• FreeAdvice has a new Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our Terms of Service and use of cookies.

Velcro and my idea patent, help?

Accident - Bankruptcy - Criminal Law / DUI - Business - Consumer - Employment - Family - Immigration - Real Estate - Tax - Traffic - Wills   Please click a topic or scroll down for more.

Mec4040

Member
What is the name of your state?NY

Hello all,

Great site and lots of good info. My question is about an idea not yet patented.

One of the main materials has to do with velcro. Meaning, there will be a type of fabric and then velcro which will create my idea.

Being how I will need to use velcro, is it still possible for me to patent this idea as my own and collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?

Thanks for all the help,

Lisa S
 


ENASNI

Senior Member
silly

Mec4040 said:
What is the name of your state?NY

Hello all,

Great site and lots of good info. My question is about an idea not yet patented.

One of the main materials has to do with velcro. Meaning, there will be a type of fabric and then velcro which will create my idea.

Being how I will need to use velcro, is it still possible for me to patent this idea as my own and collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?

Thanks for all the help,

Lisa S

Lisa Lisa Lisa
How many times to I have to tell you... Nobody wants to wear malfunctioning wardrobes anymore... That was so last year! :p
 

divgradcurl

Senior Member
Mec4040 said:
What is the name of your state?NY

Hello all,

Great site and lots of good info. My question is about an idea not yet patented.

One of the main materials has to do with velcro. Meaning, there will be a type of fabric and then velcro which will create my idea.

Being how I will need to use velcro, is it still possible for me to patent this idea as my own and collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?

Thanks for all the help,

Lisa S
What do you mean by "collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?"

In general, you can patent an invention that is based on someone else's patented or trademarked work, as long as your invention otherwise meets all of the requirements for patentability (novelty, etc.). However, your patent, even though it is based on the other products, does not give you any rights over the other products. For example, if I have a new invention that combines Velcro and Kleenex, I can patent this invention, but I don't have any rights over either Velcro or Kleenex -- people can still go out and purchase and use Velcro and Kleenex without infringing on my patent.

Further, if I do have a patent that includes Velcro and Kleenex, if building or using or selling my invention then infringes on Velcro or Kleenex patents or trademarks, then I am liable for infringement. A patent gives you the right to keep others from using your invention -- it does not give you the right to use your own invention.

To use a more abstract example, let's say there are two products A and B that are in the public domain, so anyone can use them. If company X patents A+B, I can still use either A or B, but I cannot create A+B without infringing on X's patent.

Now, let's say I use a third element, C, and invent A+B+C. I can get a patent on A+B+C, because it is my invention, and I can keep anyone else from creating or using A+B+C; however I myself cannot "practice" my invention, or build or sell my invention, because if I do so, I am infringing on X's patent for A+B. If I want to practice my own invention, I will need to obtain a license from X or be liable for patent infringement.

Of course, even though I can't practice my invention, I can keep X from adding C to their invention. A patent is the right to exclude, that is, the right to keep someone else from doing something -- it doesn't necessarily give you the right to do anything.

So, back to your example, if your invention uses Velcro, and Velcro is either patented or is trademarked, then if you are issued a patent for your invention, if you want to manufacture and sell your invention, you will need to obtain a license from Velcro, or face liability for patent and/or trademark infringement.
 

panzertanker

Senior Member
Diva....

divgradcurl said:
What do you mean by "collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?"

In general, you can patent an invention that is based on someone else's patented or trademarked work, as long as your invention otherwise meets all of the requirements for patentability (novelty, etc.). However, your patent, even though it is based on the other products, does not give you any rights over the other products. For example, if I have a new invention that combines Velcro and Kleenex, I can patent this invention, but I don't have any rights over either Velcro or Kleenex -- people can still go out and purchase and use Velcro and Kleenex without infringing on my patent.

