It was during cleanup efforts for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 that an idea ignited: why not use a quilted blanket containing C.I.Agent Solidifying Polymers for oil retrieval and containment on water? Several years of dedicated R&D, headed by Dr. Rakesh Gupta, an expert in fibers, nonwovens and other textiles, resulted in the creation of Agent-Q, a unique filtration media capable of preventing penetration of oil and petroleum products while allowing a high water flow rate.
Click here for Videos about the Clean Gulf Efforts.
C.I.Agent® Agent-Q (US Patent 8,986,822) is composed of C.I.Agent polymers embedded between layers of high-strength, lightweight hydrophilic spunbond nonwoven fabric which was quilted together using an ultrasonic bonding technique. Though the initial purpose of development was for oil spill response, the benefits of using Agent-Q for Agent-Q for secondary containment purposes could not be ignored. After all, most spill containment systems are built or designed to keep hydrocarbons from contaminating the environment in the case of a spill, so they must be impervious to oil. The challenge facing utilities and the engineers who design these systems, though, is that if a device restricts or stops the flow of oil, there’s a good chance it also significantly restricts the flow of rain or stormwater. This can cause water to back up in the containment systems and present a risk of overflowing.
Currently, Agent-Q is used in a number of solutions, including Oil Filtration Panels, Agent-Q Oil and Sheen Vault Sump filters, and the Hydro Sheen Filter, but many other products incorporating Agent-Q are in development. The possibilities of Agent-Q and its various applications may be endless, especially within the OEM market.
All About Patent (No Longer Pending) No. U.S. 8,986,822 B2, a.k.a., Agent-Q
The patent for Agent-Q was filed at the United States Patent and Trademark Office on June 18, 2012. Patent No. U.S. 8,986,822 B2 for “OIL IMPERVIOUS DEVICE WITH HIGH WATER FLOW RATE” was officially issued on March 24, 2015. As a method or process for spill containment (i.e., an invention that serves a function), it falls within the umbrella of a utility patent. It is also considered a “novel” device, since this invention has capabilities unlike any before it.
What’s The Big Deal About Patents?
In the United States, a patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to an inventor that is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The right conferred by the patent grant is “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale or selling” the invention within the US. Sometimes patents are incorrectly confused with trademarks or copyrights. A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device used to distinguish goods or “brands” from the goods of others; a copyright provides protection to those who create “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works.
The word “patent” stems from the Latin “patere,” which translates “to lay or stand open.” While ancient Greeks in 500 B.C. were said to grant protection to inventors, the first known patents appeared during the Renaissance, in Venice, Italy, in the form of decrees issued by which new and inventive devices had to be communicated to the Republic in order to garner protection from infringement. The first patent issued in North America permitted Joseph Winslow of Massachusetts the right to make salt in 1633. The first patent officially issued by the United States was granted to Samuel Hopkins on July 31, 1790, for an improvement “in the making Pot ash and Pearl ash by a new Apparatus and Process.” An impure form of potassium carbonate, mixed with other potassium salts, potash was the country’s first industrial chemical. Who signed Patent No. 1? The original document, currently residing in the collections of the Chicago Historical Society, boasts the signatures of a trio of powdered-wig-wearing historical heavyweights: President George Washington, Attorney General Edmund Randolph, and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson.
Why Patent A Product?
It’s essential for entrepreneurs to consider whether their invention needs a patent to make it commercially viable. Legally, a patent is known as a negative right. When it is granted, the U.S. government basically awards the inventor with a monopoly against competition, generally for 20 years from the application filing date. It’s a form of protection that allows you to enter the market with some assurance that no one else will infringe on your product.
There are three main types of patents. The patent issued for C.I.Agent® Agent-Q (US Patent 8,986,822) is a utility patent, which is the most common type of patent. Utility patents can be further divided into a number of categories, including new use, method (or process), device, chemical, software, business method, etc. Design patents, the second type of patent, are unique to the United States, and cover the design aesthetics of an invention. The third type of patent, plant patents, pertain to botanical sciences in highly specialized studies. Plant patents are very rare.
Test Your Patent IQ
True or False: I need a patent to make and sell a product.
FALSE – Less than 2% of patents issued ever make money for anyone. (And the ones that did, probably also had great marketing strategies associated!) A patent only gives you the right to exclude others from making, using, and selling exactly what the patent claims your invention or process does.
True or False: A patent issued by the U.S. is only enforceable with the United States, not in other countries.
TRUE – For inventors who wish to have patent protection in other countries must apply for patents within those other countries. While nearly every country has its own patent law, the requirements vary across the globe.
True or False: A patent means the government has verified the invention works.
FALSE – The government does not engage in product testing of patent applicants. Some U.S. Patent and Trademark Office auditors have suggested as many as 10% of all issued patents are invalid, the majority of that number due to the fact the invention does not work. But don’t worry Agent-Q has been thoroughly tested and it’s viability as a secondary containment solution is assured.
