(888) 7MY- IDEA
[(888) 769 - 4332]

Broad engineering background and experience really does count.

When writing an argument against a rejection of an application for an air cooled socket for a very high
power (1000 watt) mercury lamp, I pointed out to the U.S. Patent Office Examiner that the socket’s
structure was novel (different from existing sockets), because it provided ultra violet light shielding
from that lamp’s 200 watts of output of ultra violet radiation.  Even the inventor of the socket did not
know about that light output level, but I knew it without research because I had previously designed
equipment using that particular lamp.  What is more, I had in my files (and probably still do have) the
specification sheet on that lamp.  The patent issued.

I once received a distressing rejection against a patent application for a circuit that protected a CB
radio from being hooked up to a car with the wrong polarity.  Someone else had already patented
what seemed like an almost identical circuit.  However, as the inventor and I discussed it, I realized
that the relays in the two circuits were slightly different.  Essentially, the patented circuit sensed the
polarity, and if it was wrong, it switched over from the polarity setting it was on to the other one, while
the application’s relay sat in “neutral”, not connected to either polarity until it sensed the cars polarity,
and then it switched to the correct one.  This led to a very colorful description for the patent Examiner
of what would happen if the relay was not working and the user attempted to connect the CB to a car
with the wrong polarity.  For the application’s circuit the answer was that nothing happened, because
the relay would simply not connect to either polarity.  But in the other circuit, the CB, the battery,
and/or the car’s wiring would go up in smoke.  The patent issued.

I once received a rejection based on insufficient information present in the application because I had
used the term “forced fit”, which the Examiner contended was undefined.   It certainly was undefined,
because it is accepted terminology in mechanical engineering, and it is proper to use accepted
terminology.  My response included a definition of the term copied from a scientific encyclopedia and
six pages from The Machinist’s Handbook, which I knew about from my engineering days and had
asked the inventor to furnish.  Those pages were columns of numbers that listed the rod and hole
dimensions for “forced fits”.  Unbelievably, the Examiner held to his rejection, but the Patent Office
Board of Appeals reversed him and found in our favor.

The telephone “dialer” for paraplegics was a fascinating invention.  It was a unit mounted several feet
in front of the user that shined an infrared light on the eyes of the user and monitored the reflection
from the eyes to catch winks of the eye to control the telephone.  A display sequenced through the
numbers  0-9 and the operator winked once to accept a number and twice to cancel a previous
choice.  The Examiner rejected the application saying the invention would not work, which is a very
rare type of rejection.  He said “a light bright enough to be reflected back to the unit would damage the
eye’’.  He had to be taught that the human eye is selectively reflective to infrared light.  Actually that is
what causes the red eye effect in photos.  Also if the human eye did not reflect infrared wavelengths,
we would all be blinded by open fires, the sun, and all the other heat sources we encounter.  The
patent issued.

Diverse engineering experience can even help the experienced inventor.  The inventors of a high tech
heat source were told by their company president, with whom I had worked when we were both
engineers, to check with me about a hydrogen source they needed.  The company president knew I
had some very specialized knowledge on titanium hydride, a compound that selectively breaks down
into titanium and hydrogen depending on temperature and pressure.  It would have been very difficult
for the inventors to find that information.  They would not even have known what to look for. That
information was eventually written into the patent application.