidence of the profitability of this business segment.

BHP had its eye on the huge potash deposits in Saskatchewan, and PotashCorp has existing operations with extensive reserves in very stable environments. In addition, the barriers to entry in this business are substantial, requiring significant capital investment and long lead times.


After reading both of these I felt knowledgeable but still thought, “I don’t get this-what is pot ash or pottash or potash (now commonly termed?). Why does it sound like potato and marijuana or possibly something requiring ointment?” Then I found this definition from The United States Geological Survey (A Government Agency):

“Potash is used primarily as an agricultural fertilizer (plant nutrient) because it is a source of soluble potassium, one of the three primary plant nutrients; the others are fixed nitrogen and soluble phosphorus.  Potash and phosphorus are mined products, and fixed nitrogen is produced from the atmosphere by using industrial processes.  Modern agricultural practice uses these primary nutrients in large amounts plus additional nutrients, such as boron, calcium, chlorine, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, sulfur, and zinc, to assure plant health and proper maturation.  The three major plant nutrients have no substitutes, but low-nutrient-content, alternative sources of plant nutrients, such as animal manure and guano, bone meal, compost, glauconite, and “tankage” from slaughterhouses, can be used. Potash denotes a variety of mined and manufactured salts, all containing the element potassium in water-soluble form.”

Thank you for Samuel Hopkins for making the potash process more mechanical. Thus, making potash easily accessible for plants that have acid reflux like me have more base. You’re the Meghan Trainor and the Tums of the plant world. Thank you for allowing for large areas of potash like our local Portland Bulk Terminals, LLC

Are you the next Samuel Hopkins? Don’t let your ideas wither especially during spring. We love to help our clients bloom during all seasons but in order for anything to happen we must plant the seeds and maintain. Contact us today to get started.






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Patent Me I’m Irish

Here are some fun St. Patrick’s Day themed patents. Enjoy…

Corn-beef cooker


Pot-of-gold novelty headwear


Shamrock Cookie Die


Leprechaun Golf Head Cover


Four leaf clover golf umbrella


Rainbow cake-process of creating rainbow effect


Apparatus for dispensing dye into a beverage container


At Mohr IP Law we don’t just rely on luck, we rely on hard work. The patent process is often tough, but at the end of the road there’s often a rainbow and a pot of gold. Remember without the rain, there’s no rainbow. And remember to have fun, but also to be safe this St. Patrick’s Day. Cheers!



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Passing to You- the History of Basketball

Sports involving a ball have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. The game of basketball however is about 125 or so years old. In addition to Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Gosling, Shania Twain, and Mike Meyers (ok Bieber too), we can thank the Canadians for James Naismith. As a PE teacher (a Canadian living and working in America), he got tired of the rough nature and injury provoking nature of football. As a result, he came up with basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891. If you have a mind like mind, you are wondering if Homer or Marge Simpson had anything to do with this.,


Naismith’s basket (which I have added a picture of to this blog) featured a peach basket with a hole in it. He explained in a handwritten report, ”…I secured them on the inside of the railing of the gallery. This was about 10 feet from the floor, one at each end of the gymnasium. I then put the 13 rules on the bulletin board just behind the instructor’s platform, secured a soccer ball and awaited the arrival of the class… The class did not show much enthusiasm but followed my lead… I then explained what they had to do to make goals, tossed the ball up between the two center men & tried to keep them somewhat near the rules. Most of the fouls were called for running with the ball, though tackling the man with the ball was not uncommon.” Id.


The basic/original 13 rules did not allow for dribbling. The first team known to dribble was Yale University in 1897. Then obviously came the issue of double dribbling, carrying, and so on. There was no dunking, three-pointers, or shot clock. And…there most certainly weren’t endorsements from Vitamin Water.

