Top 6: Those Pestering Patents

Author's Note:  This post can also benefit male readers, with special kudos to my colleagues from engineering.  (Sorry, I missed the reunion.)
This article is part of a series countdown- Top Ten tactics to Make you buy More cosmetics.  
I have done 10, 9, 8 and 7.   

Now for the Top 6:  Those Pestering Patents.
I got three words about patents...  sneaky little bastards.

Let me tell you why-

Publishing Vs. Patenting

If someone gets to concoct something really innovative, she can do either of two things:
  • One is to divulge it so that the whole world benefits - that is called publishing*
  • Or keep it exclusive so that whoever uses it, pays a price- that is called patenting.
This is  the main reason why cosmetic companies hire an army of researchers, formulators, engineers and chemists- because anything they "discover" while working for the company gets to be denied to the whole world for the company's financial gain.
*A little piece of  trivia- only those who publish their discoveries, innovations and inventions are eligible for a Nobel Prize.  No glory for those who dig for gold here.
Perhaps you would say- well that is fair, after all,  if they worked for it, they deserve to reap financial gains.  Right?

I would agree (my father was an inventor and when I was a wardrobe-deprived teenager, i wished he cashed in from his inventions so I could have had more of those fantastic 80's Dynasty shoulder pads - but i digress)...

...  BUT sadly, that is just half of the story.

28,462 Patents and counting... 

L'Ucifer claims to have 28,462 patents... but, tell me, are your wrinkles gone yet?

You see, 99.99%  of the time, a product will not have any stupefying effect on your skin- and yet, stupid moisturizer can have as much as 478 patents.  What gives?

Allow me to briefly explain the technicalities of patenting.

What can you patent really?   
You cannot patent just anything, silly!  You must have something über-extraordinary like ...
  • A "Miracle" Formula.  If you use whale sperm extract like everybody else, why, you can still patent your formula to contain 1. 2875%  sperm whale while rest of the world use 1.28748%.  And don't be shy about it, miracle worker you!
  • A "Magic" Ingredient.   What? Your sperm extract comes only from atlantic-swimming albino whales?  Extra patent points for you oh pioneering one!
  • An "Innovative" container.   Increase the diameter of your competitor's lipstick case by 0.025mm, change its curve by 0.0025° and round the edges .0018mm more and voila!  Don't see a difference?  Well, numbers don't lie- so advance to GO and collect 500.  Your "innovative" case is now patent worthy. 
  • A "Special" Delivery System.  So, you think my mascara wand looks like any other?    Well, mine has exactly 207 hair filaments which are 3cm long twisted 8.5 times with a torque of 500joules in a .02mm wire*.  Who is special now?
    *I might not be making sense here, forgot most my engineering studies you see.
  • A "Pioneering" Idea.  Hmm, seems to me that none of my competitors has thought of patenting this idea we all are using.  Well let me do it for them then and sue the ass of everybody else!  (See this post for more juicy details on this one.)
Ok.  But let us say for example that I have this stupid moisturizer that doesn't do shit, really. (Heehee!  Don't they all?)

And what if  I have a technically-challenged marketing bitch (who also goes by the "original" name of "marketing guru" or "marketing ninja") that couldn't be bothered to get into the nitty-gritty of patenting.  What then?

Meet  "Pestering Patent's" worthy sidekick- "Trademark, the Traitor"

Instead of calling my cream a "stupid moisturizer"*, we shall now call it the  Pro-ultraelectropixellizedhyaluruminizingpieceofmiracleXTM,  give it a snazzy logo and a "scientific" illustration of silver hexagons and double helixes and  trademark the damn thing.
* Marketing gurus and ninjas never (and i mean ever) call them "stupid moisturizers" as we have been properly indoctrinated to believe in our own shit.
You know, something like this-

For your reading pleasure, I have included here fine examples of "stupid moisturizers" other aliases.

See all these fancy products below?  They all answer to one generic name....

--- stupid moisturizer.

Now, why patent if there is nothing innovative after all?

I think you all know the answer.  But here is a clue anyway.

Patent is Still Pending yet Money's Already Coming

And you know what else is so beautiful?  The patent pending claim.  Absolute genius!

You see, after I have filed for my patents, (for a very small price, mind you) and way even before it is proven or accepted (can take a few months to a few decades) - why, I can already advertise that I have a patent pending application and give you all the illusion that I have the fountain of youth in my hands.

