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.
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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 ├╝ber-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!

Conned to Blog

Author note:  This post is a writing exercise to get my blogging mojo back.  It is the story of how I got started blogging.  There is no useful practical make up knowledge here, though it is dang scandalous anyway. 

No Bullshit Product Review: MUJI MAKE UP BASE

In my line of work, I   never had to buy my own make up and am even paid to try them.  But since I quit the industry, I have to spend my hard earned money for it.
Even with my insider knowledge, I still occasionally get disappointments from my purchases.  Here is one.

Recently, I bought this Muji Clear Make Up Base.

I chose a clear make up base instead of foundation because:

  1. Foundations look too made-up, even the light coverage ones
  2. Foundations come only in limited number of shades (for the brand's economic reasons).  So chances are, it will be dang difficult to find a perfect match to my skin color
  3. My skin tone darkens or lightens depending on the quantity of my exposure to the sun.  So even if I find a perfect match today, it will not be a perfect match tomorrow.
  4. A clear base helps provide a good layer to hold the rest of my make up well and longer.  I can look my "natural best" without seeming like I have spent much time on myself (and well, I haven't- I only spend 5 minutes max to make my Face Zero)
I chose the MUJI brand because of the ff. reasons:
  • ORIGIN: MUJI is made in Japan.  My experience is good with most Japanese made products and brands as Japan is more stringent with its quality standards compared to FDA of US and that of Europe.
  • PACKAGING: MUJI has decent and yet non-superfluous packaging.   No box but with a sticker seal, and just a one color printing.  This means that more of the cost goes to the product rather than the packaging, ergo, I do not spend unnecesarily to show off.
    As well, they chose a dropper type of delivery system.  This means that there is less chance of product contamination which helps the product stay good longer.

  • NO TECHNOJARGON BULLSHIT: MUJI did not give me any bullshit descriptor- no techno jargon, no vitamin bullshit.  It just claims SPF 15 at the back (SPF15, is nothing impressive.  An SPF claim, though not bullshit, is no reason for me to buy a product).  Of course it could have said some bullshit in Japanese but since I cannot read Japanese, I judged only from what i read.
  • NO ADVERTISING BULLSHIT: It is not promoted by celebrities or expensive advertising.  But it was presented well in the counter.  So I don't give the company money just to blind my judgement by celebrity and/or advertising.
  • GOOD TEXTURE:  I tested the texture in my hand and it was just the right consistency, it is absorbed easily and did not leave a sticky sensation.
  • GOOD PRICE:  I bought this in Asia and paid about 6€ for a 30ml.  
I felt good when i bought the product.  It didn't make any false promises and delivered just what I needed for a fair price.

However, after about 3 months, the formula became runny and its components have separated.  %*#!!!

Now, a little technical backgrounder to explain to you what happened here.

Emulsion 101
 This product is an emulsion.  An emulsion is made of oil and water and as you know, oil and water do not normally mix.  For them to mix, an emulsifying agent is introduced.  
A good formulation which is packaged well (protected from sunlight and contamination) should remain stable for at least 3 years.   
They are tested in the lab for stability by subjecting them to an elevated temperature for a few months.  If the product remains stable (water and oil do not separate) during this time, it is assumed that it will remain stable for at least 3 years in normal climate conditions.*
Sub -note on expiration dates
*BTW, if a formulation is good, it can stay longer than the expiry date states.  Expiry date is  just a legally required guideline.   Learn to judge if a formula is good aside from the expiration date and save yourself money.


So, What happened?
The formula itself is obviously not very stable.   
Though the texture feels good, and the product has passed its  lab stability test, lab tests are just simulations and are never a 100% assurance of a product's long term stability. 
It also did not help that the packaging  is white as it could not have been enough to protect the formula from the sun and heat.  So, the texture is more exposed, more "aggressed" and thus broke down.

If you live in colder country and you can keep your product in a less aggressive environment, then this product might be worth the risk, though there is no guarantee.  

What would I do?
To avoid this formula separation, and if I were Muji, i will :
  • tweak my formulation and subject them to more stringent and longer lab testing
  • go for a darker color packaging
  • I will also refund me for this texture fiasco 
Will I buy this product again? 

Not unless MUJI has changed the formulation and the packaging-  I will not and I do not recommend you to buy it either.  

Nonetheless, I will not discourage you to try the other MUJI products in the range because of the other reasons I had when I bought this product.   BUT,  not because it is MUJI means all products are good- be sure to try the textures that they are satisfactory and hope that they do not break down on you in the long run.

There you go! My first hands-on no bullshit product review.
In the next posts, I will write to give more guidelines in choosing your textures.


DISCLOSURE:

I received no compensation, whether it be in cash or in kind to write this review.
I have no contact with any MUJI company representative  prior to this article- well, except of course for the sales person who assisted me in this sale.