Wednesday, July 14, 2010

When innovation is marketing based

IPBiz noted in December 2007:

Innovation is not a subset of invention, as invention is defined by the USPTO. One can have "innovation" without having a patentable invention. Once one recognizes that, one can begins to understand some of the problems the IT people have. LBE has discussed the differences between "innovation" and "invention" in many places, including in "Patent Reform 2005: Can You Hear Me, Major Tom?", Getting the Patent Reform Wars on Track, and 88 JPTOS 1068. Far from being in the realm of "subtle linguistic differences", the distinction between "invention" and "innovation" is critical to understanding issues in patent reform.

In an article Razor Burn: A Flood of Fancy Shavers Leaves Some Men Feeling Nicked, Ellen Byron illustrates how the razor makers are trying to innovate (ie, change the way we live) without really having any inventions.

The word "innovation" does appear in the article: "As we enter into any innovation, obviously there's a level of skepticism," says Dan Kinton, senior brand manager for Schick's Hydro.

One gets into an interesting issue in prior art. Can satirical comments, which nevertheless accurately predict an "invention," be used as prior art?

New razors have been fodder for parody for more than a quarter century. In 1975, the inaugural episode of "Saturday Night Live" included a mock commercial for a three-blade razor with the slogan, "Because you'll believe anything."

The introduction of Gillette's Fusion razor, kept secret until its debut in 2005, was eerily predicted the year before by the satirical Onion newspaper, which ran a fake memo from a shaving executive bragging about besting a competitor's four-blade razor by making one with five.

**from 2007:

Depressions, radicals, Wobblies, and patent reform

**from 2009:

Innovation and invention, again

**Of a different "prior art" story, recall Donald Duck and carbene:

In 1963, in an article about Methylene published by Californian Institute, the Carbene element is explained in detail, with a note “Among experiments which have not, to our knowledge, been carried out as yet is one of a most intriguing nature suggested in the literature” referencing the Donald Duck comic. One year later , in another article, Carbene is explained a bit more in detail by a scientist named Greenwald. He refers to Donald Duck also

“ Let me say that carbenes can be made but not isolated; i.e. they cannot be put into a jar and kept on a shelf. They can, however, be made to react with other substances. Donald was using carbene in just such a manner, many years before 'real chemists' thought to do so.”


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