Patents on Shark Tank Season 5 Premiere

shark-tank-patentsShark Tank Season 5 Premiere – Friday

The Shark Tank Season 5 premiere will be at 9 p.m. EDT Friday, Sept. 20, 2013.  According to various blogs,  the Shark Tank Season 5 premiere will provide unusual drama as Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner go head to head for the first time ever.  Season 5 of Shark Tank will also give rise to an entire new season of Shark Tank patent issues.  Entrepreneur Magazine recently discussed whether patents are overplayed on the show.  We have also posted some comments addressing the common question of “Do I need a patent to go on Shark Tank?”

What patent issues might we see in the Shark Tank Season 5 Premiere?

Drama aside, the business ideas discussed on the Shark Tank Season 5 premiere will include the following:

  • Two entrepreneurs from Dallas, TX hope to bring a little sweetness to the masses with their savory cake balls.  As we have discussed in some previous posts, an entrepreneur can pursue patent coverage for a truly unique food.  Depending on how the food can be distinguished from those that come before it, the inventor could pursue flavor patents, method patents or claims directed to the composition of matter.  To date, both the Sharks and entrepreneurs have overlooked these opportunities for gaining market exclusivity, so it is unlikely that patents will be discussed during this pitch.
  • Two entrepreneur doctors from Tucson, AZ, claim they have a social media cure for the traditional means for communication between patients and medical professionals.  Here, the inventors appear to have created a new software invention and potentially a business method.  The potential for patenting social media software should not be new to anyone.  The movie The Social Network placed a heavy emphasis on claiming the patentable aspects of social networking inventions.
  • Two entrepreneurs from Firecrest, WA pitch their business for gourmet pickles.  Just like the cake balls, this class of invention would probably fall into the composition of matter category.   Notably, the entrepreneurs in this pitch assert that the pickles are made from a 100-year-old family recipe.  Since only new (i.e., different) inventions can be patented,  (an inventor must file a patent application within one year of first disclosing the invention), it is unlikely that these entrepreneurs will have many opportunities for patenting the pickles.  See 35 USC 102.
  • An entrepreneur from Los Angeles, CA has invented a  mobile postcard application that provides a new way to send a traditional postcard.  A mobile application would likely fall in to the category of software patents, which are among the most frequently patented inventions in today’s world.

It will be interesting to see how Shark Tank Season 5 premiere unfolds.  How many times will the Sharks ask what the propriety technology is?  Or will Kevin O’Leary  ask whether they can cut the entrepreneur out of the business—”Why do I need you?”

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