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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hey everybody, I’m J.D. Houvener, patent attorney and owner here at Bold Patent Law Firm. Welcome to our live show. We’re here every Wednesday at 9 a.m. Pacific and noon on the East Coast. I’m excited to have our live audience here with us. We just announced this show earlier today, so we’ll give you about a minute or so to join in. During that minute, if you would just join me in a little bit of a happy birthday ukulele play. I was here last week, and I got a good amount of laughs and entertainment from my ukulele play. We need someone to sing, though, because I’m not going to sing. So guess this tune if you know what it is. I learned it on YouTube this morning.

[Music]

Oh, that’s a little rub. One more time. One more time.

[Music]

Oh.

And I was looking online, the only person I saw that had a famous person with the birthday today was none other than Dr. Phil. So happy birthday Dr. Phil and any of those fans out there of his work, we have got a pretty action-packed day.

I’ve got a cool set of patents that is related to back to school. You may have children, you may personally be going back to school, and it’s an exciting time. There’s a lot of products and things that are new, certainly with COVID, with different types of solutions that are needed for personal protection against viruses. Of course, without all the new technology as well. So I’ve got three different inventions to show you. One, a unique pencil; believe it or not, there are still new pencils being developed. The second is a new virtual classroom, which is just invented, just patented just this month and two months ago. And the last one is a backpack. So yeah, there’s still new inventions related to backpacks out there. So I’ll go through those three as soon as we get started here. I will prioritize live Q&A, so if anybody’s online from YouTube or LinkedIn or Facebook community and you’ve got a question, far away in the comments. I will take that as a priority. If you don’t get any live questions, I will move on to our Avo.com questions where I’ve got 13 trademarks and one patent question. So I’ll just try to do what I can to get through those trademark questions with the time we have allowed.

A quick disclaimer, I’m an attorney but I’m not going to give away any legal advice. Okay, I’ll talk about patents and share with you some of the fun stuff going on, this guy’s process, and I can answer hypothetical questions. But I don’t want you to be disclosing any confidential information here. This is not a legal consultation. But if you believe that after having this, maybe a meeting with me or after doing some research and you want to move forward and see now is the right time to move forward with your invention, I’m giving you a link right there to schedule a free screening session with one of our representatives. And for taking action for doing that, I’m gonna give you a copy of this book. It’s a free PDF of Bold Ideas: The Inventor’s Guide to Patents. And it’s gonna give you the whole lay of the land, what patents are all about, what the difference between patents and trademarks is, anything you might need to know in between. So what I’ll do is I’ll upload. I’m gonna jump right into our topic today, which is back to school. I have got, yeah, I’ve got three patents I want to show you. So I’m gonna share my screen with you. So I’m going to take a moment.

There we go. All right, perfect. So this first invention is actually one that was just granted less than a month ago to the inventor. It’s Al Kurani. And this is a writing device, this is a writing box. This is so cool. This is if you can picture kind of a James Bond pencil for teachers, professors, this is it. This pencil pretty much does it all. I was blown away with how many different functions this writing device, this pencil does. And you can kind of see with that image, and I love going to the drawings. Look at that bad boy, the Swiss Army knife of pencils. Mr. Kurani has really helped us kind of take pencils to the next level. So you can kind of start to see what this thing does. It has a fold-out protractor, it’s got a stylus, it’s got a mechanical pencil tip, it’s got a magnetic closure. And yeah, that is right here. This is actually a projector, so it’ll project an image of whatever’s shown down below, pretty incredible. Now you kind of see some of these other functions and what’s involved here with different LEDs. I’m not even sure what a dichromic filter is. Imagines multi-colors optics, condenser, light pipe, prisms, optical lenses, imaging systems, microphone, different types of touch sensors, of course, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled. This is a super [Music] pencil. So believe it or not, this is a granted patent.

