By Michelle Smith-Exclusive to Tungsten Investing News If you have a tungsten carbide ring, you may own stolen goods. This is not to say you didn't pay the asking price, but, there is a real possibility that
whoever sold the ring didn't pay dues to Trent West. There is an even greater chance that whoever made the ring did so using West's designs. Mr. West holds nine patents for tungsten carbide rings and his lawyer, Edward King of King & Kelleher, LLP, says there's another in the works that could be issued any day now. It may seem shocking that someone could patent an idea as ancient and common as a ring. Mr. West did so because he invented a method of converting one of the hardest metals into shiny bands of jewelry, something he insisted had never been done. “There were absolutely no tungsten carbide rings before I made them,” he declared, “unless it was something made for an industrial purpose." The idea was born when West, already a jeweler, saw a watch made of tungsten carbide. He identified an opportunity in the market and acted on it. West trademarked two brands, TREW TUNGSTEN ® and PERMANENTLY POLISHED ® and was very successful in selling his rings. But these days, instead of being busy with production and expansion, he is largely focused on lawsuits against those who infringe upon his patents. King said there are other methods of making this jewelry (besides those developed by West), but they're expensive. Trent patented the only commercially viable way of making tungsten carbide rings. Given that fact, West and his lawyer believe that everything currently on the market infringes one or more of West's ring patents, which cover technical details spanning from tungsten carbide content to the insertion of stones and softer metals.