Where are you right now? Are you at home sitting down with a TV remote in your hands and slippers on your feet? I bet you are. Did you know that the remote that you’re holding and the slippers on your feel comes with a stack of paperwork that claim protective rights to its inventor? If you didn’t then you do now. Those papers that come with those two leisure products are called a patent. “What is that?” you ask? Here’s the answer: according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office a patent is a property right granted by the government of the United states of America to an inventor. Basically a patent makes sure that no one copies your idea and receives credit for it. A patent will protect the product’s inventor. In a patent there are specifications, titles, cross references, a detailed description of the invention, an abstract and also a drawing of the product. There are also three types of patents: design, utility, and plant.
This week the Guppies Group Inc. went on an exciting excursion (to the computers five feet away from them) to research patents that cover similar products to their swim flotation devices. All four members each recorded three different patents for water safety devices and listed a small description of what each invention looked like. This was done through Google patent search. By doing this the Guppies found several ideas that they might want to include or not include into their invention. The ideas from the patent search will not be copied but adjusted to fit their invention. For example, there was a patent done for a swim flotation device that was in the form of underwear…although this may not be the most physically attractive invention for water safety, the creation of a band of air to lift the wearer up is a good idea to take into consideration.
Patents are especially useful in the engineering department since they apply most to inventors and innovators. If you want to get credit for your invention, make sure to create a patent for your new, useful and non-obvious product. There are patents for pretty much anything. Just look for the “patent pending” engravings on the products near you! Another activity that the Guppies worked on was the memorandum which according to the Legal Dictionary means a document recording the terms of a contract or other legal details. This memorandum will describe the holistic process and description of the swim flotation devices.