Name that Invention!

Davison Patent Wall

During a tour of Inventionland, the facility that does design work for Davison and Davison’s clients, excited visitors end their experience with a visual look at what Davison considers one of the last steps in the inventing process- filing a patent application.

A long, white hallway becomes a conversation piece as visitors take a closer look at actual patents named to our very own founder and CEO, George Davison. A description on the wall reads:

“As you come to the end of your project and know what your product is going to be, you can file your patent, as you can see…and that is why patents are at the end of the tour. Thank you for coming!”

Though visitors are able to take a look at each of the patents in detail, would they be able to recognize these invention ideas by their patent illustrations alone?

Recently, Smithsonian Magazine brought us a better way to test our skills in identifying inventions based only on their patent illustrations with a unique quiz. Give it a try!

Following that same inspiration, would you be able to identify some of our very own invention ideas simply by looking at their patent illustrations?


Hover Creeper Patent

Mechanic’s Creeper

Patent No. US D569,572 S

You may better recognize the Mechanic’s Creeper as none other than our IDSA Design Award-Winning Hover Creeper! Traditional automotive creepers have wheels that often get stuck in floor cracks, so we found a Better Way to design a creeper without expensive and breakage-prone wheels. This invention hovers slightly above the ground with the power of compressed air!


Better Bobbin Patent

Bobbin Winder

Patent No. US D611,516 S

The Bobbin Winder would later become known as the Better Bobbin to be featured in various stores. It was our solution for our client who wanted a quick and convenient way to fill bobbins directly from the sewing machine.

Goggleflauge Patent

Camouflage and Protective Headgear

Patent No. 5,652,963

Clearly something worn on the face, but what is it? Later to be recognized as the Goggleflauge™, this invention was developed by a paintball player to cover a player’s face mask so they can go unnoticed on the playing field. In addition to its camouflage features, it also has a soft form design that actually absorbs the impact of a paintball, allowing it to absorb and bounce without breaking.

Copyright Davison, 2015




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When is the Right Time to Get a Patent?

Patents and inventions go hand-in-hand. A patent is a crucial piece to the invention puzzle, because it protects your idea by granting you the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.

When a company considers an idea for a new product, it may be advised, “The first thing you need to do is file for your patent as quickly as possible.”  Particularly now that the US is a “First-Inventor-to File” system, some patent service providers have made much of the idea of filing immediately.  However, rushing to file an application before your idea is properly developed and researched can lead to wasted money, a false sense of security and dashed hopes.  Some basic facts about patents:

1.      Not all “ideas” are patentable.  Abstract ideas, laws of nature, non-novel ideas, and obvious adaptations are just a few of the types of “ideas” that are simply not patentable.

2.      Ideas that are not machines, compositions, a process, or a product (article of manufacture) are not the types of ideas that a utility patent addresses.

3.      If you have not developed the idea to the extent that you are able to describe in sufficiently precise detail how the idea would work, or if you are not sure if it would work, then you do not yet have a patentable idea.

In short, yes, filing as soon as it is practical is important, but understanding when it is practical can avoid unnecessary cost and frustration.

Copyright Davison  2014



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Pet Invention Patent Drawings… Worthy of Picasso?

While it may not be your first step in the inventing process, there comes a time when gaining a patent is a very important step.  And, if you thought coming up with your idea took a lot of creativity, wait until you must draw your idea for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office patent application!

One article we found referred to the process as an “unsung art” and, after we did some digging through Google’s patent application vault, we agree!  Of course, the patent-granting powers-that-be enforce some hefty guidelines when it comes to your idea piece of art; but, you might argue that the standards only make the art more of a masterpiece!

Inspired by some of our own Davison-designed pet products, we decided to check out some of the other interesting and intricate pet product renderings out there.  Here’s a few that we found:

1.  Vibrating Cat Litter Scoop

Patent number: 6022058
Filing date: May 20, 1998
Issue date: Feb 8, 2000

Not sure if it was the drawing or the overall concept that most-intrigued us here!

2.  Dog House Enclosure

Patent number: D557865
Filing date: Jul 28, 2006
Issue date: Dec 18, 2007
Application number: 29/263,732

A dog house made for any four-legged pharaoh!

3.  Portable Refrigerator Kit for Perishable Pet Products

Patent number: 6595016
Filing date: Jun 6, 2002
Issue date: Jul 22, 2003
Application number: 10/163,989

This patent drawing is so cool… literally!

4.  Pet Food Product with Flavoring

Application number: 12/306,131
Publication number: US 2009/0274800 A1
Filing date: Jul 5, 2007

We’ve never seen such a well-drawn piece of manufactured meat!


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What is a Provisional Patent?

