The Patent Pressure
I underestimated the amount of work necessary in filing patents. This has been a helluva process from finding a lawyer to firing a lawyer and finding a replacement. I'm definitely not the easiest person to work with, but when lawyers are charging $760 an hour you'd expect people to be at the top of their game. Now legally my first lawyer might have been extremely proficient with legal jargon, but the lack of communication and responses to my emails and then the decision to file design patents without first consulting me for updates seemed like poor execution. I'm not a lawyer, but as a smart guy who understands SOP it seemed like a clear mistake.
After firing the first law firm I found a new lawyer who I felt comfortable could get the job done, but even then his schedule was busy and four and a half months later we are still cranking out the paperwork. The provisional patent was filed on November 7th, 2019, so technically I have until November 9th, 2020 because 1 year from my original filing date lands on a Saturday, but I don't want to risk anything. I prefer to get the application submitted Friday by 11:59pm so I can sleep in peace this weekend, but now I'm starting to think I need a few extra days to polish up all my arguments for why the USPTO needs to award me this utility patent.
I spent yesterday's evening reviewing the second draft from my lawyer and researching all types of apparel patents on Google Patents. I noticed a lot of the patents had lengthy backgrounds about their invention and I felt like our application was weak in that regards. I took it upon myself this morning to type up the below and I wanted to share it. I felt like I was making an opening statement to a judge as to why I deserve this piece of intellectual property; it was a summary of all my thoughts from the initial idea until now and I think it turned out ok. But again, who knows. There is no pot of gold guaranteed at the end of this rainbow even after spending tens of thousands of dollars. I just have to believe in myself because as a good friend from Oxford once told me, "No one cares about you like you."
Below is my Invention Background:
In the apparel industry, many garments such as sweatshirts and shorts have traditionally only had one use case. There is no dynamic nature to the product that correlates to the mobile economy we live in nowadays, mobile referring to both mobile devices and an on-the-go lifestyle which has been expedited by ride-sharing services, coworking spaces, social networking apps, and so forth. Thus, given these changes to lifestyle, one sees the need for conventional designs to be evolved to be more versatile in both form and function.
With the boom of the athleisure and fitness industries in the past decade, apparel products may have improved in textile endurance but overall bodily constructions still fail to capture the dynamic aspect of lifestyle offered by society. For instance, the running jacket has been treated as an isolated product when in fact it is the function of both the under garment (i.e. t-shirt, thermal layer) and outer garment working together as one system during exercise. The appreciation for a more advanced solution is one source of utility as our integrated panel design eliminates the need for a separate t-shirt, thereby optimizing the running experience and together with a zipper fastener and snap buttons on the back side of the outer garment (illustrated in Fig 1A) the utility offers the runner the option to increase heat dissipation without removing any worn garments. Such an increase in air flow is essential to the cooldown period of an athlete and the integrated panel reveal may also function as a stylish embodiment.
This utility can be broadened beyond the athletic industry to traditional streetwear garments where the integrated panel reveal adds a novel feeling to the wearer that can arouse inspiration and conversation. With respect to a hoodie, having integrated panels on both the front and back sides eliminates the need to wear a garment under the hoodie, which traditionally is lined with fleece on the interior and is uncomfortable to the wearer's body if there is no separation layer from skin to hoodie. By having an option on the back side (or front side) of the top garment to hide or reveal an inner layer, the wearer now can change his style without changing clothes, and with the design of an integrated panel being on a breathable layer of fabric, revealing the integrated panel through one or more fastening mechanisms also increases air flow and improves heat dissipation for the wearer, allowing the wearer to adjust to multiple environments with varying temperatures easily.
Thus far, the invention has been described in reference to upper body garments, but the same innovative ideas can be applied to shorts and pants. In the example of basketball shorts, an athlete can transform his image off the court immediately by unzipping one or both front zippers (illustrated in Fig. 5A). This ability to alter one's image instantly allows people of entertainment associations to remain hip and stylish to both their fans in real life and on social media, maintaining one's identity as a purveyor of cool. The cooldown feature is also achieved with the same unzipping of the front zipper(s) and when in a sitting position the increased surface area of the integrated panel(s) exposed improves air flow and heat dissipation.
In conclusion, the utility of said invention provides outstanding benefits to both the wearer and the designer, opening up limitless creative possibilities to previously one-dimension products in the apparel industry.
*** the figures mentioned aren't included in this blog