Patent for chisel to cut groove in rock

I use several colorants in my lipstick and lipbalm such as Zinc Oxide for the white color. There are several manufacturers of Zinc Oxide using different processes; one of the goals of processing is to remove toxic heavy metals. Heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury are natural, but that’s not what the ‘natural living’ movement is aspiring toward, and there are FDA guidelines on the books today that limit the presence of heavy metals in cosmetics. I digress.

The issue of Zinc Oxide has been a topic of discussion on some of the online cosmetic manufacturing boards that I frequent and the issue of Zinc Oxide for sunblock has also entered the discussions. Some of the formulators have mentioned that BASF has a patent on Zinc Oxide being used for spf and also that BASF will come after any company claiming spf from Zinc Oxide that doesn’t use their Zinc Oxide in the formulation.

BASF has a patent on Zinc Oxide being used for sunscreen? How could that be, it’s been used for decades for that purpose! Sure enough, right there in the abstract is a definition of the sizes of particles which cover most of the cosmetic forms of Zinc Oxide.

For added interest, here is the last sentence of the abstract: “The particulate materials described above are preferable dispersed into an emulsion to facilitate their application onto the surface of the user’s skin. The invention further comprises cosmetic formulations having incorporated therein the particulate sunblock agents described above.”

I find it interesting that BASF was awarded a US Patent for ‘inventing’ an ingredient that’s been used in cosmetic and pharmacy compounds for decades. Will they try to get a patent for water as a hydrating agent next? As my darling husband summed this patent up with an eloquent analogy: “that’s kinda like getting a patent for any chisel that carves a groove in a rock.”

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