Not getting enough caffeine out of your morning coffee, Red Bull, or 5-Hour Energy? Colgate may soon have another option for you. The company recently submitted a patent application to the United States Patent Office that covers, among other things, a toothbrush that delivers a release of caffeine. Maybe the fast pace of the modern world requires various injections of energy while we go throughout our daily routine. Caffeinated Chap Stick anyone?
Caffeine is just one of a plethora of possible chemical releases from Colgate’s new toothbrush. The caffeinated toothbrush patent application (which can be seen by clicking here) describes “[a]n oral care implement that includes a releasable sensory material that invokes a sensory response when in contact with tissues or surfaces of a mouth of a user.” The idea is to enhance the teeth cleaning experience by adding flavors that will provide tingle, spice, or energy. Among the chemical releases described are chamomile, capsaicin, Erythritol, Xylitol, and a variety of fruit flavors.
Sounds like an interesting idea and time will tell whether it is a commercial success, but Colgate’s patent attorneys still have work to do to get the patent application through the Patent Office. The application was initially rejected based on two existing patents that when combined together teach features similar to the ones described in Colgate’s application. Remember that for something to be patentable it must be novel and non-obvious. If the Patent Office finds any patents or printed publication that describe the features of the applied for invention or if a combination of references together make the elements of the invention obvious, the Patent Office can reject the application.
In order to overcome the Patent Office’s rejection, Colgate’s patent attorneys will need to offer counter arguments as to why the cited references do not render obvious Colgate’s sensory enhancing toothbrush invention. If Colgate’s patent attorneys can’t convince the Patent Office, they may face a decision to abandon the patent application or narrow the scope of the claims to work around the references cited by the patent examiner. If Colgate is eventually granted a patent on its sensory enhancing toothbrush, it may cover much less than was originally claimed in the initial application. It will be interesting to see what happens with this patent application, particularly if you are a caffeine junky.
If you have the next big idea in toothbrush technology or just want to know more about the patent process, please contact the patent attorneys at Clegg Law. They have the experience to help you get the most out of your invention.