Patent and Licensing

6 Water Softener Patents You Need to Know

Water softeners eliminate minerals responsible for developing water hardness. This is one of the most common problems that homeowners face in terms of water quality.

Hard water deposits filmy soap scum across kitchens and bathrooms, destroys appliances, and dries out skin and hair. The U.S. is home to over 85% of households that depend on hard water for cleaning, cooking, and bathing. This explains the need for water softeners.

A water softener protects water heaters and scaly faucet heads, saving you from fixing prematurely ruined plumbing fixtures. It also ensures that you don’t spend several hours or time, and energy and money on what has already failed.

Apart from the benefits above, water softeners also protect your property and home from avoidable damages.

So…

What’s a water softener? It’s a whole-house filtration system designed to eliminate minerals such as magnesium and calcium responsible for causing water hardness. Some systems are based on the ion exchange process.

Water softener patents are a type of intellectual property that gives the owners of inventions the legal right to exclude other people from creating, using or selling. The limitation on an invention runs for a number of years in exchange for publishing the innovation’s enabling public disclosure.

Categorized under private law, patent rights allow patent holders to sue others for patent infringement to enforce their rights.

Here’re 6 water softener patents you should know:

Top 6 Water Softener Patents Every Homeowner or New Inventor Should Know

Water Softener – US1811890A

Filed on September 14, 1925, this patent relates to new and important enhancements in water softeners, especially for softening water in homes. It’s also used in buildings supplied with water from private or public mains water systems.

Water from such systems are usually hard, and more specifically relates to some form of improvement. The invention is adapted for automatic control to recondition the mineral component of hard water.

It’s simple in design and use, atop making up various parts aimed at offering such a structure often manufactured at a lower cost.

Water Softener – US1704925A

Invented by Edwin A. Robertson, the invention was patented in March 12, 1929. The invention allows for observation of the salt bed height in a zeolite water softener brine tank.

The quantity of salt brine in a zeolite water softening apparatus pressure system that’s closed at the top of the brine tank is usually indicated.

The brine tanks usually holds enough salt to ascertain that saturated brine is delivered to the zeolites bed in the water softening tank every time regeneration become important. Gauges are useless in this scenario because they get corroded or clogged with salt and become unreliable.

This invention was developed to offer a construction window that allows for brine tank observation. This is done to determine whether the salt bed has dropped beneath the window or its top lies above it. Brine is substantially black while salt is white under observation.

Portable Water Softener – US2202001A

Gudmundsen Austin is the inventor of this water softener filed in April, 13, 1938 as a patent. It was developed to ensure that the inflowing water velocity is used to impact auto embryo channels healing or short circuits meant to protect against efficacy loss.

The portable water softener makes perfect backpacking water filters due to their portable nature. With extensive countertop water filter reviews for household or similar water filters, you can make an ideal selection during a buying process.

The Water Softening Process – US5166220A

John M. McMahon is the inventor of this patented water softening process that was filed in July 01, 1992. The process is improved for ion exchange resin regeneration in a water softening system.

The process is meant to lower salt and water amounts required in the brine tank for resin regeneration. The water softening process includes the following:

  • Venting the resin tank to the atmosphere
  • Draining all the water around the resin
  • Adding brine solution to the resin tank – contact is made until regeneration of resin occurs; a vibrator is energized and placed on the tank’s exterior.
  • Brine solution is drained from the resin tank
  • Water is filled into the resin tank to cleanse off brine from the resin
  • The resin is ready for use upon being rinsed.

Automatic Water Softener – US2800229A

Jr. Charles A. Spaulding invented this water softener. The patent was filed in December, 22, 1953. The invention involves enhancements in water softening systems, particularly a household water softener that’s automated.

A regular household water softener is made up of a tank designed for receiving a water softening agent usually known as a zeolite. It’s used to remove minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium from hard water through an ion exchange.

An ordinary water softener is also made up of brine or salt that’s introduced into the tank for zeolite regeneration to support further use. Brine is supplied through a jet, using water pressure or an aspirator action into the softening tank where it’s mixed. It can also be mixed in a separate tank.

Alternatively, dry salt can be added into the tank directly in modern water softeners.

Water Softener based on Mineral Agents – US2099743A

Developed by Ellwyn C. Kroeger, the patent was filed in July, 15, 1936. The water softener invention has a novel structure and is made up of different water softening ingredients. The water softener is cost-effective and efficient.

Before washing compounds such as soap are added to the wash water, a sticky-curd-free solution is offered to promote the formation or suds or lather. The scum formed wastes a lot of water in rinsing of garments or items being washed.

What’s more, less washing agents are used to form lather when cleaning or washing.

You’ll find many more water softener patents out there. However, you can also patent your unique inventions in the water softening field.

