Identifying the Problem
When Anna Birkas first came to Lamon Patent Services with her idea, I was a bit hesitant. Her idea was a bit radical and I was not sure she had a viable product that had a good chance of being successful. The first step in evaluating an invention for a patent is identifying the problem that is being solved.
Why do women wear pants with a front zipper fly that was not made for women, nor is very useful for women? Women are at a disadvantage when engaging in outdoor activities like climbing and hiking, competing in jobs in the field with men including environmental, forestation, hydrology, fishing, etc. Women need an option for relieving themselves outdoors (or other fun activities) where discreet access to genitalia is required, without having to completely expose their backsides. It actually is a matter of equality.
Invention and Patent
Anna has designed a novel fly specifically for women and came to my office one day with a prototype of the Chickfly. She put a pair of high-waisted yoga-type pants on and demonstrated how they worked. I quickly realized she really had something novel and valuable. I took disclosure, received the pattern from her seamstress and we wrote and filed a non-provisional utility patent application. For some products, searches are necessary to determine if the invention is already in the public domain, but some inventions are radically new and a search is not necessary, as was the case for Chickfly.
About a year later, an examiner at the USPTO examined our application, and we realized a patent was going to be issued. During this time, Anna developed some additional types of clothing using the Chickfly, like overalls and more durable pants. Before the first application issued to Patent, we filed a Continuation-in-Part (CIP) which is another patent application, but a “child” of the first application. That application was issued, as well, so now there is a patent family.
Anna had some choices at this stage, manufacture and sell herself, sell the invention outright or license it to other manufacturers. Anna decided to keep control of the brand and manufacturing and founded ChickFlyTM https://chickfly.com. She posted a Kickstarter https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/chickfly/chickfly with a 20k goal. She received 148.5k! Anna’s marketing strategy included product delivery for pledges on the Kickstarter, which worked beautifully. She found a semi-local manufacturer, spent some time and money locating the perfect eco-friendly material, invested in some marketing and is doing incredible. Anna Birkas is an amazing entrepreneur that truly believes in herself, her product and her process. She knows what she can do herself and when she needs help. We, at Lamon Patent Services, look forward to watching her company grow, good job Anna!