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Messages - alicebrownsville

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Hi Brad.  I developed a supplement for animals that has measurable results and could only be developed by someone with a very specific background.  No one would stumble across it; it uses prior art in with different results.  I didn't file for a provisional because it was still in development but people have been buying the original product and are happy with it.  I'd like to get "patent pending" on it really just for its marketing and IP value before I introduce it to a wider market.  Do you have advice on it?  Would adding a benefit or property to it do the job?  No one has copied it so far, but it has been out there on our website for a couple of years in its early form.

So, the next bit of the question is this:  can the Big Guys, seeing my patent, change a minor bit of its design and patent or use it themselves as an improvement?
Let's say the guy that made the Bionic Wrench sees that now the copy of the wrench he designed that Sears has made in China  under a different name (being fought out in the courts) has a little flashlight embedded into it, illuminating the work area.  Is he now out of luck?  Can the Big Guys add one more herb to my feed supplement, label its use as a support for good vision, and "trump" my product?  (It'd be hard to prove if a chicken has better vision or not, and who cares? :) )

Exactly.  That's why I have always blown it off before.  Other little companies copy our innovative products all the time and I just let it go.  This one, however, could be marketed more easily and widely, and owning the IP might be useful when I hope someday we are bought out by one of the Big Guys.  That's what usually happens to businesses like ours that are successful; they are bought by bigger companies to acquire the brand.  We have a nice brand and are profitable, so I'm trying to position the company for an eventual sale.  That'd be the only reason to get a patent.  These little places that copy us haven't got the technical skill to make good copies nor promote their products widely enough to make a difference.  But the Big Guys could, and if this were to get a nice market presence it would be handy, I think. 
Or not.  That's a lot of paperwork, even though you'd be doing a lot of it.
I'll put the related question in a different post.

Yes, "method of use" would make sense.  I've been reading up on the doctrine of inherency and non-obviousness and what is meant by novel, and what it looks like to me is that I have combined several ingredients that separately have their own benefits, but by combining them in the form I use I get a product that solves several problems while conferring benefits that would not be obvious...or maybe part would be obvious and part would not.  For example, a single supplement in a waste-free form that solves these particular problems for the farmer did not exist before I started working on it.  I have the background to recognize the problems and the public's wish for a solution, and I have the technical knowledge to compound the product in a way that will work on several health, esthetic and animal welfare issues, which is not obvious.  I have the technical expertise to make it waste-free and convenient.  If someone with all of my background and training thought up this particular product and put enough time and effort into it, they might be able to make it, but they would first have to conceive of it and figure out a physical way to make it happen.  No one else is likely to be in that position nor have the incentive or interest to do it.
Does it sound to you like I should continue?  I was kind of relieved at first thinking it would not work, because I'm busy and not excited about filling out forms, but maybe I should protect the idea.

So a novel use for existing ingredients to promote better sensory qualities in a chicken egg, for example, made in a way that has not been done before, would be a poor choice?  I don't actually care if Joe down the street copies it, but if a big outfit started selling something like it  (they do monitor our products) it would be a nice piece of IP to license to them or ask them for a settlement.
We have been refining it for a couple of years but it is not yet registered with the state, and I have continued to make changes to it.

Hi Brad and all,
I look forward to working with you all. 
We're a small manufacturer of animal feed and supplements and have a number of products that are unique in the industry.  I've made a number of versions of them, improving as I go.  I am an animal nutritionist and know why these feeds and supplements work but have not shared all that information of course.  It is not all on the label; it is not required to be.  Other companies are trying to copy our products but ours are superior because I have inside knowledge.  I didn't think this could go beyond a trade secret but one of my customers who has several patents of his own tells me I should make them my intellectual property so I can assign the rights to them, or not.  If we are bought out someday that would be nice.  Your thoughts?

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