Further, if I do have a patent that includes Velcro and Kleenex, if building or using or selling my invention then infringes on Velcro or Kleenex patents or trademarks, then I am liable for infringement. A patent gives you the right to keep others from using your invention -- it does not give you the right to use your own invention.

To use a more abstract example, let's say there are two products A and B that are in the public domain, so anyone can use them. If company X patents A+B, I can still use either A or B, but I cannot create A+B without infringing on X's patent.

Now, let's say I use a third element, C, and invent A+B+C. I can get a patent on A+B+C, because it is my invention, and I can keep anyone else from creating or using A+B+C; however I myself cannot "practice" my invention, or build or sell my invention, because if I do so, I am infringing on X's patent for A+B. If I want to practice my own invention, I will need to obtain a license from X or be liable for patent infringement.

Of course, even though I can't practice my invention, I can keep X from adding C to their invention. A patent is the right to exclude, that is, the right to keep someone else from doing something -- it doesn't necessarily give you the right to do anything.

So, back to your example, if your invention uses Velcro, and Velcro is either patented or is trademarked, then if you are issued a patent for your invention, if you want to manufacture and sell your invention, you will need to obtain a license from Velcro, or face liability for patent and/or trademark infringement.
WOW!
An excellent description that is over most of the heads of the users of this site....
Not sarcastic, a compliment to you and your excellent offer of help, which seems to be lacking by others most of the time....
Now my 2 cents worth:
Use of a patented item in the creation of a new item still requires licensing from the original patent/trademark holder, so:

Diva, What if OP "made" his own "velcro"? Meaning he did not use "Velcro" brand but some generic hook and loop fastener? Can he do that and get around licensing?
 

divgradcurl

Senior Member
Not "Diva," Div -- div as in "divergence!" My handle is a reference to vector calculus, not overhyped female singers!

Here's where my name came from: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393969975/qid=1111198161/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-5246191-4778247?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

An excellent book, by the way...

What if OP "made" his own "velcro"? Meaning he did not use "Velcro" brand but some generic hook and loop fastener? Can he do that and get around licensing?
Maybe, but it depends on what rights the owners of velcro have. If all they have is a trademark on the "Velcro" name, then yeah, creating her own hook-and-loop fastener, or using a generic hook-and-loop fastener, would get her around the licensing. Hell, even if she bought "Velcro" brand hook-and-loop fasteners to use in her invention she could avoid licensing fees under the first-sale doctrine, as long as she didn't use the term "Velcro" in her sales and marketing literature.

Now, if Velcro has a patent on hook-and-loop fasteners, then it might not be so easy to work around, because patents can have pretty broad coverage. If there is a patent, and she can't (or won't) design around the patent, then she'll have to have a license, or face potential liability for patent infringement.
 

panzertanker

Senior Member
divgradcurl said:
Not "Diva," Div -- div as in "divergence!" My handle is a reference to vector calculus, not overhyped female singers!

Here's where my name came from: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0393969975/qid=1111198161/sr=8-1/ref=pd_csp_1/103-5246191-4778247?v=glance&s=books&n=507846

An excellent book, by the way...



Maybe, but it depends on what rights the owners of velcro have. If all they have is a trademark on the "Velcro" name, then yeah, creating her own hook-and-loop fastener, or using a generic hook-and-loop fastener, would get her around the licensing. Hell, even if she bought "Velcro" brand hook-and-loop fasteners to use in her invention she could avoid licensing fees under the first-sale doctrine, as long as she didn't use the term "Velcro" in her sales and marketing literature.

Now, if Velcro has a patent on hook-and-loop fasteners, then it might not be so easy to work around, because patents can have pretty broad coverage. If there is a patent, and she can't (or won't) design around the patent, then she'll have to have a license, or face potential liability for patent infringement.
My apologies, both to OP, who is female, and to you who is a "div" not "diva"...
I looked at your name too quickly and added an "a".
thanks for expounding the hook and loop idea.

