Hair Patent Products Overview

Hair patent products are products related to hair care that are original enough to be deemed worthy of a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Such products may include chemical formulas, dispenser designs, and even scents. What unites them all is that they have proven themselves to be unique and commercially useful, and thus patentable by the criteria of the USPTO.

Filing a Patent Application

Before you file for a hair product patent, you should make sure that your product can even be patented. In order to enjoy patent protection, a hair product must:

  • Be novel, or new. Any product that is presented must have at least some aspect of it that has not been seen before.
  • Be non-obvious. Some devices, like the lever, are too common and simple to be patented.
  • Be useful. There must be some sort of commercial or industrial application for you product.

Also, remember that ideas cannot be patented, only the devices or processes stemming from ideas. Furthermore, on a more practical side, even if you do not engage a patent attorney or other professional to help you in your patent application, you will be looking at around $1,500 in filing fees just to make a patent application. Therefore, before applying, you should have a pretty good idea that the product you are trying to patent will have some value on the market.

Taking all these criteria into account, if you believe you have invented a hair product worthy of patent protection, your next step should be to file a patent application with the [USPTO[( To do this, take the following steps:

  1. Document your invention. The USPTO will need to see records of your work. To that end, diagram and describe every aspect of your invention, including the process that led to the invention. Depending on what the invention is, it may also be necessary to build a prototype for demonstration. Every entry made should be signed and dated, and two reliable witnesses should sign for you, as well.
  2. Conduct a Thorough Patent Search. Before you file for your patent, you should make sure that no other patents have been filed for products too similar to yours. To do this, you may start your search by looking through technical and scientific journals as well as the internet, but a visit to a Patent and Trademark Depository Library may eventually be necessary. If you find any patents that are similar to yours, you should state in your patent application how your product improves upon or distinguishes itself from them.
  3. File with the USPTO. There are two kinds of patents you can file with the USPTO: a regular patent application (RPA) or a provisional patent application (PPA). The lesser of these is the PPA insofar as it is not a true patent application in and of itself, but rather a claim for patent-pending status which will protect your potentially patentable idea until it receives full patent status. Within a year of filing for a PPA, you must file for an RPA. RPAs cost more, but they eventually lead to full patent protection.

Patenting Natural and Chemical Formulas

One of the main components of the hair product industry is the formulas that define the various hair-care products. Some of these are naturally occurring, while others are not. Both, however, can be patented in their own way. Natural formulas can be patented because, even though the natural product itself cannot be patented, either the use of the naturally occurring product or the chemical formulation of the naturally occurring substance can be.

For example, L’Oreal once patented an extract from genus chrysanthemum, and they were able to do so because they discovered the extract from the plant had activatory effects on melanogenesis. L’Oreal could use this to assist in pigmentation of hair, and since this was both new and a use for the natural product, rather than the natural product itself, it could be patented.

On the other hand, chemical formulas that are not naturally occurring need not jump through those hurdles, although they do have other difficulties. Mainly, a chemical formula can be easy to design around so as to avoid copyright infringement. In order to add value to a chemical patent then, engaging a skilled patent attorney to prepare a broad formulation patent could be well worth the time and effort in the long run.

If you need help understanding patent filing issues with hair patent products, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.