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July 24, 2023
John Rizvi, Esq.

Combination Patents Like a Squeeze Ketchup Bottle Can Improve Existing Patent, Invention or Product

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Our next question comes from plot and clouds question is that he would like to receive guidance on the steps for improving upon an existing product or patent.

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Okay, great, great question quite as far as improving an existing product. Just keep in mind, and I'm glad you're asking that because a lot of inventors believe that in order to get a patent, you have to create something completely new, something brand new, that doesn't exist anywhere. Whereas most patents 99% of all patents are combinations of existing products, just in a new and unique way that allows it to be patented. So here's an I have one. One example that I often use with law students when I I teach is this, this, this patent by Ron Brown. And what he did is he combined two different things, three different things together. One was that instead of the the container being glass, it's plastic, so it squeezable, I don't know if it's visible, but you can see that it has some give to it. In addition to that, you will notice something unusual is that if I hold it up this way, the label is upside down. So he did not invent the label. But he invented the concept of putting the label upside down on a squeezable container. And there's a third aspect of the idea. And that is that there's a nozzle on here that is drip resistant. So there's my keyboard right in front of me. So it's a bit of a risk, but you can turn it upside down. And you can see there's no ketchup coming out, it is a drip resistant nozzle. If I were to squeeze, the catch up, would come out. But if I don't squeeze, that's not going to happen. The advantage, of course, so what's so great about putting a label upside down? What's the benefit, that the human mind is irritated by seeing words upside down, so when you open up your cupboard, or a cabinet, or even if it's on a countertop, and you see a ketchup bottle like this, the natural inclination is to take it and turn it around, and, and store it this way. The benefit is now when you're ready to use ketchup, you don't have to hit the back to get the ketchup out. It's already through gravity, it's already down at the bottom. Secondly, with the squeezable bottle, and drip resistant nozzle, you've got these three things in combination. Every single one of them was has already been invented. It wasn't invented by Ron Brown, he didn't create the squeezable container, he didn't create the drip resistant nozzle, he didn't create the label, he put it upside down, but he did all three in combination, the three in combination created a patent that he was able to sell for $13 million. And I want to emphasize this case, because you don't have to have a completely new product where you create not only the final product, but all the separate parts you invent as well. That's that's not the what the law requires. The combination together is patentable, even if separately, they already exist. And I'll just just illustrate this briefly. You've got three different parts A, B, and C. And they all can previously exist, and already be known. Now, if what an inventor does is takes these three different ideas, and combines them together into one idea, now you have patentable subject matter, because now it's that combination of three different things that have not been combined before, and you still have to meet those three requirements of patentability. And this will be a bit of review in in GAVI can bring those three requirements up again. The first one is novelty. So your idea has to be new, you can't repattern something that's already been done. Utility is usefulness. And the third is non obviousness. So novelty utility, non obviousness. Gaby put that into the chatbox. So those are the three requirements for patentability. And remember, none of these requirements where do you see complexity you see, complexity as a requirement? No, there is no requirement. Do you see somewhere that every single part of the idea has to be patentable? No, it's the combination of the three things in in combined cannot be protected, cannot be already patented as a company

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