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Florida Patent Application Pending on Hurricane Help Network

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The Sun-Herald reports that southwest Florida entrepeneurs are launching a hurricane self-help network, prompted by the last two hurricane seasons and the government’s limited ability to provide relief.


The pair of Entrepeneurs, Kelly Sedgewick and Melanie DeStout, have started marketing a private-sector initiative to lessen the impact during storm evacuations.


The business is called Hurricane Buddy LLC, an internet-based “matchmaking” company that attempts to pair storm evacuees with hosts in safe areas. Participants are initially asked to register on the company’s website, www.hurricanebuddy.com, answer a detailed questionnaire, and pay the annual $79.95 registration fee.


DeStout and Sedgewick sought patent protection for their business in 2005. After seaching public records to determine that the concept was apparently unique, they decided to patent the Hurricane Buddy business method.


Although patenting business practices is a relatively novel concept, the inventor’s feel that the Hurricane Buddy will likely be approved. The process may take another two to three years or even longer, as typically business method patents take longer than mechanical device patent protection.


Since the Hurricane Buddy patent has been on file for nearly 18 months with the United States Patent & Trademark Office, it will soon become public record, placing other individuals wanting to patent similar ideas on notice that they could be infringing on an existing patent should it be granted.


The company is also in the process of obtaining trademark protection for the mark Hurricane Buddy.

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