PAUL BOUFFORD of Portsmouth wrote in the following email: "I have trouble with dry hands and was wondering if it would be possible to make some sort of hand-cream dispenser that a man could carry in his shirt pocket or the like."
I imagine Paul suffers from dry hands whose skin may crack under some conditions, and, worse, may bleed. From the beginning of this column I have insisted that your first invention should be of "piggy back" nature. That is not to invent a hand cream or its dispensing methods such as cream form, liquid or spray or impregnated paper. I suggest you come up with a convenient dispensing unit that doesn't take up much space in the pocket and would not stain it with an untimely discharge of the content.
As this column gains readership, I sometimes receive emails critical of what I describe as inventions being nothing but simple stuff with little technological contents. Well, yes I agree with the criticism. However, I have a strong belief that if a problem that has been plaguing people can be solved and eliminated, that is a solid invention, regardless if that is unique, patentable or not. The case of 1310 Cream Dispenser is based on a real problem, and therefore, that is a good case.
Please note that there are many multimillion dollar projects that are actually funded but are based on solving some questionable "problem." A good example is an airplane that also is a car. Or for that matter, a boat that can become a car, or vice versa. These projects have existed for the length of the past century and into the 21st century. Yet there has not been one successful case whose manufacturer made a steady profit. They never went beyond being a curiosity to become a practical solution. Now let's get back to this lowly Case 1310, and think hard, folks.
Patent 1.01 abstract
What is "abstract" in the patent document? An abstract describes what the patent is about. It is always located at the beginning of a published patent, and informs readers of the basic description of the patent. Now let's try to write an abstract for the Pocket Hand Cream Dispenser for Paul Boufford.
"This patent describes a pocketable miniature dispenser of hand cream for people with dry hand skin. By pressing the body of the dispenser, it produces a small quantity of hand cream, which the user can rub onto the hand. Its structure prevents cream to either leak inadvertently and soil the user's pocket, or hardens the cream content by oxidization so as to require inordinately high pressure to dispense."
That's it, folks. It should be contained in one paragraph and never longer.
By writing this abstract, maybe I have shown my hand in the design. However, I believe by now you are flexible and experienced enough to change the abstract in accordance to your design — be it a tube, a cylinder, pouch, box or whatever. You probably are thinking what are we going through this simple practice for? Well, in making inventions the most basic things are really simple, and yet inventors often skip this phase and go right into complex description and then fall flat on their face. A tall and sound brick wall starts by laying down the first brick, yes the first brick, and it better be well founded.
As you notice the abstract doesn't define the details of your invention, PERIOD. But it does define the overview of your invention, and this prevents you from going astray. Many inventors change their inventions in the mid stream. Instead of pursuing the original definition, they change thinking either to improve or broaden the function or the target market or both. Stick with your original abstract. Go through it, and complete the invention.
Shintaro (Sam) Asano of New Castle, who speaks and writes English as a second language, was named by MIT in 2011 as one of the 10 most influential inventors of the 20th century who improved our life. He is a businessman and an inventor in the field of electronics and mechanical systems, who is credited as the original inventor of today's portable fax machine. He also developed a data tablet used in the retail point of sale to capture customer signatures when credit cards are used. Write to him at email@example.com.