View Full Version : Intellectual Property

Brian Ellis
8th November 2010, 08:29
Patents are usually not worth the paper they are written on, except as a means of establishing a date for "prior art".

For over 20 years I've been trying to think of a way to have on packets of frozen food a means of showing whether the cold chain has been broken at any time between the manufacturer and the retail cabinet. This is easy at a prohibitive price (50 cents upwards), which would make the cost of the goods non-competitive.

A few days ago, I had a Eureka moment and I believe I have an answer to this enigma. I would guestimate that the materials cost would be <1-2 cents each. It would require a small machine installed over the conveyor carrying the already frozen boxes to the cartons. My guestimate is that such a machine would cost about $7,500-10,000 in small batches. It would also require a small modification to the machine which forms the boxes.

My problems are:
- I'm old and in poor health, thus have no will to develop the idea
- I'm retired and have no machines or suchlike to develop a prototype
- I have no proof of the viability sufficient to justify the enormous expense and hassle of a search for prior art before patenting the idea (principle and machine), at least until a manual prototype was shown to work
- I have no longer any industrial contacts of potentially interested partners
- I can not reveal any details to any third party before patenting without a watertight privileged confidentiality agreement

As I see it:
Each cardboard packet (will not be viable for plastic bag packing of veggies, for example) containing frozen food would have an indication whether, at any time, the temperature has exceeded a given temperature, say, -15°C (can be any temperature). The reaction time of the indicator would be seconds after the contents reached the critical temperature. The indicator would be non-reversible, ie no one could reset it without going to a lot of expense and time to do so.
Consumers could see, at a glance, whether the food in the retail cabinet was fit to eat: retailers could refuse shipments that had not been properly refrigerated at all times.

I seek an entrepreneur who may be interested in taking over the idea, either for a one-off cash sum (preferable) or as a partner with a fixed sum royalty for each system sold.

Anyone interested?

8th November 2010, 11:30
What about donating the idea to society? :)

if not, I donate the following idea to society if it isn't patented already:
What about putting stickers/labels with a mark composed of salt crystals onto each box? If the temperature goes above the melting point of the salt crystal, the mark will fade. Conditions to reform the crystals are not possible in the label, even if the box is brought to lower temperatures again.

You'd need a salt plus a range of impurities to precisely control the pre-determined melting point. Check with simple video camera, or naked eye for the presence of the mark on the sticker.

8th November 2010, 14:21
A good point. There are several IP's out there that end up going to some charity or organization that benefit's society. The rights to Peter Pan are owned (were owned?) by Great Ormond Street Hospital.


As for building it ... find someone who can do it and make them co-owner for their aide. Most patents have the inventor, the designer and the owner. You would be the inventor, your partner would be the designer and you would both co-own the IP.