Patents facts and news

Feb 08

Coca-Cola Inventions

Perhaps, Coca-Cola is the most wide-spread and popular all over the world: every second 8000 glasses are drunk provided by the company.  Probably, it is one of the most successful MNCs, which gained huge significance in nearly 125 years.

But let’s get back to the very beginning of the enterprise, which started in Atlanta in 1886. These times can be characterized as the period of recovery after The Civil war, healthy life style promotion (restriction of alcohol and drugs) and patented medicine. Who would guess that a new astonishing discovery, which determined to change peoples’ mode of life, was on its way? In atmosphere, when alcohol was rejected, cocaine gained bigger distribution and became one of the initial ingredients of Coca-Cola syrup. It was John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, who has mixed an extract of cola nut with coke drink, putting together the two strongest stimulants. The resulting liquid was indeed a powerful tonic. On May 8, 1886, John Pemberton carried a jug of Coca-Cola drink to Jacobs’ Pharmacy in downtown Atlanta, where it was mixed with carbonated water and sold for five cents a glass. It is also interesting to know that there was no “Coca-Cola” at first, but “Pemberton’s French Wine Coca”. In his words this drink was likely made for “scientists, scholars, poets, divines, lawyers, physicians, and others devoted to extreme mental exertion”. The common name of “Coca-Cola” was suggested and later promoted by Pemberton’s bookkeeper Frank Robinson, who might be considered as an inventor of company’s logo alongside an inventor of the drink itself.

In 1892 Coca-Cola’s brand was bought by Asa G. Candler, who put all her efforts to promote this drink around the United States building entire factories in big cities, and she really made it! Until 1894 Coca-Cola has been the most popular fountain drink: this year an innovative businessman Joseph Biedenharn has sent 12 glass bottles to the Coca-Cola owner, the idea of which was later accepted. Coca-Cola drinks became portable since. Moreover, in 1899, two Chattanooga lawyers, Benjamin F. Thomas and Joseph B. Whitehead, secured exclusive rights from Candler to bottle and sell the beverage - for the sum of only one dollar.  

 Hence, there are far more interesting facts about Coca-Cola than anyone could imagine. Today this company has 1,7 servings per day, being a leader on the beverage market in contrast to the step by step development at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. To conclude, the genius patent of Coca-Cola is also related to other inventions, described earlier, which lead a company’s path towards current prosperity and fame. In addition, nowadays Coca-Cola is an outstanding example for many inventors, who are eager to patent various recipes of soft drinks as well as methods of production syrups for soft drinks

Feb 07

Hair Stylers Rock!

During many ages women with curly hairs were intended to find a way to straighten them as well as women with straight hair desired to make curls. The low-cost and available technology has emerged in 21st century, when stylers became a right hand of multiple hair-dressers and the majority of women. Despite the critical views of stylists and doctors, which permanently remind of the harm stylers can do, a lot of females cannot imagine their life without using a hair iron in the morning, especially in recent times. In contrast, stylers are a good alternative to expensive biological and chemical defrizzers and related procedures offered in fashionable saloons.

Notwithstanding the wide distribution of this technics in recent years, the patent on hair straightener was issued in 1908 to Simon Monroe, who made it comprising seven metal teeth, which brushed a hair. A year later Isaac Shero patented the idea of hair styler, which consisted of two warming irons pressed to each other. Later, in 1912, this novelty was improved by Jennifer Bell Shoefield, who added a hinge. There are also some claims about first patents registered in 1872 by two different inventors: Erica Fieldman and Marcel Grateau.

There are lots of issues related to the hair iron usage. For instance, what material it should be made of (metal or ceramic), how dry hair should be, what ionization tools it maintains, etc. New technologies, the development of which is observed, constantly respond to these problems by discovering new hair iron devices and supplements, which with time disperse over population, especially within women.

Among recent advancements IONTEC technology introduced by Braun Company is worth mentioning. This is one of the novelties, which contradicts critical statements about stylers. It is an ionization technology, which offers ceramic gills with a temperature regime control, overdrying protection and moderate air stream. Other companies, which supply hair irons and their new technics, include Phillips, Remington, Bosch, Rowenta and many others.

Jan 14

An Appearance of Hybrid Cars

In modern age of advanced scientific technologies there are a lot of changes made in everyday life of everyone. It might be also referred to the automobile industry, where innovations rock not only supplementary devices, but car types as well. That is the case with growing popularity of hybrid cars - electric vehicles, which combine a conventional internal combustion engine propulsion system with an electric propulsion system. Therefore, only less people know that the first patent on this type of cars was issued more than one hundred years ago, in 1909, to Henri Pieper, inventor and gun-maker of German origin. This patent was called “Mixed Drive for Autovehicles”.

However, Pieper’s patent was announced only several years after the first hybrid car was built. In particular, that is a merit of Ferdinand Porsche, a founder of well-known automobile company Porsche. This car was called Lohner Electric Chaise, the electric version of which was introduced in 1901 in Paris Automobile Dealership and nowadays it is preserved by Museum of Technology in Vienna.

Despite the greatness of Pieper’s discovery, hybrid cars have failed on the world market by 1930s. The reason of such decay is associated with distribution of more affordable gasoline cars. To be more detailed, the year before granting a patent to Henri Pieper, Henry Ford established a production of Ford Model T, which marked the priority of gasoline engines as a source of power for road automobiles.