A concrete example- remember this product?

When it was first launched, it claimed to have been the result of 10 (or 20- but 10 bullshit year difference doesn't  matter really) years of research and 20 pending patents (or a stupid number like that).

Years hence, where are 'em patents now?

Maybe this article will give you a clue as to what becomes of disapproved/expired patent applications.

But disapproved or not, doesn't really matter.

What's important is - that I was able to launch with a big bang, made a mark on you dear consumers with an illusion of a miracle who in turn gave the Council of the Clueless enough money to wipe their arses with.

And to this I have those sneaky little bastards, patents and trademarks to thank for!


  1. It;s so nice to have you back Rowena! I'm one of your biggest fan from India! The skincare industry here profits so much by promising 'fairer' skin. (Most Indians are crazy after pale skin)...And the cosmetic industry is MADE of bullshit it seems!

    1. Thank you Tejal! Oh and now that you have said that, i will contemplate a post on whitening products just for you!

    2. Another thing I love about you! You reply to every comment! How many bloggers do that!
      If you do that post, it'll be great. Some cousins of mine are really into them, and I'm like what's wrong with tanned skin!!
      Btw, just saw an ad for Pond's 'GenWhite"..apparently it adjusts your genes to be fair or something...that is bullshit of EPIC proportions!!

    3. Oh, it is my pleasure really!
      I agree with you, i love my natural color as well and wouldn't have it any other way. But as for most- the grass is always greener at the other side of the border and our sisters across continents would like to have bronzed skin to their fair complexion so I suppose we all are in this together:-)
      That Pond's claim is a BIG LIE! Send me a link to their ad and I will have them arrested by the bullshit police here.

  2. this holds so true!!! pending patents are ultimate labels in the course of cosmetics...and, your points on miracle products was amazing :D

    1. Hi Swati Murti! True that! Hope that if there are any of my posts that would spread, it would be this one, as I have seen enough patent bullshit in my days. Enough is enough!

  3. That was a very enjoyable and interesting post! :) (I'll watch my parent company's patents with another eye now!)

    1. Thank you! I am glad that this finds a practical use for you!

  4. Since I'm deep in my (and other people's) exams, I'm keeping commenting short: <3 .

    1. Hi Ana! You taking the time for event a short comment of appreciaton is greatly appreciated!

  5. Wow I love when you dis L'ucifer!!! Cracks me up everytime!! I am so happy you are making me smile again! I love how you truly cut thru the crap that is the makeup/skincare industry! I just love you and your blog! Keep it up!

    1. Hi Fingers! Because L'Ucifer makes it sooooo easy! Haha!
      I am actually beginning to enjoy blogging again and will do real bullshit free product reviews. Thank you for sticking it out with me!

  6. Brilliant and true. Down with L'Uciferian BS! Though some of the names are so pretty, and then there's more lovely words in the marketeering ...

    1. Hi Gingerrama!
      I know, I am as well a sucker for pretty. But be strong, there must be a point when we say, hey! that BS is already insulting my intelligence, oh, the perils of being a woman.

  7. Dear Rowena, i would PAY to read this blog. A monthly fee. Well-written and entertaining. My favourite post by you was your Rowenaism on learning. Also the other Rowenaism about making the day of your mother better. You take a long time in between posts, but it is worth the wait for the quality that other blogs lack.

    1. Hello Unknown one!
      Funny, but I have this strong suspicion you are one of my male readers, blame this profiling on watching too much criminal minds.
      Heehee, do not give me these ideas, other readers might not like you if i actually did. I also notice my writing is evolving. For better or worse i don't know. But I know it is not to suck up to advertisers or to get more readership, so i suppose that already is a difference over other blogs. I hope you stick around!

    2. Actually a 21-year old Pakistani expat housewife! But speaking of male readers my bro read your blog from the beginning to this one, on my rec. He was chuckling throughout. You have another fan.

    3. Oh! haha- note to self, a career in behavioural analysis is not for me.
      I seem to have a number of fans your part of the world, i really should get my arse to writing that bullshit whitening article soon.
      Kudos as well to your brother then! May i interest him in being my fan#900? Heehee!

  8. Poetry...that was lovely Rowena!


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