I usually try and watch the weekly episode of Shark Tank. During the intros, I notice that Lori is touted as being the inventor of over 100 patents. That is quite a feat, one that very few inventors obtain. With all that she has going on, I really doubted these claims. So, I did a little digging.
First, her web site actually claims she is the inventor of 120 patents. They do add a qualifier that this includes both US and international patents. This is kind of cheating because it is a form of double counting. Because patents are country specific, you need to file the same patent application in every country that you want a patent. So, if you come up with an invention and file an application in the US, you still need to file the same application in, say, Germany, Japan and Brazil if you want patent protection there. But, you really can’t say you’ve come up with four inventions just because you’ve filed in four countries. It is really just one patent.
I then did a search to see how many US patents she holds. For PTO web site reports 88, far fewer than the 120 she claims on her web site. But even more revealing is that nearly all of these are design patents. There is a vast difference between being an inventor of a design patent and a utility patent. Virtually anyone can be the inventor of a design. You just throw a shape onto a piece of paper and you’ve invented a new design. Kindergartners do this every day. So it is really deceiving to say you’re an inventor on 88 patents without making the qualification that most of them are design patents on ideas like a cosmetic holder, a handle or a swivel handle.
About the only conclusion you can come to is that Lori spends a lot of money on patents. Her legal fees have to be in the hundreds of thousands. But if it gets her millions in new business, I guess this marketing strategy is worth it. But, in my opinion, that’s about all it is–a very expensive way to tout yourself as a prolific inventor.