P.S. why in the world would you want to be a lawyer if you can grasp vector calculus???
Seems like that would be more fun than arguing things in court! :p
 
Last edited:

divgradcurl

Senior Member
P.S. why in the world would you want to be a lawyer if you can grasp vector calculus???
Since the majority of my practice revolves around patents (both patent prosecution and patent litigation), I kinda get to do both.

Seems like that would be more fun than arguing things in court!
I spent a lot of years working as a physicist and materials scientist before heading off to law school -- so I've done both, I actually like being a lawyer better...

And don't worry about the name thing -- it's just funny, it seems so obvious to me, but you are not the first to confuse "div" with "diva"...
 

davezan

Member
divgradcurl said:
I spent a lot of years working as a physicist and materials scientist before heading off to law school -- so I've done both, I actually like being a lawyer better...
That is actually a tremendous advantage because people like you can almost
easily (or easily whichever you prefer) comprehend both legal and technical
matters. Many attorneys can easily handle law issues, but get stumped when
it comes to technological issues unless it's something they truly thrive on.
 

Mec4040

Member
Live in NY,

WOW is right...I couldnt believe that answer I read. To be honest, I thought at first that you where pulling a joke. I did have to read it about 4 times, and even then I still need to have some things cleared up. I wish I could take this all in and make somthing out of it and I hope not to wear out anyone's patenice.

"A patent gives you the right to keep others from using your invention -- it does not give you the right to use your own invention."

Ok..this one throw me for a loop...I thought if I get a patent, this is to allow me to build it and then sell to a market and collect money, no?

I will try and make a different example, I know you understand what I'm saying but I think it might be easier for me to get it, if I try another way. Lets say I have an invention for holding sun glasses...it uses material and velcro to hold the flap closed, would I need to get some type of permit or pay a fee to use the velcro?

If say I do have to pay something if I want to patent my idea...what if I use a velcro not made by them, but a different hook and loop company, would this work or do I need to pay the company which make the hook and loop?

Also you mentioned one of the problems might depend on if they have a patent on the velcro. How could I check if they do in fact have such a permit?

Again I want to really thank youu for taking the time and making the effort to help me out. I truly wish I could understand this easy...


Lisa S
 

divgradcurl

Senior Member
Ok..this one throw me for a loop...I thought if I get a patent, this is to allow me to build it and then sell to a market and collect money, no?
Well, that's what most people end up doing with a patent -- but that's not a right granted by a patent. A patent is a property right, which means that it is a right to exclude -- in the case of a patent, it gives you the right to keep others from practicing your patent. But it doesn't give you the RIGHT to practice your patent, and if you think about it, it makes sense -- if you patented say, an improvement over someone else's patented invention, and a patent gave you the right to practice your own patent, then you could practice your patent without worrying about infringing on the other's guys patent -- and that would reduce HIS power to exclude, and reduce the value of his own patent. And to turn it around, someone else could patent an improvement on your invention, and if they had the right to PRACTICE the patent, you wouldn't be able to enforce your patent against them -- and then what would be the point of your patent?

In many cases, you don't have this problem -- if your product is not based on someone else's patented work, then you simply don't have any barrier to practicing your patent, and the right to exclude and the right to practice coexist. But a patent is NOT a right to do anything -- it is simply a right to keep others from doing something.

Lets say I have an invention for holding sun glasses...it uses material and velcro to hold the flap closed, would I need to get some type of permit or pay a fee to use the velcro?
Again, it depends on how and what you do with the Velcro. Chances are, under patent law, you wouldn't have any problems, unless you were manufacturing your own Velcro-like material and Velcro was still covered by a valid patent. If you simply buy the Velcro and use it in your product, then it is unlikely that you would run in to any patent problems -- unless, of course, you invention (or a similar invention) has already been patented...

Now, if you wanted to use the "Velcro" name as part of you marketing materials, or to help sell the product, then you might have a trademark issue to contend with -- but that won't affect the patentability of manufacture of the invention, only the marketing.