Since June 8, 1995, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent which was designed to provide a lower-cost first patent filing in the United States, according to the USPTO website.

“Technically, there is no such thing as a ‘provisional patent.’ The patent law provides for a ‘provisional application,’ which isn’t subject to some of the formal requirements for a regular patent application. What is a Provisional PatentA provisional application, however, is not intended to, itself, provide any enforceable rights,” says Michael Lechter — a practicing attorney and the author of “Protecting Your #1 Asset, Creating Fortunes from Your Ideas, An Intellectual Property Handbook” — in his Inc. column online.

A provisional application for patent (provisional application) has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed, according to the USPTO. The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended.Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding non-provisional application for patent (non-provisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.

A provisional application, which may not be filed for design inventions, allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art: in most systems of patent law, prior art constitutes all information that has been made available to the public in any form.) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later filed non-provisional patent application. It also allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.


Lechter cautions:

— A provisional application is not examined by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and is automatically abandoned 12 months after filing.

— It does not itself ever mature into a patent. For a patent to issue on the subject matter described in the provisional, a regular application claiming priority on the provisional application must be filed within a year of the provisional.

— A PPA costs $125 ($250 for a large company).

— There are reasons why you might want to file a provisional application, but saving money is not one of them. While you can delay a portion of the expense of preparing a regular application (the cost of preparing a full set of claims), the only time that you save money by filing a provisional application is if you ultimately decide not to pursue patent protection before you file the corresponding regular application.

So what have we learned? A provisional patent application is not a patent, but a document that allows for an early effective filing date in a later filed non-provisional patent application and let’s the creator use the term “Patent Pending” in relation to the product. You will still need to file a corresponding non-provisional application before the 12-month pendency of your provisional application expires, as a provisional application will not mature into a patent filing. A provisional patent application is only a part of the process, so even though it’s a cheaper and faster way to get your idea in the office, you will still need a non-provisional patent if you continue to pursue your idea.

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America Invents Act Signed… Sealed… Delivers Patent Reform!

America invents actRecently, there has been historic progress made in the way patents are issued in the United States.  After nearly 60 years with no patent reform, President Obama signed the America Invents Act into law September 16, 2011.

So, how does the new law affect the invention industry?

Legislators say they hope the law will be a shot in the arm for the economy, by helping American entrepreneurs and businesses bring their inventions to the marketplace sooner – ultimately creating new products and jobs.  In fact, it is estimated the America Invents Act could make the idea-to-invention-to-business process three times faster than ever before!

After a near-decade effort to reform outdated patent laws, the new legislation is to revolutionize the patent application process in several ways:

One major change the legislation brings is a first-to-file system as opposed to a first-to-invent system.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) currently utilizes the latter and awards patents based on invention conception, not patent application.  The America Invents Act is to change the system, awarding patents to the first person who files for one.

patent reformAnother big change for the USPTO will be their ability to set and collect their own fees for new patent filings.  Additionally, the new law institutes a post-grant review process, in order to weed out bad patents.

The America Invents Act should help the USPTO reduce patent application waiting times; therefore, reducing their current backlog by 75,000, which is great news, as the number of application filings continues to climb.  The USPTO is to offer both start-up and growing businesses the opportunity to have patents reviewed in a third of the time it typically would take.  This “fast-track” guarantees 12-month turnaround, with no additional cost to the inventor.  Legislators say they hope this measure helps create jobs.

Finally, in an attempt to help entrepreneurs avoid time-consuming and costly litigation, the America Invents Act is also to help circumvent those stumbling blocks and make the American patent process mesh with the rest of the world.  In doing so, legislators say it should be easier for American inventors to market their products worldwide.

Undoubtedly, the inventions of today could help spawn the jobs of tomorrow.  In order to do so, the America Invents Act is to update and solidify the foundation for a strong intellectual property system.

Read more about the America Invents Act:

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Lights, Camera… Celebrity Inventors in Action!

celebrity inventions

Sometimes, celebrity comes with a side of glitz, glamour and… innovation!  We’ve said it before, but ideas really do come from everywhere and from everyone!

From the King of Pop to Catwoman, here’s a host of celebrities who are bursting with talent and also with ideas:

1.  Michael Jackson 
If the Shoe Fits, Wear it! 
Slip these on your feet and you’ll be hooked… literally!  To accompany his sleek dance moves and assist “Smooth Criminal” video directors, MJ designed these gravity-defying kicks that hooked into stage floors, allowing him and his dancers to pull-off seemingly superhuman moves!

famous inventors2. Prince 
The Artist Formerly Known as Inventor
Why should a member of music royalty that’s done it all have to choose between his guitar and piano?  Thanks to Prince’s keytar, he doesn’t!  Like leg warmers and acid-washed jeans, the keytar was a product of the 80s.  It was worn like a guitar, but played like a keyboard – and made a supposed 2007 European comeback!

