Re: Patented Post Processing Techniques (Re: DuraDye)

Date: Mon Oct 06 1997 - 21:32:34 EEST

David Leigh:

The building of composite materials has been known for fifty to seventy
years. This art became very popular with the advent of composite panels
for use in the space and aviation industry.

About twelve to fifteen years ago, the composite was initially laid up
on a mass mold and enclosed in a vacuum envelope. A vacuum was created
in the envelope while an anvil was used to press the material into
corners and recesses. Once the material was properly in place, the
vacuum was replaced with pressurized resin. This caused severe
distortions and imperfections in the material.

An ingenious individual found that allowing the resin to be sucked into
the bag while maintaining the vacuum practically eliminated the
deformation problems. This process was patented and every person who
utilizes this method to fabricate composites must pay a royalty.

U.S. patent law specifies that a patent can be issued for a new and
useful process, machine, composition of matter, or useful improvement of
any of the foregoing. What you describe seems to me to be a process. In
my unexpert opinion, it is not economically viable to patent a process
used by a consumer, such as the process of applying wax to an
automobile. Generally, a consumer application process is economically
viable only when tied to a mass marketing campaign.


Come see us at AutoFact '97 - Booth 1414!

Albert C. Young, Jr.
8550 Lee Highway, Suite 525
Fairfax, VA 22031
703.573.0690 fax 703.849.1206

David K. Leigh wrote:
> The press release reguarding the post processing technique for SOMOS is
> interesting and brings up a question:
> Can you patent a process that uses a commercially available product on
> another commercially available product. And if so, can you make it stick.
> Case in point:
> SOMOS is patented (I assume) by DuPont.
> The process in SLS Machine is patented by DTM (I assume).
> 1 material manufacturer.
> 1 machine manufacturer.
> But. . .
> Potentially many users.
> So, as a user of this material, I have noticed that it is pourous and
> dusty. It came to me that if the part could be infiltrated with a low
> viscocity fluid that then hardened, it could help improve surface finish
> and possibly the tendency it has to leak fluids. The key to the infiltrant
> is that it needs to have similar properties.
> So. . .
> Food coloring gives it a very nice color but comes off.
> Material dyes make it look real good but the dye will fade over time.
> Clear silicon works pretty good but doesn't penetrate the material.
> Clear silicon diluted with mineral spirits helps, but then the part stinks
> and it is very hard to apply.
> Rubber coating for tools (handle grips) comes in many colors and works
> pretty well. It penetrates approx 1/16" into the part and acts to seal and
> color the part. This can be applied with an aerosol spray or a liquid dip.
> A very good alternative is commercially available, low durometer urethanes.
> The urethanes infiltrate well until they set and can be dyed to give you a
> color of choice.
> My point is. . .
> You can patent a car. And you can patent the wax. But you can't patent
> the process of applying wax to the car. That is what you call a trade
> secret. Like the CocaCola formula. No one can keep me from mixing food
> coloring and carbonation and syrup, etc. But you don't have to give me the
> recipe.
> Good luck though . . .
> (BTW Elaine, is this a good use of information for our little group?)
> **************************************************************
> David K. Leigh phone (254) 742-1822
> Harvest Technologies fax (254) 742-0053
> Rapid Prototyping Services

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