The original rules from 1892 were:

  1. The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
  2. The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.
  3. A player cannot run with the ball. The player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at a good speed if he tries to stop.
  4. The ball must be held in or between the hands; the arms or body must not be used for holding it.
  5. No shouldering, holding, striking, pushing, or tripping in any way of an opponent. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul; the second shall disqualify him until the next basket is made or, if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game. No substitution shall be allowed.
  6. A foul is striking at the ball with the fist, violation of rules three and four and such described in rule five.
  7. If either side makes three consecutive fouls, it shall count a goal for the opponents (consecutive means without the opponents in the mean time making a foul).
  8. A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from the grounds into the basket and stays there (without falling), providing those defending the goal do not touch or disturb the goal. If the ball rests on the edges, and the opponent moves the basket, it shall count as a goal.
  9. When the ball goes out of bounds, it shall be thrown into the field of play and played by the first person touching it. In case of dispute the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The thrower-in is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer, it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on that side.
  10. The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made. He shall have power to disqualify people according to Rule 5.
  11. The referee shall be judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in bounds, to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the baskets, with any other duties that are usually performed by a scorekeeper.
  12. The time shall be two fifteen-minute halves, with five minutes rest between.
  13. The side making the most points in that time is declared the winner.

Because this is a blog and time does not permit, it can’t cover the history of leagues, contracts, team development processes, trademark and branding information, sports as a pastime, sports as a business, the racial and socio-economic history related to sports, yada, yada. What I can do is this-Let you know that G.L Pierce on June 25, 1929 was granted U.S. Patent 1718305. This is probably the closest to the version of the ball we deem or recognize as a basketball. There’s some great basketball facts on this site:


And for fun, here are several devices for “lonely shooters” to retrieve basketballs if you’re the only player. There are trays, slides, and nets that catch basketballs. One of these inventions, US Patent 4,838,549, “Pop-a Shot.” you will recognize from being at an arcade near you.


At Mohr IP Law, we can give 2 pointers and 3 pointers on patents, trademarks, and copyrights. We are on the court with you playing and in the stands cheering. Contact us today so we can play ball and score some goals. That’s a lot of puns or Dad jokes in one paragraph. You’re welcome.

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March Madness-Don’t Score By Infringing


Sports fans take note-you may not be able to use the words “March Madness” for your business. At any rate, even if you are using “March Madness” to describe your hydrangea and tulip sale and not your sports related product(s)—please be careful.

I was surprised to learn that the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) did not acquire the “March Madness” trademark registration until 2000. The assignee and prior registrant, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA), had used the mark since 1942.

U.S. Circuit Judge Richard Posner of the Seventh Circuit decided that regardless of how long IHSA had used the name, they couldn’t control “March Madness” when used with the college basketball tournament.

After the ruling, which called “March Madness” a “dual-use term,” IHSA and NCAA teamed up in a compromise and discontinued their legal battles (well for that moment, anyways).  The result is a joint entity called March Madness Athletic Association LLC, which manages and owns the name “March Madness”. Id.

You may be wondering-If this high school and athlete association can use “March Madness” with their new association MMAA (I suppose that’s the correct acronym), why can’t you or I?

While it is the case that the Fair Use doctrine is essentially a defense to possible infringement and courts have recognized that ownership of a mark cannot prevent others from using the word or symbol in other ways, they set forth that that the less distinctive or original the trademark, the less able the trademark owner will be to control how it is used. Which is exactly why I would think something like March Madness would be and could be used for anything and anyone. On a further review of the matter, I learned that the court decision rested on the fact that the term was descriptive and not generic and relied on the evidence presented.

The plaintiff in the case intelligently decided to take a survey of 215 people. It turned out that 180 of the 215 knew about March Madness. 150 of 180 of those people associated March Madness with basketball.

Because of this survey submission as evidence and testifying witnesses regarding the use of the term in broadcasting and other media contexts, Judge Posner decided that the mark was strongly related to the sport of basketball and the trademark’s public association protected it.

As a result, if you see March Madness used for commercial promotions around this time (basketball or non-basketball related) it’s because people are taking a risk or they have paid a licensing fee to the NCAA’s March Madness Athletic Association. This organization makes millions and millions of dollars a year from these licensing agreements.