Whodathunkit? Interesting Patent Trivia
Who invented the fire hydrant? It is generally credited to Frederick Graff, St., an engineer of the Philadelphia Water Works around the turn of the 19th century, but no one can verify that. Ironically, the patent office in Washington, D.C., caught on fire in 1836, destroying many patent records from that period – including the fire hydrant.
The pharmaceutical industry has enjoyed the best and the worst of times when it comes to patented drugs. Research and development exploded in the 80s and 90s, bringing to market a slew of life-changing drugs and facilitating the industry’s growth into a trillion dollar international market … but the days were numbered for enjoying the spoils of the patents’ protection. Expiring patents for several important drugs over the last few years has allowed cheaper generic options to take over the market, resulting in steep revenue losses for several pharmaceutical giants.
Not all drug producers are driven by greed. The scientist credited with creating a vaccine for polio, Joseph Salk, decided not to patent it, in the interest of saving as many human lives as possible. What if he had been less noble? Forbes estimates he would have been about $7 billion richer if he’d patented his vaccine.
Ever wished you could see in the dark, like Riddick or Judge Dredd? How does the idea of night vision goggles, sans the goggles, sound? There’s a patent for that! It stipulates a surgical procedure for implanting photoactive devices (semiconductors) to stimulate an electric activity in the retina, thus improving vision at night.
In America, there’ no cookie-cutter approach to being an inventor – anyone can do it, even celebrities or public figures. For instance, President Abraham Lincoln developed a method for buoying vessels over shoals (U.S. Patent 6,469), and was the only President to ever obtain a patent. The King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen, an avid racecar enthusiast, designed a motorsports bucket seat used in racecars (U.S. Patent No. bnA7AAAAEBAJ), while the iconic dance moves made possible by Michael Jackson’s gravity defying footwear (U.S. Patent No. 5,255,452) proved why he deserved to be called the King of Pop
LOL, SMH and WTF: A Smorgasbord of OMG Patents
U.S. Patent No. 6,637,447
Date of Patent: Oct. 28, 2003
You know how annoying it is when those sweltering dog-days of summer cause your beer to get hot? Never fear, that’s literally why the Beerbrella was designed. Sounds like the simple ingenuity of a stoned frat boy, but in reality, this inventor also excels in non-brew-related endeavors … he happens to be a patent attorney!
Santa Claus Detector
U.S. Patent 5,523,741
Date of patent: June 4, 1996
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa … and if you want proof, this stocking with a flashlight in it should convince you.
Headlight Accessory (False Eye Lashes for Automobiles)
U.S. Patent D675,776 S
Date of Patent: Feb. 5, 2013
Do you crave dramatic, voluminous, luscious lashes, for your car’s headlights? Apparently, you’re not alone, so we have to ask: how on earth are you going to find a large enough tube of mascara for maximum beauty, that is both waterproof AND bug proof? Maybe she’s born with it. Or maybe this idea is BAD.
Tear-Apart Stress Relief Doll and Method
U.S. Patent 5,195,917
Date of Patent: March 23, 1993
This handy stress reliever is the perfect complement to March Madness. It’s 100% normal to get stressed out when referees make bad calls. But why settle for a boring stress ball, when you can harness your inner sociopath instead and tear the arms, legs and head off a doll that coincidentally resembles a ref?
System for Walking a Snake
U.S. Patent No. 6,490,999
Date of Patent: Dec. 10, 2002
Who knew that snakes can slither right out of normal collars? Good thing one dedicated snake owner developed a “concertina movement-neutralization device” to assist with walking the snake around the block a few times a week, to stay fit and healthy.
What Would We Do Without ….
Technically, it may just be an evolved version of a fire pit, but we couldn’t imagine flipping hamburgers over anything else!
U.S. Patent No. 3,688,658
The Grill (1972)
It’s no secret, this device gets our full support!
U.S. Patent No. 1,115,674
The Brassiere (1914)
The next best thing since – and FOR – sliced bread!
U.S. Patent No. 1,394,450
Bread Toaster (1921)
It’s impossible to imagine 80’s hair bands without this.
U.S. Patent No. 164,227
Electric Guitar (1951)
It’s even more impossible to imagine 80’s hair styles without this.
U.S. Patent No. 1,800,156
Method and means for the Atomizing or Distribution of Liquid or Semiliquid Materials (a.k.a., Aerosol Spray Can, 1931)
This invention could be considered the great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather to the iPhone in your pocket.
U.S. Patent No. 174,465
Relatively speaking, we sometimes take for granted how this “cool” invention by Albert Einstein spoils us daily, by making sure our food doesn’t!
Patent No. 1,781,541