ICAP to Sell Smokeless Electronic Cigarette Patent Portfolio
|Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: June 25, 2013 @ 12:04 pm
While there seems to be a lot of growing interest in electronic cigarettes from consumers, is there a commensurate level of interest in a patent portfolio covering the technology? We may soon have a definitive answer to that question. Last week ICAP Patent Brokerage announced that it would be selling a patent portfolio of heatless and smokeless cigarette technology that exclusively advances electronic cigarette science. The patent portfolio includes U.S. Patent No. 6,769,436 and related patents that are still pending. To view a demonstration of the technology covered by the ’436 patent click here.
The disclosed smoking substitute is designed to have the feel, draw, and full taste satisfaction identical to that of tobacco cigarettes, thus providing a realistic smoking experience for users. However, this technology operates using only inhaled air rather than cartridges or batteries that require replacement. The patented smokeless cigarette contains a filter system and distributor. Inhaled air passes through a nicotine-moistened distributor to release nicotine vapor that is completely invisible. Simultaneously, the aerodynamic distributor filter system within the cigarette tube automatically recharges itself. Plus, this smokeless cigarette can be used anywhere without restriction as it does not emit any smoke, mist, or odor. Mist-emitting electronic cigarettes (like smoke-emitting traditional cigarettes) are already banned for use in many areas.
According to ICAP, while electronic cigarettes are still awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) registration and regulations, a written legal opinion has been issued by the FDA stating that the government will not regulate products made with this patented technology. Thus, this patent portfolio seems well-positioned and likely more advantageous to own than various other e-cigarettes still facing potential legal challenges and unknown pending FDA regulations.
Furthermore, according to ICAP, the ’436 patent has already been challenged in court and prevailed as valid. And if you look at the claims in the patent you can’t help but notice that they seem exceptionally broad. For example, Claims 1 and 10 are independent claims which cover an apparatus and method as set forth below:
1. An inhaler of volatile nicotine vapor, comprising a one piece tube pinch closed and sealed at the ends thereof, the one piece tube being impermeable to nicotine; a volatile nicotine contained within the tube; and an element in tube absorbent of the volatile nicotine.
* * * * * * * * *
10. A method for dispensing volatile nicotine vapor from a tube having pinch closed and sealed ends, comprising cutting both ends of the tube to provide communication with the atmosphere; and drawing air through the tube with both ends cut before substantial volatile nicotine has escaped.
Time will tell whether this technology or electronic cigarettes actually replace traditionally cigarettes, but given the amount of money involved in the industry and the breadth of these claims this sale will certainly be one to keep your eye on in the coming weeks.
If you are interested in this portfolio you can contact Dean Becker of ICAP Patent Brokerage at (561) 573-0405 or via email at Dean.Becker@us.icap.com.A variety of electronic cigarettes have hit the market in recent months, and lately it seems that I am seeing a lot of electronic cigarette commercials on TV. Retail sales for these tobacco alternatives are expected to eclipse U.S. market sales for tobacco cigarettes within the next decade. So there is a lot of interest in this technology as more and more states and cities ban smoking in public forums.
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About the Author
Gene Quinn is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.