I can imagine this kind of for your entry-level or maybe your first one college-level trigonometry or geometry level class. Let’s take a look. There’s a cool image up above and how you might actually use how it’s connected to different computers like scrolling down past the written description to see what’s claimed here, you know what, what the inventor actually owns is listed here at the bottom in the number of set of clients. So we’re not on page 41. Multifunctional writing device comprising and so all these elements right are part of this client. It’s part of what they own, meaning if you are out there making smart multifunctional writing device and it has all of these elements, all these things, a whole body, first writing member, a second projector, and so on, you will be infringing this patent. But it’s got the ability to have a mechanical pencil, a drawing tool, compass needle, stylus, eraser, flash drive, imaging system, projector, pen, set of cameras, and an attached projector stick. So pretty darn cool. I was looking online to try to see if there was any type of a product like this available to buy, and I couldn’t quite find it. But there it is, patent number 11,884,318. Congrats to Mr. Kurani. So who needs an upgrade in their pencil? I certainly do. Let’s check that out.

All right, any live questions on that? Let’s see if we have anything back in our studio. Nothing yet. All right, let’s jump back over to the next patent. So this one was issued a couple of months ago in July of this year, and this one is in commerce. So this is Class Edu Incorporated. It’s a virtual classroom, and they have actually partnered with Zoom to deliver sort of a custom in-class virtual learning platform. I was really intrigued by this. I mean, Zoom has done a lot. I think many students, teachers, communities have used Zoom and other technologies like that to get together and connect when in person just doesn’t make sense with respect to the coronavirus. They’ve taken it to the next level. And so this is a method of both not just connecting on the video but actually allowing assignments, grading, and interaction between the students to happen in the live meeting. So they sort of always stay online. They stay in this platform, this is Zoom-like video for the whole time, but that they’re actually teaching. So it isn’t just seeing the video only. I thought that was really neat. They’ve got some slides here that I thought were pretty well done to kind of show what this would look like. Let me try to rotate this over.

Okay, I do love the names here too. The teacher is Justin Bieber. So the teacher would be up here, for example, and you’d have the rest of the class. But there are three students here that are part of a presenting group, and you can kind of see who’s featured on the left. Or should these actually be the teaching assistants? They show different modes, and the students—there are 49 students, and you can kind of see they’re in a different panel. But it’s nice to see, you know, the teacher would be constantly up there. The assistants might also be up there, kind of in a college setting. As you can see, they can assign, give a syllabus, going to go over what’s going to happen, here’s some instructions, take a poll, begin testing, launching different products in the system, interacting with that.

And it seems like they’re able to actually answer and ask questions and also provide identification for real what type of devices are being plugged in, with sort of a live readout on how many people are there.

One that sort of showed them presenting, I thought that was pretty unique. Lots of different instances here.

We play videos.

Yeah, here we go. So you got Ronaldo and Elton John presenting. Teaching assistants are up there, and then the rest of the class. So anyway, very neat, very neat system, and I’ll show you briefly where I found them. And so they’re online, Class Technologies, and so they partnered with Zoom. They kind of put together that platform that we sort of looked at in a much more colorful and user-friendly type of position. So that’s cool. All right, any live questions on that? Nothing yet. Okay, let me show you a third invention on back to school. This is a backpack. And who thought the backpacks there’s something to do, and it’s true; almost everything, every product out there can be improved on. It’s just another example of an improvement patent. This was issued just a month ago on August 3rd, 2021. And someone thought of this neat idea to include a magnetic back panel.

So a lot of the back of the backpack is usually soft and kind of ergonomic, but it’s got some sort of cardboard or maybe it’s a rigid plastic liner. But this is actually a magnetic panel, and they’re still using it in two ways. They’re sort of creating these cavities, you can see 104. I’ll make it choose the bigger picture. This rectangle area, and then they’ll show a section that’s unzipped that will create a little cavity opening where you can put magnetic objects in there. See a little opening right there, some keys or maybe containers that are metallic, valuable-type objects. Of course, you can put your normal books and papers and anything else you may need to carry around, your lunch in there. But maybe something more valuable than these inner chambers that would be magnetically attached, secured rather, in this sort of innermost chamber. I thought that was really neat.

