Are Phthalates on the Anti Patent List: One Florida Patent Attorney’s Opinion
(Time online, February 4, 2008) I’ve heard tell of studies decrying the use of phthalates in the plastic containers which hold our food and health and beauty aids. As a Florida Patent Attorney, I was interested to see that Time magazine covered a recent study on the presence of phthalates in baby urine, based on the use of certain mass market baby care shampoos, powders, and lotions.
Phthalates are chemicals that allow plastics to be flexible and stabilize the fragrances in many common shampoos, soaps, and other body care products. This small-scale study of 163 babies indicated that phthalates were present in the urine of babies whose parents had used products that contained them. However, whether phthalates are harmful is yet unproven.
Nevertheless, I wonder if we’ll start to see less of particular brands of baby products on the shelves here in Florida. Patent Attorneys, moreover, tend to be less concerned with reality and more concerned with perception. If news of the phthalates reach "critical mass" you can be sure there will be a consumer backlash.
And, herein lie opportunities for patents that cover alternatives to phthalates. I’ll be combing the news to see if anyone comes up with an idea in this area. If you think of one and want to patent it, I’m here, as always.