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Patent Study Seeks Prior Art for Waterslide Patents


Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: August 2, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

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As you are sitting at your desk during these dog days of summer, dreaming of fun in the sun, perhaps your mind might wander to spending some time at the beach, going to an amusement park, or maybe you try and mix the two.  If you mix water fun with amusement park your mind wanders towards a water park no doubt.  But did you know that there is patented technology in some of those water parks across the United States?

If you did know that there is patent technology in play at water parks good for you.  But did you know that Article One Partners is currently in the middle of a patent study relating to several water park innovations?  Take for example U.S. Patent No. 7,780,537, titled “Waterslide run-out bowl.”  See the image below.

The ‘537 patent relates to an annular-shaped waterslide bowl for use as an element of a waterslide.  The bowl serves to slow a rider down and bring him or her to a stop at the end of the waterslide ride. The bowl has a wall with a rider entry port through which a rider slides from a flume into the bowl. The bottom wall of the bowl has an opening at its center and a low circumferential wall around the opening extends upwardly from the bottom wall. The rider comes to a stop in the bowl and can step over the circumferential wall into the opening. A staircase located within the opening provides means for the rider to exit the bowl. The waterslide bowl provides a compact structure for slowing and stopping the rider and is particularly suitable for waterslide installations having limited space.

The prior art that Article One is looking for relative to the ‘537 patent relates to bowl-shaped waterslides with: (1) A rider entrance on a side wall of the bowl, which allows for sliding into the bowl; (2) A rider exit in the center of a bottom wall of the bowl; and (3) A circumferential wall at the bottom wall portion.  The critical date for prior art that matches this description is August 30, 2007, which means that anything you find to submit should have a date before August 30, 2007.

The Article One patent study also seeks prior art related to two similar waterslide patents; namely U.S. Patent No. 6,354,955 and U.S. Patent No.  6,485,372, which share a common specification (i.e., the ‘372 patent is a continuation of the ‘955 patent).  The seminal image that captures the invention of the ‘955 and ‘372 patents is provided below.

With respect to the ‘955 patent and the ‘372 patent Article One seeks prior art that describes bowl-shaped waterslides with: (1) A rider entrance on a side wall of the bowl; (2) A rider exit on a bottom wall of the bowl; (3) The bottom wall portion extending upward around the rider exit opening; (4) The bottom wall portion being capable of holding water around the rider exit opening; and (5) The bottom wall portion exits into a flume and receives a flow of water into the throat or rider exit opening.

Last summer while on Vacation in Orange County, California, the family and I went to Wild Rivers in Irvine, California.  They had a waterslide there that was very similar to the one in the ’537 patent in some ways, and similar to the ‘955 patent and ‘372 patent.  The difference with the ‘537 patent was that rather than stairs to walk down in the middle there was an opening to about a 10 foot drop into a very deep pool of water.  I don’t have a recollection of a bottom wall portion holding water around me at the exit opening, but then again by that point I was hardly in any condition to recollect much of anything.

Yes, I gave this waterslide bowl a whirl, despite the well intentioned warnings of some locals who were rather surprised to see an adult on line for the ride.  It was bumpy and I found it rather uncomfortable (to say the least), but the kids seemed to love it.  Unfortunately, Wild Rivers closed in September 2011 to make way for a new condo development, so no need to rush to Irvine on your quest for prior art to submit to Article One.  According to About.com Travel the operators of Wild Rivers will reopen in a nearby location in 2013.  So we won’t be there when we again travel to Orange County, California on vacation this year.  Oh well.

In any event, if you know of any prior art, or you can find any from before the respective critical dates mentioned above, sign up as a researcher to submit the prior art and a chance to win the $5,000 reward.

Here are some other ongoing studies that may be of interest.  You can also browse through all of 57 current AOP patent studies.

System and method for providing consumer rewards 

This Study relates to processing credit card transaction data for the purpose of operating customer incentive programs for vendors whose customers pay with credit cards. More particularly, the technology is a method for allowing member consumers to receive customized benefits associated with an incentive program created by a member business. This patent study relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,933,841.

A method and apparatus for subcarrier selection for systems

This Study relates to multi-cell, multi-subscriber wireless systems using orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA). This patent study relates to U.S. Patent No. 6,947,748 and U.S. Patent No. 7,454,212.

Heart or nerve stimulation during heart or cardiovascular medical procedure

This Study relates to systems and methods for performing a medical procedure during which the beating of one’s heart is adjusted. More specifically, the invention in question relates to a method for stopping or slowing a heart intermittently during a medical procedure. This patent study relates to U.S. Patent No. 7,184,829 and U.S. Patent No. 8,036,741.

Electrical device with self-test and fail-safe display 

This Study is for an electrical device (preferably a medical device such as a defibrillator) that automatically (and preferably periodically) wakes itself up (e.g., from an off or suspend/sleep mode) to test its own systems (e.g. via a timer, real-time clock, etc.). Alternatively, it should perform such tests while remaining in the low power mode, in response to user interaction (for example, a user pressing a button). It may also run self-tests in response to other events such as insertion of a battery. Preferably, the results of a self-test are displayed on a “fail-safe” indicator, which shows an error if either a self-test fails or the self-test system itself has failed.

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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Patents

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

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