Lee Valley Tools Woodworking Newsletter
Vol. 2, Issue 5
May 2008
Featured Patents

Patented Scraper … Maybe, or Maybe Not


When choosing to highlight this tool as a featured patent, it was assumed, because of the bold metal nameplate and the information thereon, that the appropriate patent papers would be simple to find. What actually transpired was a two-day search of all existing databases, without finding an actual patent or patent application for this particular scraper tool. (By the way, who knew that Iowa was the home of so many valid patents for road scrapers and graders?)

It was, and still is, common for inventors to try to protect their ideas so that their concepts are not stolen and reproduced by others before actual commercial production. They could file their concept with the American and British patent offices as a registered design or application. At a later date, after much investigation and validation by the issuing office, a final patent number would be assigned and the inventor was then legally protected. In some cases, the application was refused. In other cases,there was an extraordinarily long delay, which often prevented test marketing and, in some instances, resulted in the financial demise of the enthusiastic inventor. Marks were often applied to an item to thwart potential competitors. Those most commonly found are "pat. applied for", "pat. appl.", "reg'd. design" and other variations. In some cases, a fictitious date is inserted. Many of these patent claims are false.

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