Wiki Page for Anthony Schlehuber
Homework for Monday January 24th
Cork Extractor patent number 4253351 Issued March 3, 1981
This patent describes a mechanical cork extractor. Rather than requiring someone to manually screw in the cork, which can cause the cork to splinter. This device performs all of the motions required to open it with a simple crank motion. Clamps hold the bottle in place, then the handle is lowered, driving the screw the cork. Then, the handle is lifted, and the device removes the cork from the bottle.
The cork extractor takes the difficulty out of opening a bottle and reduces the time it takes to open a bottle significantly. Reducing the time and skill required to open a bottle can be very useful at large events where wine is in high demand.
Homework for Friday January 28
My patent, number 4253351, references several different types of bottle opening patents. One patent in particular, number 845608 from 1905, is a great example of earlier bottle openers. This patent can be found on google patents . Both describe a method of pulling a cork from a wine bottle but go about in different ways.
Patent 845608 uses a mechanical press mechanism to push the cork screw into the cork and remove the cork. My patent improves upon this method by replacing the press with a system of gears which makes it easier to remove the cork. This patent was granted under current patent law, but I believe that had it been created at an earlier date, it would not have been accepted.
If the device had been patented in before 1950, the courts would have revoked the patent. In the case of Hotchkiss v. Greenwood, 52 U.S. 11 (1850), the court ruled that a device that differs from its predecessors by the substitution of one part for another when all parts on the new invention were already in use cannot be patented. In this case, the device was improved by replacing the press mechanism with gears. The overall device structure and the gears themselves were both in use separately before the invention was created, so the combination of the two would not have been allowed under the laws of 1850.
Similarly, if the patent had been applied for in 1950, it also would have been rejected. In the case of A. & P. Tea Co. v. Supermarket Corp., 340 U.S. 147 (1950), it was decided that a method of gathering groceries to allow for increased productivity at the checkout counter was not patentable. The only improvement in the patent was the extension of the checkout counter to allow for the basket to fit. All the other parts were not original and the court ruled that the ‘standard of invention appears to have been used that is less exacting than that required where a combination is made up entirely of old components’, and was therefore not patentable.
Using this logic, my patent would not have been validated had it been created during this era. All the pieces in the device are known, whether through the patent referenced above or through simple knowledge of gears. The court has ruled that a combination of know parts does not constitute an invention and therefore the bottle opener is invalid.
It is only under the current patent laws that my patent was granted. As the case of Lyon v. Bausch & Lomb, 224 F.2d 530 (1955) shows, the patent laws and court opinion now allow for combinations of know materials to be accepted. In this case the combination of a lens and a known material to create a robust, damage resistant lens was accepted as patentable even though all materials were available on the common market. The court ruled that so long as the invention had not been used in the public domain before and the inventor had made a step that was no obvious to someone in his field, a combination of previously used parts can be patented. The addition of gears to decrease the difficultly of opening the bottle is an advancement that would have take some work and financial commitment to insure that it would work the way it was supposed to without cracking the cork, slipping gears, or other mechanical hurdles. The addition of gears was apparently not obvious at the time, because while several variants of mechanical openers using a type of level were patented before my patent, this was the first to use gears. Therefore, since the addition of gears was an improvement in the art of wine openers that had not be used before and was not obvious to others in the field, the patent was granted.
Homework for Friday February 4
The ‘798 patent should be considered non-obvious because there was a need for a device that did not experience the wear and tear of the ‘811 patent. Placing the hinge on the underside was an improvement that might appear to be similar to the ‘811 patent, but actually took significant engineering skill to devise. Specifically, the stirrup that was needed to prevent the device from swing side to side requires a high level of skill to design such that the device works properly and will not fail without impeding the free movement of the arm that make this device so desirable. It is not obvious how the stirrup should be designed to prevent wear. Additionally, the change from the ‘798 patent to the Glencoe patent should be considered non-obvious because both cases improved upon the wear patterns caused by the older design. While both produce the same result, which is a more resilient shock absorption system, they go about it in such different ways as to not be related to each other. The fact that they appear similar arises only from the fact that both are solving the same problem and therefore must be similar is shape but are different in the most technically difficult details. The ‘798 patent should not be considered valid because not only is it a logical progression of the ‘811 patent created by the same inventor as patent ‘798, it basically copies the form of the Glencoe patent. Moving the hinge from the top of the device to the bottom, is obvious since it is the only other possible option since placing it on top has proven ineffective. The location change from the ‘811 patent to the ‘798 patent is therefore obvious. Since the change in location cannot grant a patent, the insertion of a stirrup must be relied on to make the invention non-obvious. However, in the Glencoe patent, a very similar device was used. It appears that the only difference between the Glencoe patent and the ‘798 patent was where the hinge was placed, which is a trivial difference at best and should therefore not be considered non-obvious.
Homework for Wednesday February 9
For my edited version of the non-obvious page please see Non-Obvious Anthony Schlehuber
Homework for Wednesday March 23
For my description of a case similar to In re Hall please see In re Hall Homework Anthony Schlehuber
Homework for Wednesday April 6
For my brief supporting Hamilton Sundstrand in their case versus Honeywell Intern. please see Brief support Hamilton Sundstrand versus Honeywell Intern. Anthony Schlehuber 901477539