Patent and Licensing

Top 4 Patented Identity Theft Protection Solutions

Financial fraud has increased substantially over the last half a decade.

Increased use of smartphones and internet penetration have seen more consumers opt for digital banking.

Factors such as speed and convenience have led to increasing dependence on online financial transactions. As a result, credit card fraud has been on the rise.

The growth of the identity theft protection services market has been attributed to increased adoption of online payments together with related frauds.

The e-commerce sector is thriving.

As a result, online payments have spiraled in growth over the years. With growth of e-commerce services and increasing penetration of the internet worldwide, identity theft continues to occur. This drives the market’s general growth.

Governments have taken measures to protect people from identity theft.

For instance, the United States created the BuySecure initiative to act as a task force against identity theft in the nation.

Similarly, Europe experiences fraudulent activities in large numbers in the following ways:

  • Phishing activities that trick people to steal their personal information
  • Stealing of postal mails
  • Malicious software activities

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA) was created as an EU agency to fight identity theft in various European countries. It fosters the functioning of network and information security to protect the data and identity of EU citizens.

Increasing demand for AI technologies will drive the general growth of the industry. Good examples include the IBM Watson and DeepCode identity theft protection services based on AI.

Identity Theft Continues to Rise

Fraud has increased and continues to do so with records of 15 to 20 billion cases of stolen identities over the last half a decade. The situation continues to worsen.

And…

This has more consumers opting for identity protection services.

According to a Javelin Strategy & Research report published in 2018, over 14.4 million Americans have been victims of identity fraud.

Moreover, the Consumer Sentinel Network under the Federal Trade Commission reported that identity fraud rose by 19.8% in the previous year. According to the 2017 FTC report, identity theft occurs mainly in the following ways:

  • Tax-related fraud
  • Credit card fraud
  • Bank fraud
  • Utilities fraud
  • Phone fraud
  • Medical ID theft
  • Smartphone account information fraud

With your smartphone account information, a fraudster can call your financial institution to make a password reset request.

Upon receiving a two-factor identification code to your smartphone, the fraudster gets access to your bank account. This gives the criminal control over your account just as you do.

4 Major Identity Theft Protection Solutions that Have Been Patented

  1. LifeLock

LifeLock provides a detailed suite of digital security tools for protection from identity theft, including other security services.

Pros of LifeLock

  • Provides a 60-day money back guarantee on yearly plans
  • Offers Norton 360 protection for computers and other devices

Cons

  • Family plans cost an additional $5.99 for each child
  • More costly plans than other solutions on the market

Available plans with Norton 360 include:

  • Select
  • Advantage – funds reimbursements and identity theft monitoring
  • Ultimate Plus – detailed plan with unlimited personal device security, three bureau credit monitoring and reporting, and reimbursement for expenses and stolen funds.
  • Identity Guard

Based on IBM’s Watson computer system, Identity Guard scans the World Wide Web to offer you safe tools for browsing the internet. It offers protection from online banking, shopping and payments related frauds.

It features an anti-phishing mobile app to protect your smartphone from identity theft.

Pros of Identity Theft

  • Offers safe tools for browsing when banking, shopping or making payments online.
  • AI scans millions of social media posts and articles daily to detect potential threats.

Cons

  • Offers credit reports annually
  • Doesn’t offer a particular computer tool package

Available plans include

  • Value – offers basic identity theft protection, alerts, $1 million insurance for reimbursements and a dedicated case manager in the U.S.
  • Total – alerts, monthly credit score and three-bureau credit monitoring.
  • Premier – offers social media monitoring and three-bureau credit reports.

Opt for LifeLock if you’re looking for options targeting your devices and computers for protection from identity theft. However, Identity Guard focuses mainly on offering plenty of ways to access online fraud protection against identity theft when doing online transactions.

  • ID Watchdog

The ID Watchdog solution also fights identity theft. It’s patented for offering three-bureau reporting at a cost of $19.95. Other family plans also available include:

  • ID Watchdog Plus – alerts, Equifax credit monitoring and basic identity protection services.
  • ID Watchdog Platinum – offers three-bureau credit scores and monitoring and credit reports.

Pros of ID Watchdog

  • Customized identity monitoring is offered under the Platinum plan at $19.95.
  • Trained specialists offer support to members who’ve been victims of identity theft.

Cons

  • Subscriptions lack security tools for computers.
  • Offers no money-back guarantee or free trials

4.) Identity Force

Identity Force offers various security services aimed at identity theft protection. They include:

  • Cyber-fraud protection
  • Medical ID fraud
  • Two-factor authentication fraud

Pros of Identity Fraud

  • Basic plan includes social media identity monitoring
  • Offers extensive protections and a junk mail opt-out
  • A credit score simulator is available under the UltraSecure+Credit plan

Cons

  • Has only two plans
  • Provides no refund for cancelled services

Available plans include:

  • UltraSecure with up to two months free on annual plans
  • UltraSecure+Credit with credit scores and reports, three-bureau credit monitoring, and a credit score simulator and tracker.

