HW due 1-28-11

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Patent Comparison

My chosen patent is a miniature underwater flashlight granted to Lite Tek in 1988. The exterior is made of a one piece case with a transparent end to allow light to pass through. The power switch is enabled through a twisting mechanism in the tail engaging the dry cell batteries. This switch is comprised of a plunger button apparatus which is seperated by a fluid tight diaphragm made of rubber lining the interior of the case. And a protective measure was taken by orienting the positive terminal of the batteries away from the head of the light, so in the event of a fall, the head assembly is less likely to be damaged. [[1]]

This patent is for an underwater flashlight granted to Giovanni Garofalo in 1982. The flashlight is in a one piece exterior case which has a transparent end that allows light to pass through and an threaded end which allows a end cap to screw in to hold dry cell batteries. If the batteries are held axially against the bulb, the circuit is closed and light appears. If the batteries are distant, the circuit is open and te light is off. A push button switch toward the end cap activates a cam rotation to axially engage the batteries. [[2]]

This patent is for a divers flashlight granted to Alan Kurt Uke In 1976. The flshlight has a one piece case with a transparent end for light to pass through, and a threaded end for an end to screw into, closing a cavity for batteries and also acts as a switch. This chamber is fully sealed, resulting in a water tight chamber. [[3]]

Hotchkiss v. Greenwood, 52 U.S. 11 (1850) Decision Effects

The the case of Hotchkiss v. Greenwood, the case dealt with nonobviousness with respect to impact of novelty on a patent. The case centered around a new method of producing a door knob out of clay, rather than metal or wood. An objection was brought against this individual recieving a patent for this method, under the basis that this is not a novel enough method. All of the components involved existed before and were part of the public domain. The new material and the process manipulating the new material have also long been part of the public domain. It was viewed by the court that there was combonation of previous known ideas was not enough to be deemed as novel, even though there was practical merit to new method. Skill and ingenuity were not deemed to have been employed for the invention required in this patent.

Under this statute in patent law, all three would not qualify as patentable . For all 3 patents, all the parts and material existed in public domain previously, and for the most part the main structure in each patent is the same: single piece case which holds dry cell batteries that power the light which passes through the end of the transperent lens at the end of the case.

1. The most prominent features of the miniature waterproof flashlight are the rubber fluid tight diaphragm which lines the inside, and the backward orientation of the batteries. The court would not see novelty in adding rubber which isn't a revoultionary jump to make something water-resistant. Even though placing the batteries backward is practical from a reliability standpoint, the idea and ease of the alteration would not meet the standard. The invention does not contain enough ingenuity.

2. The most prominent feature of the underwater flashlight is the threaded end which as the screwing motion tightens the cap, the batteries engage the light to close a circuit. A screwing motion would not be seen as ingenious since it would be a logical idea push the batteries in a chamber which is already getting closed. No new method of manufacture or piece made for the invention to variegate the combination concludes a fruitless search for novelty.

3. The most prominent feature of the diver's flashlight is the push button which enables a cam to engage the batteries. Push buttons have existed before in the public domain. The shape of the cam is a frustro-conical shape, which is not a new design forcing a pin to translate, which results in no new pieces nor any new method of design, thus this combination of unnovel parts is unpatentable.

A&P Tea v. Supermarket Equipment (1950)