Section 1 Legality of production and sales

March 16th, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments
WINNERS = Products which are legal to make and sell in all States and Countries.

Before beginning with this program, please print out the score sheet to assist you in scoring and evaluating your product/s.


Ironically, some products are legal to make in the U.S.A. but illegal to sell in many states.  A good example of this is high-powered quartz headlights for cars.

Increased government regulation is the alternative to self-imposed restrictions, when it comes to the public’s needs and safety.  For this reason, it is always to the advantage of a new product developer to stay well within legal statutes and guidelines.  If a product is only marginally legal, you may be better off forgetting about it.

A good source of information on regulations, restrictions, and product standards is the National Bureau of Standards in Washington, D.C. Here are some helpful links they provide for product research.

Commerce Department Legislative Information on the Internet
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Energy Department National Science Foundation (NSF)
Federal Government Executive Branch Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
Federal Government General Information Resources
Federal Register White House
Interagency Group of Scientific and Technical Information Managers (CENDI)
Professional and Standards-Developing Organizations
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) AOAC International
American Association for Aerosol Research (AAAR) Association of Computing Machinery (ACM)
American Ceramic Society (ACerS) Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. (IEEE)
American Chemical Society (ACS) International Code Council (ICC)
American Institute of Physics (AIP) International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
American Mathematical Society (AMS) The International Society for Optical Engineering (SPIE)
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) International Union of Radio Science (URSI)
American Nuclear Society NSF International
American Physical Society (APS) National Conference of Standards Laboratories (NCSL)
American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning
Engineers, Inc. (ASHRAE)
The Open Group
American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Optical Society of America
ASTM International Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM)
American Society for Quality (ASQ) Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers
American Statistical Association (ASA) Society of Nuclear Medicine
AVS Science and Technology Society Underwriters Laboratories
Other Interesting Sites
Government-Industry Data Exchange Program Metrology (GIDEP) National Metrology Laboratories
Government-Industry-University Research Roundtable (GUIRR) National Technology Transfer Center (NTTC)
Industrial Research Institute (IRI) NIST Guest Researcher Association


In addition, federally mandated standards are published in the code of Federal Regulations which is available from the Government printing office.  You can get a copy from: Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.20402, (Or call 202-512-1800).

While the information presented is the product of many years of inventor experience, the suggestions are not intended to substitute for consultation with attorneys and specialists in the relevant subject matter as well as intellectual property protection. I highly recommend my personal Attorney, David Becker of

263 Main Street
Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 295-6400
fax: (530) 295-6408

Besides complying with all federal, state and local laws which apply to the manufacture, sale, and material content of a product, you must also be sure you are not infringing or about to infringe on an existing patent belonging to another individual or company.  This is not always as simple as doing a patent search, because patents, which are pending, may not show up on searches.

Every time you develop a new product, you are taking a gamble that another patent is not about to issue.  Every time you file for a patent, you are taking a gamble that your patent will issue before someone else’s.  Many people are paid top dollar to think of ideas for new products, both in this country and in foreign countries.  Many other creative individuals think of inventions “out of the blue” and file for patents on all types of products, every year, hoping to sell them or license them to companies capable of marketing them. If any of them receive a patent before you do, on the same type of product or technology, at best you may be up against expensive litigation or, you may be forced into an unwanted and costly licensing agreement. IMPORTANT NOTE:  In the U.S. We have rather recently changed from a “first to invent” to a “first to file” Country. One of our upsides is that we have a new tool to help inventors and innovators. The PROVISIONAL patent which allows us file our own patents inexpensively, the minute we think of a new concept. We then have approximately one year in which to convert the provisional into a utility or design patent application (after paying far larger fees), which then goes through the patent office for examination and may or may not be granted. You should search the official U.S. Patent office to see if you can easily find patents already listed before you invest money . . .See the U.S. Patent office at: and you can search by category and several other ways.

At worst, you may be forced to “cease and desist” from making, selling, or practicing the invention which means you lose all rights to manufacture and or sell the product, and lose all monies you have invested in the product. (Your accountant may be able to help you deduct the expenses from your gross income for income tax purposes).

Always be sure to keep the best possible records as you are developing new products to be sure you have the best possible chance of winning a battle with a competitor who may “come out of the wood work” later on.

Before spending a lot of time and money on any idea, always conduct a patent and trademark search.  For more information, see “Section 36 Protection Opportunities”.

There are now new laws on the books which regulate not only what you are legally able to claim about the beneficial traits of your own products in your advertising, but also what you ARE NOT allowed to say about the possible drawbacks for persons using your competitors’ products.  This law is the government’s answer to all of the recent “comparative advertising” which basically touts the best features of your product while making the worst possible comments that could be made about your competitor’s product as in “ours is better because it contains only healthful ingredients, while Brand X contains toxic pollutants”.  Now, companies which believe their brand names have been unfairly tarnished by “attack advertising” have protection under federal law, which covers all states.  Even if your claims are COMPLETELY ACCURATE AND TRUTHFUL, you may still be susceptible to a lawsuit under the new regulations.  In other words, if you said, “Our disinfectant is over 75% active ingredients, but Brand X disinfectant is more than 97% water”, you may be completely accurate, but you may be creating a false impression of worthlessness to the consumer, since the other 3% of the ingredients in the Brand X disinfectant may be very significant.  One issue is what you say; another issue is the message you communicate.  The moral is, keep your advertising truthful and your comparative comments restricted to statements which cannot be construed to be misrepresentative, or you may find yourself with a huge lawsuit on your hands. Again, always have your work reviewed by Counsel before releasing it.

In your search for information regarding whether your product is legal to manufacture, be sure to check with your state legislature, through your local representatives or assemblymen and ask whether there is any PENDING legislation which, if passed, will affect the ability to manufacture or sell your product. You can usually find the names of your representatives in the front section of your local phone directory.

Throughout this evaluation system, you will be given the names of government agencies and other resources to contact for information.  One simple and legal method of keeping your long distance bills to a minimum is to call the agency you need to reach, on their lunch hour, when most people are away from their desks.  Then, leave a message asking for a return call.  Then, when the agency or information resource returns your call, you can talk as long as you want on their dime instead of yours.  After all, your tax dollars are paying for them to help you.

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.
You must be logged in to post a comment.