The family plan covers two adults and offers unlimited protection for children under 26 years living in the same household. It features a ChildWatch program for protection against children’s identity theft.

The program is available under all plans and covers:

  • Child identity monitoring.
  • Alerts for unfamiliar alias, name or address linked to your kid’s social security number.
  • $1 million insurance against identity theft.
  • Social media identity monitoring.
  • Fully-managed identity recovery services.

Patenting of the Solutions All these identity theft protection services have been patented to protect them from being copied by other companies. They all enjoy intellectual property rights protection.

Patent and Licensing

7 Things That Can’t Be Patented in the United States

A patent is the grant of a property right to an individual or establishment. It excludes others from using, making, offering for sale, or selling the product in the United States, and importing it into the country. Patents generally last for twenty years, with mandatory maintenance fees at specific intervals. If you’re considering applying for a patent, it’s essential to find out tips and information on licensable patents and consult experienced patent attorneys.

Types of Patents

According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), there are three basic types of patents.

Utility Patents: They’re granted to anyone who discovers or invents any new and useful machine, process, article of manufacture, or any useful and new improvement of such.

Design Patents: This patent is granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.

Plant Patents: anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Necessary Elements for Acceptable Patents

For an invention to be patentable, it should be established as new. This statement means that it must not be described in a printed publication. Also, it shouldn’t be in public use, on sale, or otherwise available to the public before the effective filing date. Hence, there must have been no disclosure of the said invention, such as a presentation at a scientific meeting, a speech or lecture, a trade show demonstration, a radio statement, a YouTube video, or other online material.

Rules to Follow

An invention is unpatentable if it has no sufficient difference compared to existing inventions, products, or designs. The request will be refused if you can’t prove uniqueness and non-obviousness to individuals with the necessary skills in the patent field. Such differences include changes in size and substitution of one color for another.

You must demonstrate an aesthetic or functional utility, depending on whether you’re applying for a design or a utility patent. Provide a comprehensive explanation of the design or invention, with details and specific examples.

Things That Can’t Be Patented

People generally believe that anything can be patented but aren’t aware that there are limitations. Some things can’t be patented for specific reasons like the ability to execute them or questions of morality. They are discussed below.

1. Software and Business Methods

Innovations that only constitutes a computer program or a rule or method for carrying out business procedures can’t be patented. That’s because they aren’t technical. Such business methods include advertising, risk assessment, online services, and computer-based share trading. Nevertheless, if the invention were to be technical and includes a business method, or is operated by a computer program, it can be patented.

2. Biotechnological Products

Biotechnology benefits the medical, agricultural, and food industries. Therefore, there’s a possibility of obtaining patents on genetically modified products. Still, human cloning methods are deemed unethical and, as a result, can’t be patented. Other non-patentable biotechnological inventions are discovered parts of organisms and plant varieties and animal breeds, which are new species.

3. Medical Methods

Products and devices for practicing medical methods can be patented. However, the methods themselves can’t. According to law, a patent must not prevent medical practitioners from curing and preventing illnesses. Also, because of genetics and other individual peculiarities, the methods could have different effects on different patients. They are, therefore, not reproducible and can’t be patented.

4. Ideas

Patents can’t be obtained on mere ideas or suggestions. Even though there need not be a working prototype, something tangible like a description of a machine is required. Before a patent can be issued, there must be something that demonstrates the usefulness and functionality of that idea. Being specific, like providing diagrams, may provide better chances of getting a patent.

5. Laws of Nature

The courts’ interpretation of the law has defined limits to the field of subject matter that can be patented. It, therefore, holds that laws of nature and physical phenomena can’t be patented. They include routine, regular activities, even though not previously well-understood. An example is the law of gravity, as proposed by Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein’s general relativity theory. Similar to that is the fact that naturally occurring substances can also not be patented.

6. Mathematical Equations and Formulas

Mathematical formulas and equations perform lots of functions and provide numerous explanations. Regardless, a mathematical equation or formula can’t be patented, even if you discovered it. That’s because they appear to be abstract ideas and not inventions. However, if the equation presents an applicable concept that meets the general patent requirements, then it can be obtained. According to law, only “hard math” is patentable.

7. An Unexpected Patent

Several people ask about the patenting of recipes, and according to law, they have at least three components of a patentable innovation. Hence, if they meet the qualifications, they can be patented. For example, there’s a rave of the ketogenic diet these days, but it’s tasking for busy people always to prepare their meals. If a company produces a pre-packed meal containing ingredients in adequate quantities to be unique, it could be patented. An added advantage will be if this product helps to improve physical performance.