You've been there... trying to get your swollen foot into your cold and stiff ski boot while your body aches from several days of all-out skiing. While such things were no problem in your twenties and even thirties, age changes the body. Not to mention taking your boots off, which presents a whole new round of issues.

Inventor Frank G. Hauser was tired of trying to use a ski boot horn and had a particular problem with the friction sticking point at the ball of his foot. So he invented a disposable, low friction, breathable bootie made from a think, flexible, low friction plastic sheet material in a generally tubular form. The sheet material included air vents to provide breathability. The figure from his patent application is shown below:

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Unfortunately for Frank, he drew a difficult examiner that liked to reject applications. If you are an inventor and want to see how your examiner ranks compared to the average, check out the data at bigpatentdata.com. Frank's examiner, Jila Mohandesi, tends to force applicants to appeal if they want a patent. While unfair, examiners have great lattitude and there is really nothing an inventor can do to change examiners.

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So Frank's claims were rejected as obvious based on various combinations of references, because even the examiner had to admit no one had ever come up with this idea before. Frank then took up his appeal to the Board and recently was victorious and obtained an allowance on his invention.

Inventors of outdoor sports equipment should know that you can always check for yourself whether you have a notoriously difficult examiner and work with your counsel to make sure you have a good strategy for the eventual appeal if you truly desire to obtain patent protection.

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