For now, best you call your basketball or flower sale “Blooming Hoops Sale.” At Mohr IP Law, we welcome your creativity. We can give pointers and sometimes 3-pointers. Contact us today for a free 30 minute no-cost phone or in-person consult with an attorney. You would be full of  March, or April, or June or July Madness not to.

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Beyoncé and Beyond-IP Law in the News

These stories will not only teach you a little bit about intellectual law but will provide fun, conversation pieces. Now let’s get in formation…


With Twins on the Way, Business Mogul Beyoncé Wants to Make Baby Products Named After Her First Child, Blue Ivy


And… Beyoncé is Being Sued for $20 Million for Using Parts of Youtube Videos in Her Songs


A Delicious Story Asking: Does IP Law Protect Pastry and Cake Designs?


The Case of the Kylies-Kylie Minogue Doesn’t Have Patience for Kylie Jenner


After a 10 Year Fight, Donald Trump Secures a Chinese Trademark


A Federal Judge has Refused to Dismiss a Lawsuit that Claims NBC’s “Timeless” Show is a Rip-off of a Spanish TV Show Called “El Ministerio del Tiempo”

At Mohr IP Law, we’re not pregnant with twins, but sometimes our staff wears similar clothes without pre-coordination. The internet calls this “Twinning.”  Contact us today to start your trademark, patent, or copyright application. We can’t promise to look as good as Beyoncé, but we definitely share a similar work ethic.   

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For Love of Roses

Red_Roses_PNG_Clipart-1282887684.pngIn Portland, Oregon roses are everywhere. We are not just the Rip City, Bridge City, Stumptown, or Portlandia. We are also the Rose City. During Valentine’s Day, every city becomes Rose City. It is estimated that 189 million stems of roses are sold in the United States on Valentine’s Day.

In a previous blog I wrote about plant patents: I discussed the unique nature of plant patents and how they are controversial in nature (no pun intended). Whether one believes plant patents should exist or not exist, they became in full bloom after 1930 after the passing of the Plant Patent Act of 1930. This piece of legislation made it possible to patent new varieties of plants, excluding sexual and tuber-propagated plants (I’m not a horticulturalist so forgive me for not explaining these plant types further). Long story short after research, lobbying, and famed Thomas Edison testifying before Congress to support this legislation, it passed in 1930.

Then everything was coming up roses…literally. In 1931, Henry F. Bosenberg of New Jersey was issued a patent for his rose plant “New Dawn”, a ‘repeat-blooming climbing rose.’ The USPTO article/blog explains that red roses are the flower most often sent on Valentine’s Day and Fred H. Howard, of Montebello, Calif., received Plant Patent No. 953, for an early hybrid tea rose, on June 20, 1950. Its flower is described as rose red, very appropriate for Valentine’s Day. A more recent patent for a red rose (plant patent no. 11,834), was granted on April 3, 2001 to J. Benjamin Williams, of Silver Spring, Md., for a climbing rose named “Scarlet Star.”

Researchers Moser and Rhode discovered that between 1931 and 1970, nearly half of the 3,010 plant patents granted were for roses. It is believed that the Plant Patent Act of 1930 encouraged creativity and possibility. Maybe they said to their lover, “I’m going to grow the prettiest roses for you, name them after you, and secure a plant patent. That’s right—I do it because I love you.” Or, something like that.

Of course roses existed before the 1930s and so did love. “Ornamental roses have been cultivated for millennia, with the earliest known cultivation known to date from at least 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. Many thousands of rose hybrids and cultivars have been bred and selected for garden use as flowering plants.”

I am pasting below a graphic of beautiful rose varieties. They are in a compendium (a word I just learned learned:




While romantic- instead of putting a message in a bottle, please email or call us for more information. Our Team at Mohr IP Law loves to build relationships that blossom into the best protection of your intellectual property possible. Surely there will be thorns, but we have experience with those too.

















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