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information about the characters allows the consumer to identify with them easily. At least, this is Angie’s strategy. She wonders, “Does the inclusion of the characters and activities provide YOYO Lip Gloss with a real and lasting advantage? Will this help increase the sale of YOYO Lip Gloss to the target market?”

YOYO Lip Gloss is an innovative product protected by intellectual property rights that pertain to the use of the product and its brand name. Existing lip gloss has been transformed; it is now a convenient fashion accessory that can be attached to belts, key chains, necklaces, bracelets, and cell phones. The transformation of lip gloss was also aided by the use of different colors, flavors, and customer kits. Angie intends to revolutionize the product.

Still she ponders, “Will the target market be receptive to the YOYO Lip Gloss concept? And when the product hits the market will YOYO Lip Gloss gain enough market share to survive and achieve profitability?”

CUTTING THE RED TAPE With her creative concept underway, Angie needed to protect her ideas and future product. She realized that she would have to file for a U.S. and foreign (PCT) patent. She knew the efforts required since she helped her previous employer with patents for his inventions. Angie started her search through the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office where there are databases of existing patents. She soon realized that this was a tedious task, especially since many images functioned improperly and took long to download. To facilitate her search, Angie purchased a program called Patent Hunter. This program, which costs approximately $90, allows an individual to search U.S. and foreign patents with the use of keywords, patent numbers, and patent authors. The search will reveal a list of patent titles, which an individual can quickly and easily download in a PDF document for review. Angie says that this program is “worth every penny.”

After significant research, Angie determined that her patent was not within these documents. Because lip gloss is an established product and the retractable device concept already exists, Angie knew she had to file a utility patent, which is issued to the function of an invention (not its


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