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Posts about patents.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018 19:12

What Are Design Patents

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Design patents are an integral part of the intellectual property strategy of many watch companies. And design patents are exactly what they sound like: patents on the design of an object.

Typical patents, called "Utility Patents" in the business, protect only the useful, or functional, elements of a product. So, for many brands like Rolex, Omega, and Lange, they file patents on their innovations in the materials that make their cases, their co-axial escapements, or new and wondrous complications. 

But a large number of watch companies don't innovate in technology. They innovate in design and use off-the-shelf movements. 

Companies like Baume & Mercier have their entire patent portfolios (near as I can tell) dedicated to design patents: over a dozen design patents in the US dedicated to the design of watches, watch faces, and watch parts.

Design patents only last 14 years from the date the design patent is granted, and only protect the look of the item, not the way it works.

Saturday, 07 July 2018 01:01

Blancpain's Day-Night-Moonphase Complication

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Company: Blancpain

Status: Patent Application (allowed in US 5/7/18, patent to issue), pending elsewhere in Europe and the world as of publication.

Description: This is such a clever idea. The basic concept is to  take the relatively mundane day-night complication and make it really special, by having the moon in the day-night complication also display the phase of the moon. 

The patent application discloses a couple of different gearings to make the mechanism work, but requires that the moon phase be part of the day-night, and that the aperture for the moon phase be off center, as it naturally would be.

What it means: This would allow Blancpain the exclusive right to manufacture, import, sell, or license this dual complication in any country where they are granted the patent. Blancpain would have that exclusive right until July 4, 2036, as long as they continue to pay regular fees to maintain the patent. They do not have to make watches with this complication, but they really should. It's very cool. 

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