Saturday, February 28, 2009

Before you Quit or Give Up........ Read This!

12-02-2003 I filed for a Patent pertaining to our liquid nitrogen ice cream machine and Process.

12-02-2005 We filed a "Request for Status of Application". (Yes 2 years later, I hadn't heard a thing)

08-10-2006 We received a six page "Non-Final Rejection" letter from Examiner at United States Patent TradeMark Office. (2 years 8 months later)

12-11-2006 We file a four page "Arguments/Remarks Made in an Amendment" to Patent Examiner. (3 years later)

09-13-2007 I received "Final Rejection" letter from Examiner at United States Patent TradeMark Office. I remember this day well... even with "Final Rejection" I gave thanks for the patent and I visualized it in my hands. I didn't know how it would happen but I knew it would.

At this point we didn't really know what to do. The option came up that maybe, just maybe we could meet with the Examiner to show the difference of our machine and process. It was kind of a long shot but it seemed like our only option..... if it would even be allowed.
After a day or so, I received a phone call from our Patent Attorney saying that the Examiner was going to allow us to meet. (3 years 9 months later)

02-02-2008 I started to disassemble the G4 ice cream machine and stuff it in a carry-on size suit case. Now, what are the odds I'm going to just walk on the airplane with a 50 lb. carry-on full of steel, motor, electrical parts and a smile! Not to mention I was going to send a liquid nitrogen dewar as luggage. What if it gets lost, or damaged, or removed for some weird safety reason? Our trip would be a disaster! And yes my carry-on was tested for bomb residue going through security. (4 years 2 months later)

02-03-2008 We are scheduled to fly out of Seattle to Washington DC with a plane transfer along the way.
We leave Wenatchee about 6:30 am to drive 180 miles over the Cascade mountains to Seattle so we can catch our 12 noon flight to Washington DC. We make it over the pass about an hour before it closes which would have caused us to miss all our flights.
SNOQUALMIE PASS –Crews closed the road in both directions between Cle Elum and North Bend around 10:30 this morning. They prepared the helicopter for take off and it was finally airborne with Avalanche Control Supervisor, on board.

02-04-2008 We assemble the G4 ice cream machine in our hotel room and put the liquid nitrogen dewar together. Then we set out to get liquid nitrogen and ice cream mix so we can show our process to the Patent Examiner. Later this evening we meet with our Patent Attorneys and we discuss our options. After a few hours of throwing out every option we could think of... we still didn't seem to have a way around the prior art we were up against. Fianaly, we called it a night and went to eat dinner. After dinner, Ward, Kelly and myself went back to our room and studied the other two patents in an attempt to find a way around them.. we only had one shot at this and we knew that somehow we had to find a way.
After a few hours of joking around and some very careful reading and rereading and rereading, we felt as though we had found our answers!

Ward reading over the opposing patents.

Kelly reading over the opposing patents. (I was busy taking pictures!)

We met with the Examiner, I still don't know how we found this place, found a parking spot or made it through armed security with a tank full of mysterious liquid and our wild looking machine!
After all said and done, our patent attorney said that in all his years it has never gone this smooth with an examiner. It was a total success and yes we made fresh Oreo ice cream on the examiners desk right in front of him!

02-07-2008 (Thursday) We fly back home to WA state. We arrive in Seattle at midnight, got our luggage, got the car and headed towards home over the Cascade Mountains. I had heard through out the day that the passes were closed but somehow I knew we would make it home... I could see it. We arrived home at 4 am. I don't know how Kelly stayed awake but he did and drove us home the whole way!
I-90 SNOQUALMIE PASS - Eastbound and westbound Interstate 90 across Snoqualmie Pass opened to traffic about 12:15 a.m. Sunday, February 10, after being closed since Thursday due to heavy wet snow on the roadway brought down by avalanche control work.
I don't know how we got through but we did and the pass closed just minutes behind us and remained closed for days!

04-08-2008 We receive "Notice of Allowance" (4 years 4 months)

05-23-2008 I received a phone call from my patent attorney saying "Rob, I have some bad news.... I've only seen this happen one other time. Someone had submitted a letter and what they claim to be "prior art". This could end me getting a Patent, I could be required to start over or I could be allowed to continue with a new "Allowance"... it's was up to the Examiner.
It wasn't easy but for days I remained positive... I could visualize the patent in my hands, I could feel it. I only shared this news with one other person, I didn't want everyone to worry and stress about possibly losing the patent we had waited and worked so hard for.

06-25-2008 We file a "Arguments/Remarks Made in an Amendment" to Patent Examiner.

06-30-2008 Examiner reviews all information and issues a new "Notice of Allowance". (4 years 6 months later)

10-15-2008 Another letter is submitted to stop our Patent from being issued.. with "Prior Art"

10-28-2008 Examiner reviews references and gives us a new "Notice of Allowance.

11-05-2008 We receive Issue Notification

11-25-08 Patent Issued!

12-20-08 Patent Received! (5 years later)
Five years later, after a "non-final rejection letter", a "Final rejection letter", a trip to Washington DC to meet the Examiner, and two more letters to stop us from receiving a Patent.... Our Patent was issued!

Here are a few more photos of our trip to WA DC.

Releasing nitrogen in our hotel room. Boys will be boys!

Rob at the United States Capital Building.

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