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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Next up is a product to help anxiety

Hi sharks I’m Michael Malkin and I’m Lucy

Lucy today we are seeking 250 000 in exchange for 10 of our company com strips home strips are a cool new way to help people reduce their anxiety and that is just scratching at the surface have you ever had a day like my animated friend Charlie here this traffic is stressing him out this cartoon Cloud came out of nowhere and char umbrella oh Charlie and now his phone is blowing up with angry messages from his comically evil boss we’ve all gotten them

has calm strips a healthy way to calm and ground himself comp ships might look like any other sticker but they’re actually textured sensory adhesives people everywhere are rubbing scratching or picking at the textured surface of their com strips to help reduce fidgeting increase focus and regulate Restless energy they’re reuse

your laptop your desk teachers and students alike love them because it helps kids manage their own Restless energy without disrupting the rest of the class so sharks who wants to invest in com strips and show the world how easy it is to take a little bit of calm with you everywhere so in front of you I see you guys are already already I love that um so we have both the soft sand and the newer River Rocks Textures in the calm circles and calm strips how does this work I originally came up with the idea for com trips because I for the last 13 years before doing com trips worked in an Apple retail store it was a really busy environment and I found that it was incredibly stressful and it would kind of trigger my anxiety so I found that I started wrapping a little bit of Carpenter’s tape around my finger and kind of rubbing on that it would help me to kind of calm down and science does show that touch especially tactile sensory touch can have a significant impact on reducing people’s anxiety and making them feel calmer so guys I just don’t get it what was your market research though you say it worked for people the reason I say that is because over a hundred thousand people get it we have a return rate of less than one percent what does it cost to buy one of these you get a 5

cost you to make it the soft sand cost us one dollar and for the River Rocks it costs two dollars I love them they are e-commerce so it does cost us a couple you know about three hours of the margins how much do you selling of this stuff yeah so we launched early last year you guys hold on to your socks there you go since then uh we’ve just crossed 2.5 million dollars in sales

I love hamsters

so we did um we did 1.67 amazing thank you thank you for all the best blown away too Matt

that’s a lot for uh I don’t know an emery board like isn’t that what that is right yeah right really really low grade sandpaper yeah yeah uh good for them I guess you know like I’m surprised yeah I was watching it before the show I mean then you know just from a patentability side I looked hard to see if they had anything filed or anything issued no they hadn’t you know and I tried looking at from the Utility side functionally yeah there is some benefit it sounds like you know if someone’s trying to take their mind off of what they’re thinking about and just start rubbing a strip I mean that that can’t have that is that would meet the the utility barrier but in terms of patentability novelty it likely hit a huge wall you know it’s just piece of paper and because adhesive back this has a unique color to it so I thought about design um and couldn’t find anything there um and so I want to get your take on trademarks first and then I’ll jump to an example where I’ll show that paper can be patented on the design side I want to show some examples there sure yeah so from a trademark perspective obviously the brand is calm strips and that’s a very descriptive trademark for this particular product right because these are strips of paper or material that are meant to create a calm feeling in the user so Palm scripts is you know very very much uh descriptive USPTO said so as well in the application so they applied for a trademark in the paper class at the USPTO which is class 16 and they were denied initially based on the application being descriptive right column strips is what the product is it’s not generic because it’s not the category thing but it is descriptive or merely descriptive and so the USPTO said so and so they ended up having to amend their application from the principal register to the supplemental you want to be on the principal registration database because that’s how you can enforce the trademark but there’s a second theory kind of like junior varsity uh it’s called if I was in basketball yeah yeah

