When it comes to the battle of the physical aging process, procuring a cup of youth-promising Ambrosia from Hebe, the Greek Goddess of Eternal Youth, may no longer be a myth; however, you may not have to drink it. A brief glance at any recent magazine or television cosmetic advertisement professing that its product can “age-reverse your skin” or “turn back time, and erase wrinkles” is testimony that these days we live in a youth-obsessed culture. Women, in particular baby boomers, (i.e., “the generation of people born between 1946 – 1964” according to the U.S. Census Bureau) are becoming the primary consumer. The marketing and advertising campaigns of cosmetic companies are by no means ignorant of this fact. A simple trip to any corner grocery store, supermarket, drug store, or high-end department store’s skin care aisle may become a very revealing experiment, especially when you start reading the labels of these anti-aging skin care products. Bearing the importance of labeling in mind, many words can be used to describe a cosmetic skin care product, but “patented” is not one of them. Any product claiming that that it is “patented” must indeed have been granted either a U.S. or other international patent on a combination of ingredients, making it illegal to copy the formulation. For guidance on what exactly qualifies for a utility patent formula, the United States Patent and Trademark Office provides guidelines on their website:
Many companies spend years and a massive amount of funding for research and development studying the various ways to bottle youth. Therefore, patenting a formula can be the best way to protect this investment in a very competitive market, especially if and when it works. In fact, because of the careful examination process for obtaining a patent in the U.S. and elsewhere, being granted a patent on a skin care formula for anti-aging may just add to the legitimacy of a product in a market flooded with so many crèmes and lotions claiming to make one youthful again.
In the meantime, if you are curious the next time you go down the skincare aisle, take a look at the label of a few of the competing face crèmes claiming the secret to youth. If it says “patented”, “patented formula,” or even has a U.S. Patent Number on the labeling, you can search for the patent. The issued patent will give you a complete view of just what this concoction is and how it was made. It may not be the Ambrosia promised by the Goddess of Eternal Youth, but you may find it a close enough alternative due to its originality.