If say I do have to pay something if I want to patent my idea...what if I use a velcro not made by them, but a different hook and loop company, would this work or do I need to pay the company which make the hook and loop?
Same issues as above. If there is no Velcro patent, or if the other company is licensed to make Velcro, then there are no patent problems. Trademark problems may arise depending on whether or not anyone ones a trademark, and whether or not you use the mark in your advertising.

Also you mentioned one of the problems might depend on if they have a patent on the velcro. How could I check if they do in fact have such a permit?
You can search www.uspto.gov. I doubt Velcro would still be covered under a patent -- I would imagine any patent they had would be expired by now -- but you never know. You could also check the Velcro company website, maybe they have some info there. You can also search that site to try and see if anyone has already patented your invention, or something similar.
 

chrismicro

Junior Member
What do you mean by "collect without having to pay a fee to anyone else?"

In general, you can patent an invention that is based on someone else's patented or trademarked work, as long as your invention otherwise meets all of the requirements for patentability (novelty, etc.). However, your patent, even though it is based on the other products, does not give you any rights over the other products. For example, if I have a new invention that combines Velcro and Kleenex, I can patent this invention, but I don't have any rights over either Velcro or Kleenex -- people can still go out and purchase and use Velcro and Kleenex without infringing on my patent.

Further, if I do have a patent that includes Velcro and Kleenex, if building or using or selling my invention then infringes on Velcro or Kleenex patents or trademarks, then I am liable for infringement. A patent gives you the right to keep others from using your invention -- it does not give you the right to use your own invention.

To use a more abstract example, let's say there are two products A and B that are in the public domain, so anyone can use them. If company X patents A+B, I can still use either A or B, but I cannot create A+B without infringing on X's patent.

Now, let's say I use a third element, C, and invent A+B+C. I can get a patent on A+B+C, because it is my invention, and I can keep anyone else from creating or using A+B+C; however I myself cannot "practice" my invention, or build or sell my invention, because if I do so, I am infringing on X's patent for A+B. If I want to practice my own invention, I will need to obtain a license from X or be liable for patent infringement.

Of course, even though I can't practice my invention, I can keep X from adding C to their invention. A patent is the right to exclude, that is, the right to keep someone else from doing something -- it doesn't necessarily give you the right to do anything.

So, back to your example, if your invention uses Velcro, and Velcro is either patented or is trademarked, then if you are issued a patent for your invention, if you want to manufacture and sell your invention, you will need to obtain a license from Velcro, or face liability for patent and/or trademark infringement.
I can't believe what I'm reading here, if its true then if I invent something that have some plastic material in or it is made of steel who am I going to pay infringement to or I'm using a MCU that is made by Microchip Inc. then I have to pay infringement to them, NO I'm already promoting and selling there product for them, they already get there Lb. of meat when I bye the MCU. I don't think you understand the question or your own answer
 

quincy

Senior Member
Mec4040 -

George de Mestral invented Velcro in 1948 and patented it in 1955. Patents issued prior to 1995 are good for 17 years (for utility patents) and 14 years for design patents. After that, the patent falls into the public domain. (Patents issued after 1995 are good for 20 years).

Although today Velcro is a multi-million dollar business and you cannot buy "Velcro" because it is a registered trademark for a Velcro Industries' product (trademarks are good for an initial term of 10 years and can be renewed indefinitely), you can buy as many Velcro brand hook and loop fasteners as you want to use in your own product. You just cannot use the Velcro trademark in your product.

Divgradcurl or someone will correct me if I am wrong.
 
Last edited:

divgradcurl

Senior Member
Ha! See how carefully I read things :D
But divgradcurl, was I right??
Yes.

Further, because the patent expired, he would be able to create his own hook-and-loop fasteners for use in his invention, even if identical to Velcro, so long as he didn't call it Velcro (although arguably "Velcro" might be too generic now to protect, although I don't think this has been tested).
 
Sponsored Ad

Top