Gilbert, AZ asked in Patents (Intellectual Property) for Arizona

Q: Can a paver brick such as a brick used in walkway with names stamped in them be patented?

I understand that a pavers and bricks have been around for eons and in and of itself may not be able to be patented. The idea I have has a unique feature that would allow meaningful integration into many different paving options. I think I need to speak to a patent or trademark attorney before going any further. Thank you!

2 Lawyer Answers
Peter D. Mlynek
Peter D. Mlynek
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Moorestown, NJ

A: Yes, it could be patentable.

What I mean is that this is the type of thing for which patents are awarded (i.e., it is "patent eligible subject matter").

The problem is that it may be difficult to get a patent, because it may seem obvious to the patent office. Without looking into this in more detail, it is not easily determined if you will likely get a patent or not. You can see what your chances are by doing a patent search or an open literature search prior to spending money on a patent attorney.

Good luck.

Kevin E. Flynn
Kevin E. Flynn
PREMIUM
Answered
  • Patents Lawyer
  • Chapel Hill, NC

A: First you need to keep in mind that while many inventors think that novelty is the key to getting a patent, that is not the case. Most patent applications have inventions that are novel -- nothing has previously existed with the full set of features.

However, the real battle in getting a patent is on whether the idea would be deemed non-obvious to one of ordinary skill in the art of whatever area your invention falls into.

The patent office examiner is obligated to look for relevant prior inventions that have pieces of your idea and then cobble together an argument that what you did was an obvious recombination. I suspect that you will face real headwinds on this idea as the patent examiner will be able to show lockets that hold notes or hair from a loved one. The examiner will be able to point out time capsules that are placed in cornerstones of buildings with documents and other items.

There are also all sorts of items that hide keys or money in secret chambers.

You may well have a much more sophisticated invention than you disclosed in this public forum (two stars to you for not showing all your cards). I have a slide set that teaches entrepreneurs how to search for relevant prior art using free tools. http://bit.ly/Patent_Searching Other slide sets and resources can be found on the resource section of my web site FLYNNipLAW.com

In the end, if you want to proceed, it cost money to work with a patent attorney but you are more likely to end up with a patent that has value than if you try to do this without guidance. You may determine after looking at the relevant prior art that this is not a good use of your money. All is not lost. Many people make a lot of money with a product that is not patented but they rely on a solid trademark and reputation for a high quality product, excellent customer service etc. Many people buying something to memorialize someone that they love are less price sensitive and want quality so you may be able to thrive even without a patent.

You may have a much easier time getting a design patent if the ornamental appearance of your paver brick will be distinctive (hidden chambers may be hard to cover unless you will sell the paver in an open position so the chamber can be seen). For more information on design patents see -- http://www.flynniplaw.com/services/legal-services/united-states-design-patents

I hope that this helps you . Worse comes to worse, you may find that the slide set is helpful the next time you invent something as I have found that inventive people are inventive many times during their lives. They just see the world differently than many people do.

Kevin

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