Tide TIPS: Technology, Innovation, Patents, Startups Volume 44


Tide TIPS: Volume 44

You are reading Tide TIPS, a weekly round-up of all things Technology, Innovation, Patent, and Startup related.


KISS Trademarks Your Fingers

(Gene Simmons Voice) You keep on shoutin’, yeah yooooooou keep on shoutin’,  Iiiiiiiiiiii wanna trademark your fingers and get paid everydaaaaay. Ok, so that was a terrible take on “Rock N Roll All Nite”, but I think you get where we’re going. Gene Simmons, the frontman of the rock-n-roll band, KISS wants to trademark his “signature” hand gesture that can be seen in the photo for the video linked above. But you know the one, where you stick up your index and pinky fingers, and your thumb out. Simmons is totally within his rights to do this. The Patent and Trademark office is totally within theirs to reject his request. For fun, let’s assume he is granted the trademark, then what? Well, Simmons will have to enforce the protection. Unfortunately for him, there isn’t some trademark police that runs around telling people you can’t tell them you love them in sign language, or Spiderman he can’t shoot webs. (LA Times)

The Scrub Daddy: A Patent Success Story

Ever heard of the Scrub Daddy? I hadn’t either until I read this article, but damn, it’s a great story of how to properly patent your idea and turn it into a multi-million dollar business. You see, the owner of the Scrub Daddy, Aaron Krause, took his novel idea for a sponge on the TV show “Shark Tank.” There he was offered cash in exchange for 20% of the company. This isn’t totally inconsequential, but what he did before he went on the show was file a series of patents. In an ingenious order it would seem too. In 2007, Krause filed a couple of design patents, presumably to enter the market and begin generating revenue by selling the smiley faced sponge. He then — I’m going out on a not too shaky limb here and assuming—dumped some of his profit back into R&D and created a novel material to make the sponge out of and filed a couple of utility patents. The sequence here is genius because he quickly filed the substantial cheaper design patent (patents that only protect the ornamental look and feel of a product, 14 year life) that protected his consumer friendly design. Then, he further protected by filing utility patents (patents that protect the usefulness of a product, or its ability to be utilized, 20 year life) ensuring that the Scrub Daddy will be protected in some way into the early 2030s. (IP.com)

Side note: This was an article provided by our fearless leader, Rick. But, if you have an interesting article on business, science, or anything in between, please tweet them to the attention of @UATechTransfer, or email it to me, bhbickerstaff@ua.edu and we will be sure to give you a shout out.

All Grocery Bags Will Come with a Smiley Face

As if Amazon didn’t already have a great week last week in their landmark acquisition of Whole Foods, they were awarded a patent that could bolster their domination of the grocery industry. Essentially the patent is a process for blocking users from price checking against other grocery retailers. This was cute when everyone thought it was just the handful of stores Amazon built to test out their hair brained grocery ideas. Well now that they literally just purchased a bunch of grocery stores, they are well on their way to “Grocery Prime.” Feel about that as you will. (The Verge)


Hiring Advice from Mark Zuckerberg

Are you someone about to make a big time hire? If you so, ask yourself this question before you hire them: Would you feel comfortable if the roles were reversed and you were the one working for them? Well according to Zucks, if the answer is no then you shouldn’t hire them. His reasoning is that if everyone is bought into the same vision and goals, then it doesn’t really matter who the boss is, everyone can set aside their egos and work together to achieve their collective, common goals. Now, this doesn’t have to apply to every hiring decision, like interns. But when it comes to your vision for the direction of your department, a new team leader or project manager, or who will help run the company you started in your dorm room at Harvard that you may or may not have stolen from two rich twin brothers, you should probably adhere to this advice. (Yahoo Finance)

Never miss a tip!

Subscribe to our list to get Tide TIPS straight to your inbox!

Have a tip? Let us know by sending the link to Ben, at bhbickerstaff@ua.edu