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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, my name is J.D. Houvener and I’m your host of The Bold Today Show where you, the adventurous entrepreneur or business owner, get your daily inspiration to make the world a better place. We’re in our aerospace five-part series, and today’s discussion is about airplanes.

Your challenge today is to think back to the most recent time you’ve been in an airplane, and I bet most of you have been pretty recently. Think about when you sat down, right. Look to your right, look to your left, look at the seat you’re sitting in and think about it. So, the next time you’re in an airplane, this is your challenge: look and consider all the aspects of that seat that make it perfect to fit that many people in such a tight space. Think about how thin that chair is, think about how that structure and how it attach to the ground or the other side of the airplane floor. It hooks up to a seat track and is perfectly positioned so you have just enough room for your feet. Think about how the electronics, right, that display or the charging, all the different aspects that go into that chair, and marvel at the fact that there’s likely hundreds of patents that have come up over the years to help design a seat that’s economic and fits that many people in that kind of space.

So, what I want to do is take a look at this patent. This was put out by the country of Korea and it was filed under an international application. It just got patented here in the US and got rights in the US and the International yet as well, but the overall rights that it gives cover not just the US but other countries. That’s what the PCT, the Patent Cooperation Treaty, can do.

Today’s topic is about this, the background section. We talked about it yesterday and we gave an example of that really simple three-paragraph format. Here, as you can see highlighted, there are over seven different paragraphs in this application and patent that talk too much in the background. What it does is it puts up as a big liability if this were ever litigated.

One of the problems of the background section can come up is oftentimes when products are described, they talk about the prior art. Oftentimes, inventors have invention after invention that sort of build on each other, and if you’re talking about how a product that’s in the market now, maybe your company produces, and you’re saying, “Well, this isn’t as safe as this new invention,” or if it’s not as cool and doesn’t have the right aspects or functionality, by disparaging the prior art, you’re actually opening up your company to a product liability issue. You’re saying something’s not as safe as it could be, and now your product that’s on the market is ripe for a product liability lawsuit. It’s just one of the areas and one of the main reasons why a background section should be reduced to a minimum and discuss exactly the minimum amount of prior art discussion with the basic explanation of how your invention goes above and beyond and solves it without disparaging the prior art.

So, with this latest challenge, I want you to think about the next time you fly, go with someone, witness with you, and I want you to think about their perspective because the next Bold Today Show, I want to talk about more aviation topics. Start looking around, get familiar with the airplane, and think about what those knobs do and how they’re positioned, the bins, how they open, how they work, and think about what might have to go into that design for it to be as effective as it is.

Well, thank you for tuning into this version of The Bold Today Show. I’m your host J.D. Houvener 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