Don’t Pass Over Passover and Easter Patents

PASSOVER SEDER PLATE, USD241398

https://www.google.com/patents/USD241398

 

MATZO-BREAKER, US1401268A

https://patents.google.com/patent/US1401268A/en?q=matzah

 

CONTROL SYSTEM FOR COOKING APPLIANCE DURING JEWISH HOLIDAYS AND SABBATH, US8669501B2

https://www.google.com/patents/US8669501?dq=jewish+holiday+patent&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjCnIr1y5_TAhWJKGMKHaNaAXAQ6AEIIzAA

 

ROTATING EGG COLORING DEVICE, US3848564A

https://patents.google.com/patent/US3848564A/en

 

APPARATUS FOR SLICING HAM ON THE BONE, US2470078A

https://www.google.com/patents/US2470078

 

CONNECTED DECORATIVE GRASS, US5897926A

https://patents.google.com/patent/US5897926A/en?q=easter&page=1

 

At Mohr IP Law, our team would like to wish you and your family a Happy Pesach (Passover) and Happy Easter. If you don’t celebrate either, we want to wish you a happy digestion of delicious food and a joyful tolerance of any family discussions/arguments. And to all, a happy spring season. Audrey Hepburn said, “To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.” She may have said the same about patents but that’s just a guess. Please contact us today to start your intellectual protection process.

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Hanging with Your Peeps

wpid-20120223__120226-peeps       It’s that time of the year when chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs, and peeps line the grocery store aisles. Some love peeps and can’t get enough of them. Others look at them in disgust. What did these delicious baby birds made of sugar, corn syrup, and gelatin ever do to you?

Peeps are made by a candy manufacturer in Pennsylvania named Just Born. This company with an adorable name acquired the Rodda Candy Company and its marshmellow chick line. Before they did peeps weren’t mass produced or made by machines—they were hand-formed.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peeps.

Sam Borne, the son of Just Born’s founder decided that making each chick by hand by squeezing marshmellow  substance out of a pastry bag was not effective. As a result, he created a depositor that could make 30 peeps at a time (6 rows of 5) and in a quicker amount of time. http://bakingbites.com/2016/03/10-fun-facts-about-peeps/

Peeps have been around for about 64-65 years at this point. While peeps were new in the sense of being marshmallows formed into a baby bird and colored yellow (now all different colors), they were not new. It is believed that in the early 1900s, Archibald Query of Somerville made the first marshmellow fluff in his kitchen and sold it door to door. https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-marshmallows-1991773

There was also Elvis who loved “Fluffernutters.” That sounds dirty but was actually his pension for heated marshmellows molded to fit inside his peanut butter sandwiches. Excuse me while I walk away from this blog to try that (joking…but this does sound amazing). https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-marshmallows-1991773

The facts could go on and on. I found scores of them:

http://mentalfloss.com/article/56283/20-delicious-facts-about-peeps

http://www.npr.org/programs/watc/features/2002/mar/peeps/facts.html

http://www.bathroomreader.com/2015/03/6-interesting-facts-about-peeps/

http://wnep.com/2014/04/18/16-facts-about-peeps/

http://bakingbites.com/2016/03/10-fun-facts-about-peeps/

You may be wondering –What are the most important facts from the links above. I’m going to go with these:

-The same recipe has been used for the past 50 plus years

-People eat Peeps hot, cold, and frozen. Some even put them on pizza. If you can think of it, it’s been peeped/peepified.

-Peeps were yellow only until 1995 when pink and white were launched (now there is quite the variety).

-Peeps are the best-selling non-chocolate Easter candy.

-In the 80s bunnies were introduced into the mix (not just chicks). They had been around occasionally in the 60s as a trial or seasonal but not a permanent staple and with their own line of sorts.

-It is estimated that 5.5-6 million peeps are made every day.

-Peeps used to have wings-In 1950 they were clipped literally.

-Just Born who now makes Peeps also makes Mike and Ikes.

-One Peep is 32 calories and 8 grams of sugar. But why not make a meal out of a box-it’s Easter, right?!?

-There are several peeps contests annually including this Peeps Diorama one (which I am also including a picture of winner in the pictures below. Pictures below are from this site: http://www.ifitshipitshere.com/a-peep-inside-the-donalds-head/

-More pictures and a story about the contest can be found at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/magazine/peeps/?utm_term=.b5adb98e45cb

-Here is a link to one of Just Born’s Peep related Trademarks. Note –this particular trademark is a trade dress. It protects the company’s unique 3-d shape of the Peep and was filed and granted in 1998 and has been maintained: http://tsdr.uspto.gov/#caseNumber=75276326&caseType=SERIAL_NO&searchType=statusSearch

At Mohr IP Law, we want to hear more than a peep out of you. Do you have a sweet idea or an egg-cellent product that should be protected before it becomes all gobbled up? Contact us today for more information.

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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

https://www.google.com/patents/US798211

 

Flood hydrograph and rain-gage recorder, US 3309710 A

https://encrypted.google.com/patents/US3309710

 

Barometer, US 784986 A

https://www.google.com/patents/US784986

 

Weather forecasting apparatus, US 4218755 A

https://www.google.com/patents/US784986

 

Weather-Vane, US 1093062 A

https://www.google.com/patents/US1093062
Weather radar with turbulence detection, US 4835536 A

https://www.google.com/patents/US4835536

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. https://www.uspto.gov/about-us/news-updates/first-us-patent-issued-today-1790

FirstUSpatent

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samuel_Hopkins_(inventor)

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.”

http://www.pda.org.uk/what-is-potash/

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.

From: http://www.investopedia.com/financial-edge/1110/5-things-to-know-about-potash.aspx

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.”

https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/potash/

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 http://www.portlandbulkterminals.com/.

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

https://www.google.com/patents/US1449850

US1449850-0.png

Pot-of-gold novelty headwear

https://www.google.com/patents/USD672532?dq=gold+pot&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiusLCO0NTSAhVO1mMKHVLfD_UQ6AEIMzAD

USD0672532-20121218-D00000.png

Shamrock Cookie Die

https://www.google.com/patents/USD445315?dq=shamrock&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwikhdSez9TSAhUM6GMKHdacBuEQ6AEIKjAC

USD0445315-20010724-D00001.png

Leprechaun Golf Head Cover

https://www.google.com/patents/USD466172

USD0466172-20021126-D00001.png

Four leaf clover golf umbrella

https://www.google.com/patents/USD466281

USD0466281-20021203-D00002.png

Rainbow cake-process of creating rainbow effect

https://www.google.com/patents/US20070237881?dq=rainbow&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwj5zdGi0NTSAhUX6GMKHWWOCHYQ6AEIODAE

US20070237881A1-20071011-D00001.png

Apparatus for dispensing dye into a beverage container

https://patents.google.com/patent/US5255825A/en?q=st+patricks&q=beer

US5255825-1

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!

pot-of-gold.png

 

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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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_basketball, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Naismith

James_Naismith_with_a_basketball.jpg

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.

Firstbasketball.jpg

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.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rules_of_basketball#Original_rules

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.  https://www.google.com/patents/US1718305 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: http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/who-invented-basketball

US1718305-0.png

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. http://www.sbnation.com/lookit/2015/5/8/8568763/weird-wonderful-history-of-basketball-retrieval-device-patents

Screen_Shot_2015-05-07_at_3.24.00_PM.0.png

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

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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. http://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/blog/guest-comment/2015/03/why-using-march-madness-to-promote-your-business.html

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.  https://www.law360.com/articles/633598/law360-cheat-sheet-ncaa-s-march-madness-trademarks

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. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use_(U.S._trademark_law) 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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