Author’s Note: This post can also benefit male readers, with special kudos to my colleagues from engineering. (Sorry, I missed the reunion.)
This article is part of a series countdown- Top Ten tactics to Make you buy More cosmetics.
I have done 10, 9, 8 and 7.
Now for the Top 6: Those Pestering Patents.
I got three words about patents… sneaky little bastards.
Let me tell you why-
Publishing Vs. Patenting
If someone gets to concoct something really innovative, she can do either of two things:
- One is to divulge it so that the whole world benefits – that is called publishing*
- Or keep it exclusive so that whoever uses it, pays a price- that is called patenting.
This is the main reason why cosmetic companies hire an army of researchers, formulators, engineers and chemists- because anything they “discover” while working for the company gets to be denied to the whole world for the company’s financial gain.
*A little piece of trivia- only those who publish their discoveries, innovations and inventions are eligible for a Nobel Prize. No glory for those who dig for gold here.
Perhaps you would say- well that is fair, after all, if they worked for it, they deserve to reap financial gains. Right?
I would agree (my father was an inventor and when I was a wardrobe-deprived teenager, i wished he cashed in from his inventions so I could have had more of those fantastic 80’s Dynasty shoulder pads – but i digress)…
… BUT sadly, that is just half of the story.
28,462 Patents and counting…
L’Ucifer claims to have 28,462 patents… but, tell me, are your wrinkles gone yet?
You see, 99.99% of the time, a product will not have any stupefying effect on your skin- and yet, stupid moisturizer can have as much as 478 patents. What gives?
Allow me to briefly explain the technicalities of patenting.
What can you patent really?
You cannot patent just anything, silly! You must have something über-extraordinary like …
- A “Miracle” Formula. If you use whale sperm extract like everybody else, why, you can still patent your formula to contain 1. 2875% sperm whale while rest of the world use 1.28748%. And don’t be shy about it, miracle worker you!
- A “Magic” Ingredient. What? Your sperm extract comes only from atlantic-swimming albino whales? Extra patent points for you oh pioneering one!
- An “Innovative” container. Increase the diameter of your competitor’s lipstick case by 0.025mm, change its curve by 0.0025° and round the edges .0018mm more and voila! Don’t see a difference? Well, numbers don’t lie- so advance to GO and collect 500. Your “innovative” case is now patent worthy.
- A “Special” Delivery System. So, you think my mascara wand looks like any other? Well, mine has exactly 207 hair filaments which are 3cm long twisted 8.5 times with a torque of 500joules in a .02mm wire*. Who is special now?
*I might not be making sense here, forgot most my engineering studies you see.
- A “Pioneering” Idea. Hmm, seems to me that none of my competitors has thought of patenting this idea we all are using. Well let me do it for them then and sue the ass of everybody else! (See this post for more juicy details on this one.)
Ok. But let us say for example that I have this stupid moisturizer that doesn’t do shit, really. (Heehee! Don’t they all?)
And what if I have a technically-challenged marketing bitch (who also goes by the “original” name of “marketing guru” or “marketing ninja”) that couldn’t be bothered to get into the nitty-gritty of patenting. What then?
Meet “Pestering Patent’s” worthy sidekick- “Trademark, the Traitor”
Instead of calling my cream a “stupid moisturizer”*, we shall now call it the Pro–ultraelectropixellizedhyaluruminizingpieceofmiracleXTM, give it a snazzy logo and a “scientific” illustration of silver hexagons and double helixes and trademark the damn thing.
* Marketing gurus and ninjas never (and i mean ever) call them “stupid moisturizers” as we have been properly indoctrinated to believe in our own shit.
You know, something like this-
For your reading pleasure, I have included here fine examples of “stupid moisturizers” other aliases.
— stupid moisturizer.
Now, why patent if there is nothing innovative after all?
I think you all know the answer. But here is a clue anyway.
Patent is Still Pending yet Money’s Already Coming
And you know what else is so beautiful? The patent pending claim. Absolute genius!
You see, after I have filed for my patents, (for a very small price, mind you) and way even before it is proven or accepted (can take a few months to a few decades) – why, I can already advertise that I have a patent pending application and give you all the illusion that I have the fountain of youth in my hands.
A concrete example- remember this product?
When it was first launched, it claimed to have been the result of 10 (or 20- but 10 bullshit year difference doesn’t matter really) years of research and 20 pending patents (or a stupid number like that).
Years hence, where are ’em patents now?
Maybe this article will give you a clue as to what becomes of disapproved/expired patent applications.
But disapproved or not, doesn’t really matter.
What’s important is – that I was able to launch with a big bang, made a mark on you dear consumers with an illusion of a miracle who in turn gave the Council of the Clueless enough money to wipe their arses with.
And to this I have those sneaky little bastards, patents and trademarks to thank for!