"In my defense... I saw 'Bring It On'..." -Anonymous Board Writer
Question #1249 posted on 11/04/2003 4:02 a.m.

Dear 100 Hour Board,
Why don't the hand dryer companies ever secure their patents? It seems every tiime I dry my hands, they always have one or two patents and other patents pending. Is it really so difficult to obtain a patent that no hand dryer company will ever secure one for all parts of their machine. It can't really be that complex (both the dryer and the patent process), can it?
- User of oft changing pseudonyms

A: Dear User,
As you pointed out, many of these hand dryers are already patented. The companies however, are constantly changing little parts, and making improvements to stay on the cutting edge. In a business such as this one, involving mechanical parts, and electrical wiring, it does take a while to establish that a certain product is new, and therefore patentable (I hope that's a word). It's not like a name or something where it's very easy to tell whether or not it's already in use. This is why many of the patents are still pending.