3. Eddie Van Halen
Go Ahead, Jump…
With your guitar that is.  Do-it-yourselfer Eddie Van Halen created a guitar support device that allowed him to maneuver his guitar like a keyboard, so he could use both hands!  Leaving no stone unturned, Van Halen even included banjos and mandolins in his patent application!  Eddie, we can’t stop lovin YOUR creativity!

From the stage to the big screen, innovation doesn’t only lie within mega-hit music artists.  Here are a few on-screen heroes who had big-time ideas, too!

4.  Marlon Brando
The Man, the Myth, the Inventor!
A man of many faces on the big screen, it turns out Marlon Brando could have also drummed his way into our hearts.  The drummer in an Illinois band even had a little Henry Ford in him, patenting a way to make tuning drums more efficient and affordable!

famous inventions5. Jamie Lee Curtis 
Bringing a New Meaning to Triple-Threat
Acclaimed actress and author Jamie Lee Curtis added inventor to her growing list of talents in 1988 when she patented an innovative infant diaper design.  Curtis’ diaper design included an outside pocket, perfect for stashing baby wipes.  Okay, Supermom!

6. Julie Newmar 
“Holy Innovator, Batman!”
This 1960’s Catwoman just said “no” to her skintight cat-suit!  Instead, she made an improvement to the newly invented pantyhose.  Newmar improved the design, creating a more sheer option that women wear to this day.

For a list of more celebs with patented success, inspire your inner-innovator and read about Harry Houdini’s swimsuit or turn a page in Mark Twain’s scrapbook by clicking here.

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Fabulous Funky Inventions from the ’50s!

1950s inventions

When we think of the 1950s, we may think of donning poodle skirts and saddle shoes and heading to the sock hop to dance to some Elvis.  But, it’s what we may NOT think of that we want to examine today…those ’50s fads and inventions that just didn’t quite catch on.

Here’s a list of our five favorite funky ’50s inventions:

1. Curved Barrel Machine Gun: The sleek, curved design of this fierce 1953 weapon allowed for shooting around corners!  It was perfect for taking the “fire first, look later” approach!  While it sounds pretty cool, we all may be a littler safer without this one!

2. Handwriting Game: As if repeatedly writing “I will not…” statements on the chalkboard wasn’t punishment enough, this engaging 1955 game challenged players to analyze each other’s handwriting!  I suppose practice makes perfect?

3. Venetian Blind Sunglasses: Kanye West may be trying to revive this trendy fad, but it certainly didn’t catch on when it was first introduced in 1950!  Though they seem to have no real practical purpose, I suppose they may good for only letting “some” UV rays in!

4.Honegar: All you “Man Vs. Food” fans actually may love this crazy concoction.  In 1959, Dr. DeForest C. Jarvis mixed together honey and vinegar in an effort to remedy minor aches and pains.  Hmmm… tempting, but I’ll stick with ibuprofen!

5. Vest Pocket Ash Tray, Rainy Day Cigarette Holder, Cigarette Holder Built for Two: We just couldn’t resist lumping these three ’50s inventions together.  They were perfect for “lighting up” with your lover on a rainy day and dropping the ashes in your vest!

For a look at these funky inventions, click here!

Now, we know we said our favorite five inventions, but hope this honorable mention doesn’t ruffle your feathers – pun intended!

The Sanitary Appliance for Birds, an undergarment designed to catch bird…. ummm, well you know…. received patent number 2,882,858 in 1959!  While it never really caught on, it is too bad all the birds of the world aren’t required to wear undergarments as they soar high above our heads!

Practical or not, these inventions bring a whole new meaning to the “Nifty Fifties!”

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Ten Beach Inventions We Totally Dig!

shovel pail beach toysYour summer vacation may be approaching pretty fast, so what are you going to do for hours while you’re on the beach? Play with the sand, of course! You’re never too old to indulge in a little creative fun in the sand!

Below, we’ve featured five modern tools to get you started, along with five patents for beach toys from long ago. Apparently, idea people have long been at work finding ways to make playing in the sand even more fun!

1.  Shovel & Pail – They’re classic staples for any day at the beach! Plus, they come in so many different colors and styles, everyone is sure to find a favorite!

2.  Sand Water Park Set – It may not be a toy that is usually seen on the beach, but it quickly will become your favorite when you’re able to create your own personal water park out of any sand structure you build!

3.  Seashell Collecting Bags – While you’re digging around in the sand, you’re sure to find something you’ll want to keep – so, why not tote it home in a decorative bag? Plain plastic bags? No way!

sand castle toys4.  Sandcastle Building Kit – With these handy aids, you’re sure to build the perfect sandcastle! They’ve got tools and molds that will make your castle the envy of everyone on the beach!