The other aspect is that, of course, it’s magnetic on both sides. And so on this back panel part, you can attach it to really any metal structure. And other than the funniest and better might be, you know, someone who may spend time in the gym, you know, hang your bag up, get a couple of squats in, and pick up your bag and be on your way. I think it demonstrates a couple of cool things where you kind of keep the bag off the ground. A lot of bacteria, a lot of eventually viruses, who knows, it could be on the bottom underside of the bag if it were sitting on the ground. So it’s a nice sanitary way to secure the bag, and it’s not actually hanging right on a rod or anything; it’s stuck to the net. Okay, and I thought, why didn’t they include something like a locker? You know, a locker would be a great example, just keeping your bag off the ground, maybe while you’re doing something else with your hands. You can store things and protein drinks or your lunch, whatever food you might want to have. It’s kind of neat, so it’s a magnetic backpack, and it can be positioned on any metal object.

Let’s take a quick look at the claims. You know, that’s pretty nice, and a short plane like this is usually a really good sign that it’s covering a nice broad subject matter. It’s not too specific. So it’s got a storage compartment with an inner volume, shoulder straps, back panel having essentially positioned along the vertical spline and one magnetic position of that panel at the central position. So they did have to get kind of specific with respect to what the angle and the position of that magnetic device, but aside from that, I think it’s going to cover them for almost any type of a backpack, which is neat. So I wish them well, and again, it was just granted a month ago to Michael McCarthy. So congrats on that, and thanks for being a part of our show today. So those are the back-to-school inventions, kind of interesting. It’s always fun to look at subject matter, and it’s incredible how much innovation there really is every day, you know, in almost every area. So, well, a lot of us are going back to school. You know, this is going to be just one of many subjects that we can bring up. So if any of you guys have the topics you want to hear about as we move forward this year, I’d love to hear them, feature it. We want to try to build a live audience and try to get some more participation here, for sure. So what I’ll do is I’ll look to open up our Avo questions. I don’t see any live audience or live questions at the moment. So here’s the first question here that is asked in Baltimore, Maryland. That was a good one, so I’ll put it in the comments here.

All right, so how do I patent a weight loss program? I want to protect a weight loss program that I researched myself. I don’t want the company that I’m with to use it without giving me credit. Okay, so it’s kind of a two-part question. I’ll take the first part, which is eligibility and patentability of a weight loss program. And I will say that certainly a novel, meaning a brand new, first-of-its-kind in the world method, right? A method of eating or working out or some way of losing weight. If there’s an actual process there that is patent-eligible, absolutely, if it’s the first time and it’s not an obvious change or iteration or version of a different workout plan that’s come before it that’s been published, it’s eligible. And a weight loss program is certainly part of that spectrum of the other method, you know, method.

I will say that it’s probably going to be worth your time to think hard about whether you want to go down the path of seeking patent protection before, um, you know, is it going to be something that’s going to be enforceable, easily detectable, even if you get the patent granted? If someone is—can you tell that someone else is using your patented system, your patented method without you kind of looking inside and seeing how they’re consulting? So that’s something to make sure you think, uh, think about. The other aspect of a program or where you’re doing some sort of a presentation or a package is copyright, definitely will come into play, right? Any type of writings you have, um, whether it’s videos, written descriptions, um, you know, every course on, you know, how to and, you know, use the system or the method of losing weight, you want to think about how to protect that using copyright. That’s going to control any creative, artistic expression you have around, you know, this innovative weight loss system.

