Patent and Invention Help Forum

Would method of attachment be significantly different/non-obvious?

Hi Brad,

I'm working on an idea that I believe is novel and non-obvious, but I wanted to run my thoughts by you.

I want to submit a PPA for a part I'm working on. It's an add-on part to an long established product. For a point of reference, I'll say it's a part that will be added onto golf clubs. Say a new study found that adding a fin down the spine the shaft of the golf club significantly increased velocity and accuracy.

The problem is there are now a couple of similar products that have recently come out that do this to varying degrees. The other products are considerably different than mine in the way they attach and the way they affect other components of the original product.

Currently the only commercial options for doing this involve a fin attached to a sleeve or wrap that encompasses the entire circumference of the club shaft. While this would add the desired fin to the club shaft, it would change the diameter, texture and feel of the club, which would negatively impact the golfer's swing. Additionally the current product fins are do not run down the center of the shaft, but off the left OR right side making it difficult to grasp both hands on the shaft. Finally, the current products are of a material/nature that they are very hard, stiff and non flexing limiting the natural movement of the hands.

My part adds the desired fin to the shaft, but it differs in the way it attaches: instead of a complete wrap-around sleeve or wrap that encircles the entire grip and changes the diameter, texture and feel of the grip, mine is simply a fin that runs down the center spine of the shaft and attaches at the ends of the club. It connects to the head of the club on one end and connects into the hollow portion of the shaft at the other end. This method keeps the original shaft diameter, texture and feel. My part is also centered along the center of the shaft instead of extending from the left or right side as the other versions. This allows ambidextrous use or easier grasping by both hands. Lastly, the because my part is added on to the rear spine of the shaft and attached to the club at either end instead of wrapping around the whole thing, it has some "give" to it allowing a little flex, so the hands can move and flex more naturally.

Are these differences significant enough to be considered "Novel" and "Non-Obvious"? If so, what do you think would be the best approach to focus on the PPA? Would focusing on the attachment points, which is what really is different and creates the improved features give me the best chance for later getting a full patent granted?   

Thanks for any thoughts you have on this. 

Brad

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Re: Would method of attachment be significantly different/non-obvious?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2016, 01:00:07 PM »
That is a tough one.  As long as the attachment points and the way you are attaching are new/different than other ways of attaching things to a shaft my guess is that it should be worth a shot.  If you are simply gluing the fin on with an adhesive or some other well known way to connect two pieces that would be a lot harder to get allowed. 
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Re: Would method of attachment be significantly different/non-obvious?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2016, 01:12:40 PM »
Thanks for the feedback, Brad.

I'm not gluing them. I'm actually attaching them by a strap that goes around the head of the club and the other end is attached by actually inserting a portion of the fin itself into the hollow club shaft. Nothing else out there has been done this way.

A follow up question: I was thinking of also doing a design patent as well. Could a design patent be drafted to cover a general fin used for this purpose using my attachment design? Or would I have to be super specific with detailed measurements of the attachment points and the fin itself?

If a design patent can simply cover the general design of the attachment methods, then it would be worthwhile to file a design patent along with a Utility PPA. However, if I have to outline very specific measurements of each component including the fin, then anyone can simply add or subtract a millimeter width from the fin or strap and get around my design patent.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks.

Brad

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Re: Would method of attachment be significantly different/non-obvious?
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2016, 07:11:13 AM »
There are no dimensions listed in a design patent so that should be a good plan (i.e. file both design plus utility)

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Disclaimer: The information on this site is not legal advice and is not a substitute for an attorney or a law firm.  You should seek legal counsel for legal questions.