5.  Sand Station – For an even more relaxing day at the beach, let the station’s gears move any unwanted sand out of your way!

So, we all know and love these modern toys, but where did they come from? All ideas have to start somewhere, and beach toys are no exception! Here are five original beach toy patents that may make you rethink what you would be playing with in the sand, if these toys had caught on!

Click on the photos for more information on each patent!

toy inventions1.  In 1915, a woman named Grace Strong had the idea to make sand pails in animal shapes. This is one invention that very well could still catch on today!  We did go through a Silly Bandz craze didn’t we? Anything could happen!

toy patents2.  Similar to the modern Sand Station, this patent does almost the same thing, but manages to look about 100 times more complex! Albert Duffield invented this toy and it was patented in 1916. Could you imagine taking this in your beach bag?

invention patents3.  With this contraption, there would be no need to manually move sand ever again! This Sand Grabber would make your sandcastle building process go much faster, if only it was on the market today!

children inventions4.  This version of the Sand Station is much fancier, but still has the same concept. The sand goes in to the funnel, then filters out onto the paddle wheel, which makes it spin. It may not be practical, but it sure looks cool!

old inventions5.  Last but not least is this spin on the sand shovel. It’s meant to look like a regular soda bottle, but when you open it up, it becomes a very useful beach toy! It really could come in handy on a hot day at the beach – if you could fill it with cold soda!

These older patents might seem a little crazy now, but imagine where the beach toys we know today would be without them. So, next time you’re digging in the sand at the beach, keep in mind what tools you could be using!

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Senate Reinvents National Inventors Month!

The Senate has deemed it so! In a unanimous May 3, 2011 vote, the U.S. Senate approved an immediate resolution that made May – National Inventors Month! Similar to many inventions, the month-long celebration actually began as one idea, was improved upon and turned into another!

Previously, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the inventing community and the general public had accepted and celebrated August as National Inventors Month. With Senate approval, the move to May allows for greater inventor recognition in schools and more opportunities to inspire and celebrate innovation across the nation! In honor of this creative month, we did some digging and found some fun trivia about some very familiar inventions!

Did you know:

– The British inventor of the World Wide Web never patented his technology, because he was afraid it would become too expensive to use and the Web would never go world-wide!

– The formula for Coca-Cola has never been patented! Only selected company employees know the secret recipe!

– The grocery store owner who invented the shopping cart hired fake shoppers to push the invention around his store, because his customers didn’t want to give up their baskets!

– Long before the iPhone and iPad, the first Apple computer was born in Steve Jobs’ parents’ garage and Jobs had to sell his car to raise funds for his first commercial order!

– Parker Brothers execs initially passed on the Monopoly game because it took too long to play; but, the company president got his hands on a copy, stayed up until 1 a.m. to play it one night and he was hooked! The rest is history!

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When to Get a Patent on a Product

when to get a patentThere are a lot of theories out there about when to patent your product idea. At Davison, we follow the strategy of “BUILD BEFORE YOU PATENT,” which also happens to be the business strategy of most manufacturers. New product development is a balancing act, and the best tight-rope walkers in this industry to learn from are product manufacturers. So … logic says “THINK LIKE A MANUFACTURER.” Ask yourself, “Would a manufacturer of this product do that?”

Logically apply the protection process to your new product idea. Most patent attorneys will have you believe that patenting is the first critical step in inventing. Once you file a patent application all eyes can evaluate what you’re trying to invent and protect. This is not good! There’s nothing more disturbing than the USPTO letting “patent poachers” look at the applications before issuing patents when approximately 50% of all patent applications received are rejected. Manufacturers understand this and, in general, file for patents only after they have their new product ready for production.

Next time you’re in the store look to see how many products are not patented. Sometimes manufacturers simply determine they aren’t going to spend the time patenting simple items. You might also look at the back of a product and notice “Patent Pending.” This means patent applications were filed with the USPTO but not yet granted – it could take two years to get an issued patent. Can you imagine a manufacturer sitting around waiting two years before they try to turn a profit on their new product?

Our approach to inventing practically mirrors how manufacturers create, design and develop new products. We do NOT follow the old method of “patent first and then figure out what the product is later.” Scores of patents are rendered useless because the original design is too expensive to manufacture or is filled with design flaws. Concentrate on product design and then go the extra mile to figure out the product packaging solution before applying for a patent. Manufacturers do … so you should, as well.

Patenting can be a critical element in protecting your product; notice we said product, not idea. Invent, design, develop, package and then start considering the protection process. Our system can greatly assist you in your quest, and if you’re interested in having a no-cost consultation of your idea with us, click here to fill out our Confidentiality Agreement.

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