but you can still kind of play in the game every once in a while and yeah unfortunately you can’t register you can’t enforce the trademark if it’s on the supplemental database but you can still have a registration you can still use the registered trademark symbol and then after five years of continuous and exclusive use when it’s time to renew the trademark you can actually apply for a new trademark on the principal citing your five years of continuous use and your secondary meeting required distinguish in the marketplace so there’s some benefits to it cool right on thank you for that yeah I think our example from last week they had gotten that they hung in there for that five years so yeah sort of the next best thing right you want to shoot for the principal first but because it’s uh so descriptive it sounded like the other had to go for the supplemental right and they were they were lucky that the USB that’s always a fine line the USPTO can come back and say nah that’s generic that is like the thing that it is right um but in this particular case they must have said it’s descriptive because they couldn’t find anything else out there called calm strips yeah so it wasn’t it wasn’t generic but it was still descriptive okay cool I just want to show the audience so if you ever wanted to know more about paper right can paper be patented yeah and the answer is Affinity yes so let’s take a look at some Google results I was playing with just before the show um so here at Google patents my favorite resource to kind of go look and see what’s out there so quick you know the patent office has a great uh search engine as well but I I just usually default to Google um the the prior so after the year 2000 meaning some applications that have filed recently in the past 28 23 years um and you can select us and then design patents only that have been granted and you can see that there’s I mean a ton a ton of time so let’s go to design patents only 2057 design patents that have been issued on that have the word paper in the title um and so let’s take a look at some of these things right suitable paper bag uh there’s lots of you know paper products in the bathroom so there’s some toilet paper dispenser if we look at this embossed paper product um you know yeah this may be for paper towel or for toilet paper I won’t get into the potential functionality benefits of that um but it’s it’s quite detailed and and it’s it’s the exact pattern of dots and embossing and the waves right with those true art here and that’s what design patents cover is the art the appearance and it’s all in solid line and they really zoom in right as you can see that the true formations of them Boston and you know it’s more of like an elliptical shape I think and the spacing and how they have these views see view number three would actually be a section view of this and so we’ll see down below that it looks here’s like from the side angle what the paper product looks like in its final form pretty cool so you know it’s very feasible to apply for and to get design patents on paper you know something they they if this company decides to persist um then they they could look into design patent protection um on their calm strips I want to share this this tab and so they’re they’ve got at least the website’s up and running they’re big into schools and we we cut the video short but they did share that they’re in 3 000 schools and now they’re up to 5 000 schools so they’re they’re still going um they ended up getting an investment from Kevin um invested for 30 percent of their company for 250 Grand and I think he’s doing quite well you can see they’re on a lot of different products um on the desk and really hitting that younger youth age group really well so uh kudos to them interesting so he bought in for a quarter million dollars for thirty percent yeah a business that sells 2.5 million yep I don’t like that math does not make any sense to me he also he also got a royalty 2.50 on every unit sold

yes I I feel like um if you’re selling 2.5 million dollars a year I mean your business should be worth considerably more than you know uh whatever you know 250 000 and 30 right and that’s that seems like crazy to me maybe maybe it’s not as uh profitable as it looks like it is right yeah well and Mark uh dropped out he said you know this is just a single product who needs other needs the other product lines for scaling didn’t see that sure Damon said no we just didn’t understand he kept on saying he didn’t get it just couldn’t get behind it um Laura dropped out it wasn’t as lucrative of an offer um so yeah yeah that is interesting when you see like single product offerings right that’s that’s always kind of a challenge for for folks and right and we deal with that a lot too from a trademark and patent side of things right is that client comes to us with a with an invention right it’s a single invention type of deal and we have to have the conversation with them well are we going to Brand everything around this this one product or are there any other products and if there’s gonna be other products maybe the maybe the storefront shouldn’t be the same name as the product right yeah that’s that’s a conversation that we have to have a you know quite often with clients right what’s a what’s a good example of a company that you know sort of had to evolve you know they went from a single product I don’t know which on the spot yeah into a into a brand you know um yeah um let’s see I’m thinking of

I definitely see it um trying to think here what would be a good example or whatever like the GoPro or I don’t know what were they were they kind of you know yeah I mean GoPro was probably their hero product right and then as they grew they had you know conceivably they had to add some different products as well or they had the opportunity to add products as well and then so names than GoPro right GoPro is kind of the brand but then each individual product has its own name at this point I would assume right um which is a good strategy but something to be you know aware of too when you’re going to Market with you know a single product you know is there the opportunity to have more products down the road and if so do you want that product to be the same name as the brand that sells the products um my answer should be would be no it should be separate because then if you have multiple products and you end up licensing one or selling one you can kind of keep the existing business running it’s not all tied together totally

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