Saturday, June 18, 2016

Oh, patents! Vuitton fountain pen

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The metal nib dip pen became connected to an ink reservoir circa 1867. This transformed nib dip pens into fountain pens, as the connection to an ink reservoir provided ink flow to the nib, in such a way that writers no longer had to dip into ink with their nibbed pens.

Louis Vuitton’s US patent application US2015298487, titled Fountain pen, was filed on Oct. 22 2015!  That's150 years later! What more could possibly be patented in regards fountain pens?

It turns out that fountain pens tend to leak either under conditions of increased air-pressure during travel in a plane or under conditions of increased heat when a pen is used and the user transfers body heat to the pen. So, the issue of leaking fountain pens remains unresolved, despite several ingenious solutions of the prior art.  

Some fountain pens, for example, are manufactured with a cap that cooperates with the ink-flow valve, so that when the cap covers the nib, it effectively closes off the flow of ink to the nib. 

However, this solution does not resolve the issue of leaking ink when the cap is not covering the pen.  Otherwise, the  leak-proof cap mechanism tends to be obstructive to the flow of ink. So, there is a definite issue that still needs to be addressed.

Extracted from US2015298487
The Louis Vuitton patent application, US2015298487, titled Fountain pen addresses these specific leak prevention issues of the prior art, specifically offering a patented solution that will work regardless of pressure and heat conditions, with the cap on or off, and that additionally does not obstruct the flow of ink. The patented solution consists of a striker (un percuteur in French).

The striker, located at the junction between ink-flow valve and  inner reservoir of ink, functions to further regulate the flow of ink to the nib and to prevent leaking.  It comprises a stepped tubular tongue with a diameter that is smaller than the ink cartridge. 

The  striker cooperating with the ink-cartridge thus operates independently from the pen cap cooperating with the ink valve, and consequently affords extra leak protection,

Below the abstract for US2015298487titled Fountain pen. Above, the patent figure drawing of the fountain pen and below a patent figure drawing of the striker
Extracted from US2015298487
A fountain pen comprising: an elongate hollow body defining an inner chamber designed to receive an ink container; a nib disposed at a first end of the hollow body; and a connection part connecting the inner chamber to the nib and defining an ink flow passage extending along a longitudinal axis, the connection part comprising a valve opening and closing the ink flow passage, designed to selectively open and close the ink flow passage. The connection part comprises a striker interposed between the valve and the inner chamber and designed to engage with the ink container and allow a flow of ink between the ink reservoir and the nib.

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