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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Happy Friday, everybody! You made it. This is the end of our five-part series on looking at fireworks. We’ve looked all the way back to ancient China, seen how things have evolved over time, slowly figured out how in the world we add color to fire in the 1800s, all the way up to modern technology where we’ve looked at a nice and detailed view of what a mortar looks like, how it gets launched into the air, and little tiny stars burst, creating different things of color. Yesterday, we had a really fun break and took a look at a mad scientist out there creating, taking big chances, doing experiments out there in England, and creating a fire tornado firework.

Today, we’re going to really ask the question: What’s next? Okay, and you’ve got to keep asking this. You are the entrepreneurs, you’re the creators out there doing just that, figuring out what’s next. So, what’s next in the world of fireworks? Alright, so I did a little research; I looked up some recently issued patents that have just finally gotten through the Patent Office, probably haven’t yet hit the market. This one, in particular, I want to take a look at some of the drawings and then finally look at the claim to help you understand what it means as we sort of iterate and find these subtle improvements and what the patent holder actually owns, as opposed to what’s shown in the image. So, let’s jump in.

This patent was issued just February of 2018, that’s about three, four months ago. So, what I want you to do is take a look at this image. We looked a couple of days ago at the classic mortar, right, the one that fits in size, got the spherical shape with this cylindrical bottomed propellant to shoot it up. What stands out to you about this invention, right? It’s got two in one, crazy! I mean, how does this even work? And it’s amazing, right? So, it actually has a propellant with a standard mortar and another propellant right on top of it with a second mortar. So, in essence, this thing shoots up in the air, explodes in theory, then propels again, and then explodes again. It’s all part of one packaged mortar, and what’s patented here, if we look in the claims way down below, is claiming this structure. Not necessarily how it’s exploding or the way it looks, but it’s the inner structure of this dual mortar and dual ignition system that is getting protection.

Because there’s been so much innovation in fireworks, I wanted to use this as an example. As you pull up the claims here, I want you to look at how long claim one is, and for somebody who may not even know what patent claims are, claims are what define the rights. It’s what is the—it’s the heart of the patent. It’s what you use as the patent holder to enforce it against a misappropriator, someone that’s infringing the patent. Claims, you have to prove that the infringer is through their own products making, using, or selling that they’re actually doing that, their product is demonstrating each and every one of those elements. So, for this inventor, if they were going to try to do that, they’d have to show that nearly nine paragraphs worth of elements are shown in the alleged infringed product. Yikes! So, know that the longer the claim, the actual smaller the patent rights are because that means it’s that much harder to show proof of infringement.

So, if you want to go look through patents and if you’re doing some research on your own invention, which I recommend that you do, the patents you’re really worried about are those that have used broad words and are very short in length. This patent claim, I’m not too worried about, even if I’m in the field of innovating in fireworks because it’s so limiting. But indeed, this patent got issued. So, in the area of pyrotechnics, they had to identify all the different areas of citation and reference those that they sort of, you know, all the different shoulders that they stood on. And so, that’s why it happens so that you don’t have the citation confluence where it’s—you’re not able to make reference back.

In this version of the Bold Today Show, I ask if you pay it forward. Send this to someone who’s interested in fireworks, now interested in getting a daily dose of patent law mixed with some inspiration to move their product forward. I’m your host, J.D. Houvener, of the Bold Today Show, and I hope you all enjoyed this and have a wonderful weekend ahead. Go big, go bold.

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/