Okay, so the second part of your question is actually about ownership. Okay, and so this comes up a lot. We like to make sure we have this clear to a lot of our clients that are first-time inventors or may not know what they’re obligated to do as an employee. So take a very close look at your employment agreement. So, and some of this, I mean, and this will be, you know, case by case, even state by state evaluation to see if there’s any risk that your employer would own what you’ve created. And it’s kind of a two or three-part test. The big one is, is this invention related to what you do on the job? Right, do you work for, um, you know, 30/30, 10 Weight Loss? Do you work for a weight loss company? Um, is it, you know, do you do consulting for how to lose weight or stay in shape, a fitness-type company? Um, that may be a concern. The second, perhaps bigger question is, did you develop it, um, you know, as part of what your boss or employer asked you to do and otherwise in furtherance of your job or your position? Um, and the last one is, was it developed during hours, right, during when you’re being paid to work? Right, did you come up with this solution on the job? And if you did, right, and it’s related to what you’re doing, um, that may lean toward, you know, the employer actually owning.

And so there are ways to address that, certainly with, you know, a simple contract where they could waive the rights, they say, hey, you know, as long as you do your job that we’re paying you for, you can own this interesting idea on your own independently. And there may be a simple way to do that via contract that will be a specific question, and we want to make sure you work closely with an attorney to draft that contract up.

Okay, I’ll put that question aside for now, and thank you for that. I’ll do one trademark question. I think we’re going to close up.

Let’s take a peek here, so trademark application questions.

This one is out of Tucson, Arizona.

Okay, and they are food developers. That’s kind of cool [Music].

Okay, so I’m a food developer, and I’m giving free samples at an event. How would I protect myself from someone stealing my logo or brand? I’m a food development developer, and I pass out free samples. I haven’t become legal yet. Although at one point, I was. Now, this event is useful. Is this weekend. What, if anything, can I do to protect my logo if I use it? I’m thinking I won’t without my brand or idea.

So hopefully, this answer is coming in time, and it wasn’t just this past weekend. But in any events, you know, free samples, um, you know, when you’re out there showing off your company, right, and who you are and what your logo is, what you want your company to be known for, um, in a way, you know, you’re saying this word, this logo represents our company’s product, right? Our company’s goods, and I want this to be, you know, the symbol I want your customers to start to get to know this as our quality and represent our products.

And so as soon as you start using that in commerce, even if it’s for free, and that’s arguably still in the stream of commerce, you’re still asking them to give you feedback. There’s some sort of compensation there, but I will say certainly when you start selling, okay, selling a product, and yes, you’re getting money for it, that is definitively something you could use to, as evidence that you’re using that mark in commerce. That’s what the trademark office would be looking for when you try to go register and say, yep, you’re the only one able to use this logo or this mark for your types of goods or services, also quality classification.

So it’s kind of a long way of saying it’s okay, and it’s actually good to just start using a logo or mark to be even wiser. Okay, the best-case scenario is to actually work with an attorney, a trademark attorney, to conduct a clearance search, right, to make sure that before you just launch that you’re not going to be stepping on the toes of someone else. I mean, someone else may already have a registration for that type of logo or certainly that type of word that you’re trying to be, um, make is yours. And you may not know it, right? Innocence, unfortunately, is not, uh, does not absolve you of liability. Um, so you’ve got to make sure you take a look and make sure you’re not going to be treading on someone else’s mark before you open up because it is kind of unfortunate to have to change branding, uh, change your logo after you start, and customers, they lose some, you know, faith and trust in you that you’re going to be there forever or you’re going to have, um, you know, always be changing, right? Is something else happening, is your product changing too, so you don’t have to start out, um, with one brand or one logo and then have to change later. So, uh, be wise, take a look, uh, hire an attorney to review that. Certainly, Bold Patents would be happy to do that. We have a trademark attorney on staff if you’re interested.

Okay, cool, good questions. I’m going to put my information here below so you can get a hold of me personally if you have any questions, and I’ve got a text-only line. You’re welcome to text me, and I’ll get back to you within a couple of hours during business hours. Um, so again, uh, I’m J.D. Houvener with Bold Patents Law Firm, owner here and also patent attorney. I’ll be here next week Wednesday, and we’ll talk about another subject here. Have a good day, everybody, and happy going back to school. Bye.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/