Homebuilders hit by patent claim on frame-drying

by Walter Olson on May 6, 2014

“Hundreds of home builders in the Pacific Northwest have been put on notice that if they use a dehumidifier to dry rain-damaged projects, they are infringing on a patent recently issued to a father and son who claim they invented the process.” [Legal NewsLine] (& Coyote)


1 Shtetl G 05.06.14 at 2:50 pm

Genius. I’m going to patent the process of putting a dehumidifier in a musty basement. Why stop at home builders? Mwahaah Haaaa Haaaa (evil laugh).

2 ras 05.06.14 at 4:43 pm

Just remember, if you open a window cuz it’s a little stuffy, well, that one’s mine. There’s a reason they call me Mr. Non-Obvious!

3 Mannie 05.06.14 at 6:03 pm

This is the identical process being used by legions of water remediation firms coast to coast. This is how you dry out a house. Everyone from ServiceMaster to “Mom-and-Pop-Dry” would be effected by this.

Dehumidifiers and air movers have certainly been used for structural drying, long before 2003. That’s what those big industrial sized dehus and air movers were designed and sold for. Absolutely prior art, and damnear ubiquitous.

4 peter 05.07.14 at 5:08 am

To be fair they never said they invented the process, they just patented it cos no one else had. It’s not important that it is obvious or even been done millions of times before, is it? After all that’s how the patent office works.

5 Bumper 05.07.14 at 11:13 am

My understanding of a patent is that it has to be an invention and you can’t take prior art (something that has or is already being done by others) and call it your invention.

If that is correct, then all I can say is that ten years ago, when our A/C drain backed up and flooded the house while we were on vacation, our insurance company hired a guy who brought in a couple of industrial strength dehumidifiers to dry out our house and he didn’t look like he was the first one to have this idea.

I think this comes under the heading of “let’s run it up the flag pole and see if anybody salutes it” instead of sue first and ask questions later. If anything this case points out dysfunctional the patent office has become, grant the patent and let the courts sort it out.

6 wfjag 05.07.14 at 1:19 pm

Does the patent cover blow dryers and dry wit?

7 Richard Nieporent 05.07.14 at 1:21 pm

The process that is patented is comprised of the following steps:
-Measuring moisture content using a moisture meter at locations within the space;
-Determining whether the moisture content meets a threshold indication recommending that drying be performed;
-Positioning within the space at least one drying device (dehumidifier, space heater or air moving device) for the purpose of reducing the moisture level; and
-Sealing the space being treated with a vapor barrier.

Why would any patent examiner grant a patent for this process? However, if one can patent the use of a dehumidifier to dehumidify, why not take advantage of the fact that we have incompetent patent examiners. Thus, I’ve decided to patent the following process.

• Get a pot (small, medium or large).
• Fill it with water.
• Put the pot on top of a heat source (gas, electric, wood).
• Wait until bubbles form in the pot.
• Place food (pasta, egg, vegetable, etc.) in the pot and cook until done.

Now everyone will have to pay me royalties if they want to cook dinner.

8 Robert 05.07.14 at 1:52 pm

I went and read the original patent; very often there’s more to the patent than is summarized in the news. It’s US8567688


However, the claims specifically say that you have to place a moisture barrier in the area to be dried “substantially sealing it” and

“measuring moisture content using a moisture meter at a plurality of locations within the space, wherein said plurality of locations include low and high locations of a plurality of exposed wall studs;”

So if you only measure moisture at one location, you may not be infringing on the IP., etc.

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