Hence, hybrid cars returned their popularity only in 21st century, when their ecological advantages were appreciated. Therefore, during recent years some famous manufacturers have announced the production of hybrid electric cars, which became an essential consequence of “green car madness” all over the world. In the period of 2009-2011 there were a lot of hybrid cars invented by certain automobile multinationals.

In 2009 the production of hybrid electric cars was initiated by Hyundai (Elantra LPI Hybrid), which is claimed to provide Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle. On Chicago Auto Show Mercedes-Benz introduced Mercedes-Benz S400 BlueHybrid as a first car with lithium ion battery. Honda CR-Z has also appeared on the market, gaining popularity in Japan, United States and Europe. In 2010 Toyota started a production of Toyota Auris Hybrid. In 2011 Lincoln MKZ Hybrid has emerged after its announcement in 2010: the peculiar thing about this model is that it has the same price as the gasoline-engine version of the same car.

It is important to state that only certain countries has a bigger per cent of hybrid cars registrations, which leads to a conclusion about their natural environment concern. The world leaders include Japan, the United States, Canada, Netherlands and the UK. Hence, let’s hope that Henri Pieper’s patent will receive larger implementation in future to assist an improvement of our natural surroundings.

Jan 12

Basic Applications of Mobile Phones

Mobile phones have become an obvious attribute of every individual in society. At first, the key point was in connectivity functions, which appeared to be a crucial step forward into scientific progress of modern life, notwithstanding distribution of computers and Internet network. It is now that mobile phones operate as multifunctional devices, providing even those services, which are far from initial ones. In contrast to contemporary i-phones, smartphones and upgraded mobile phones, their first “ancestor” dates back to 1908, when Nathan B. Stubblefield from Kentucky invented a cave-radio telephone. Hand-held devices of a modern type have only been around since 1973. The first modern wireless mobile phone was the result of a patent issued to George Sweigert of Ohio, USA, in 1969.

However, basic applications of mobile phones appeared rather later, and mostly by North European countries.

Therefore, data services on mobile phones and SMS text messaging via dedicated cell phone plans was patented in 1993 in Finland. The first SMS was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992, from Neil Papworth of Sema Group using a personal computer to Richard Jarvis of Vodafone using a handset. The text of the message was “Merry Christmas”. All first installations of SMS gateways were for network notifications sent to mobile phones, usually to inform of voice mail messages. The first commercially sold SMS service was offered to consumers, as a person-to-person text messaging service by Radiolinja (now part of Elisa) in Finland in 1993, and Nokia was the only handset manufacturer whose total GSM phone line in 1993 supported user-sending of SMS text messages.

Finland is also notable for invention and implementation of trial payments via mobile phones and sale of ringtones in 1998. Commercial payments for electronics and commodities were introduced in Norway in 1999 as well as the same year Japanese NTT DoCoMo patented Internet access via i-Mode.

There is an interesting story about Bluetooth invention, especially about the choice of name of the technology. Bluetooth was a nickname made by English chroniclers for Danish Viking King, who lived in 910-940. King Harald Bluetooth went down in history as a collector of Scandinavia lands. In particular, he attributed the union of Denmark and Norway (and Bluetooth technology integrates the telecommunications and computer industry). Probably, by analogy with this myth the Bluetooth technology is also designed to unite the world of mobile electronics. Thus, in early 1998 Ericsson, IBM, Intel, Toshiba and Nokia - the largest companies on computer and telecommunications market - have teamed up to jointly develop wireless technology to connect mobile devices.  On May 20th the official presentation of the special working group (SIG - Special Interest Group) was arranged. Later it was directed to ensure the smooth implementation of the technology, called Bluetooth. Soon, the group included 3COM/Palm, Axis Communication, Motorola, Compaq, Dell, Qualcomm, Lucent Technologies, UK Limited, Xircom.

To date, mobile phones have lost their primary vocation, carrying out various operations. They have achieved a status of inherent part of everyday life, including business, socializing, governance, mass media, etc. That is why, the number of mobile brands is increasing, but not as fast as patents for mobile phones’ applications, which are also worked out by software and electronic companies (Apple, for example). That is why the appearance and acknowledgement of patents described earlier has already gone into past and the history of mobile phones. 

Dec 23

Does your lunch violate intellectual property laws?

McDonalds’ patent for its sandwiches

McDonald’s Corporation is the world’s largest chain of hamburger fast food restaurants, serving around 64 million customers daily in 119 countries. Headquartered in the United States, the company began in 1940; in 1948 they reorganized their business as a hamburger stand. Businessman Ray Kroc joined the company as a franchise agent in 1955. He subsequently purchased the chain from the McDonald brothers and oversaw its worldwide growth.

On December 21, 2004 McDonald’s filed their initial application for patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It was a 55 page patent claiming the rights to how their sandwiches are made. The burger company says owning the ‘intellectual property rights’ would help its hot deli sandwiches look and taste the same at all of its restaurants.

In an interview with the British newspaper The Guardian, Lawrence Smith-Higgins of the UK Patent Office said: “McDonald’s or anyone else can’t get retrospective exclusive rights to making a sandwich. They might have a novel device but it could be quite easy for someone to make a sandwich in a similar way without infringing their claims.”

"This is a clear example of intellectual property gone crazy," said Mike Adams, a consumer advocate and critic of overzealous intellectual property claims. "The patent system is broken, and it awards patent protection on far too many things that are obvious to anyone in the relevant industry. “People have been making sandwiches since the invention of bread. This is a process that clearly exists in the public domain,” he said.

McDonald’s said: ‘These applications are not intended to prevent anyone from using previous methods for making sandwiches.’

Dec 14