A tale of two patents


This past week, I was the first to reach the stack of mail to our Staten Island office.

I try hard not to micromanage my staff, so when I grab the mail, it’s usually a bad idea. Before I turned over the pile, however, I noticed two familiar looking envelopes from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Knowing from the envelopes that they were patents, and recognizing from the serial numbers printed on the address labels that they were utility patents, I was curious to see whose they were.

Opening both envelopes, I was thrilled to see that these two patents had been granted! And they immediately brought to mind the clients they belonged to. I remembered my initial conversations with each of them, and reflected how both were the culmination of the client’s dream.

One client recognized the problem of walking barefoot through airport security—especially for women, who often wore dress shoes without socks.  United States Patent No. 8,496,106

The other client, while driving his truck weekly past thousands of miles of utility poles, saw an opportunity for power generation. United States Patent No. 8,497,592

The technical fields of these patents couldn’t be more different. And in both cases, the client was an individual with no prior experience patenting anything!

Also in both cases, the solution was very simple—which lead both clients to ask, “Can I get a patent?”

And I remember, in both cases, recognizing and explaining the challenges in getting a patent, and me going out on a limb to say that a patent was possible.

I’m so glad when that works out! When I don’t give the safe answer, but challenge the notions of what is possible, and give the client the information necessary to make an informed decision—it’s a real nail biter. In many cases, that nail biter can last a couple of years, waiting and wondering how it’s going to turn out. And in the end, when it works out—once again, so glad! So proud! So grateful that there are reasonable examiners at the Patent Office to approve patent applications such as these, and so happy for the client that we could help fulfill their dream!

Congratulations to Joan Bigg and Thomas Jones!

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