September 16, 2016

"It can’t be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art. It must demonstrate a new result or benefit not already known.” Again I heard “show me that it can’t be obvious to a person having ordinary skill in the art and that it demonstrates a new result or benefit not already known.” Over and over again, Nicholas Aquilino my patent attorney, repeated these questions. Who is this fictional character of ordinary skill and what does art have to do with golf? It turns out he was my patent attorney’s best friend and art was his hobby but apparently, my worst enemy.  You know the guy, the smug one, who irritatingly answered every question and was never wrong.

These two questions predominated any conversation Nick and I had. To write a patent application required copious amounts of research to confirm its novelty and patentability as well as a critical understanding of the invention. The ability to interact and think like your patent attorney when discussing these questions was paramount to success. I felt like I was speaking another language but Nick and I were good at it. 

Nick Aquilino is a patent attorney specializing in golf equipment innovation and design. With over 400 golf patents to his name, Nick has become a fixture in the golf industry. His more notable clients have included, Adams Golf, Dave Pelz, Guerin Rife and Jeff Sheets. Two of the most notable patents Nick worked on were Adams Tight Lies fairway woods and Rife grooved face putters. He was definitely the man we needed.

Some of his clients accused him of being negative about their ideas but the reality was, he was only anticipating what the Examiner might bring up during prosecution and then grilling us until you were able to answer all of his questions. He was very good at that, maybe too good.

Two interesting facts about the patent process were always in the back of my mind. Because something has not been done before does not necessarily raise it to the level of invention and patents are given a monopoly for the duration of the patent with the understanding that once the patent term is over the invention becomes free for any one to use. We had to get to work. We only had 20 years!

© EQUSGolf 2016

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