Intellectual property lawyers are often exposed to fascinating creative ideas and inventions. These ideas can cause excitement and wonder. Helping a project that may become the next big craze and/or might change the world is exhilarating, and one of the great joys of being an intellectual property lawyer. On the other hand, some cases can lead to bewildered head scratching. Yet, a professional knows those cases that seem ‘out there’ are equally worthy of protection, and will work to ensure they receive the best service.
Anything fulfilling the requirements set by regional patent and trademarks offices qualifies for protection, no matter how ‘ridiculous’ it might seem. This is, in fact, an important and essential component of intellectual property law. When we protect even the wildest of ideas, we are also encouraging the spirit of invention and experimentation. Some of the most important inventions can start from a strange place; by protecting that first ‘silly’ idea we allow the creator to continue to pursue their dream.
Even if an idea will not lead to a major invention or it is intentionally ridiculous, there is value in protecting it. Have you ever received a gag gift, something that made me you smile while shaking your head in bewilderment? The creator of that gift has made money from it, and it is in their best interest to protect their property. Otherwise, the market could become flooded with inventions like chattery teeth too soon, and the creator would have no incentive to invent it. Can you imagine a world without chattery teeth?
There is one type of patent that will not be granted protection, at least in the United States: perpetual motion machines, machines designed to function indefinitely without any outside power source. These machines are in fact impossible to create based on the laws of thermodynamics. Yet, the creation of such a machine remains a sort of ‘holy grail’ for many curious inventors. After receiving too many applications, the USPTO decided that it would no longer consider them for patents.
Our Favorite Outrageous Patents
Means and Apparatus for Propelling and Guiding Balloons
In pursuit of human flight, we’ve created quite a few strange devices. Is it a surprise that someone tried to harness flight from birds themselves? This early flight inventor wanted to find something that was lighter than mechanical engines and decided to go with a living engine instead. It’s quite genius!
User-Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User’s Buttocks
This inventor wanted to make the expression ‘kicking myself’ into a reality! The patent is for a complex contraption using cranks, gears, and real leather shoes. The device allows users to kick themselves in the buttocks over and over again. Why is it called an ‘amusement apparatus’? Perhaps it would be amusing to watch someone particularly frustrating use it.
How do you make the smell of a cigarette worse than it already is? Add stinky cheese! Don’t worry, according to this patent, adding charcoal to the filter helps reduce oiliness and prevents the cheese from going rancid. The patent also requires being selective in cheeses. When it comes to smoking your cheeses, you want to go with hard cheeses like Parmesan, and the more aged the better.
Pet Display Clothing
Lizards and guinea pigs might be great pets, but they can be difficult to connect with when they remain in cages. Even when you take one out of the cage, more often than not they will sit still in a state of shock. Pet display clothing was created exactly to solve this problem. The interesting invention incorporates a series of tubes and cages into a wearable vest. This allows wearers to keep their favorite small pet with them wherever they go. It even incorporates design elements customized for your pet!
Clock for Keeping Time at a Rate Other Than Human Time
Perhaps our favorite strange patent, the ‘Clock for Keeping Time at a Rate Other Than Human Time’ sounds like it might be a fascinating invention. Maybe it can give us insight into how time moves forward for other species, right? It’s actually even better than this. The clock is actually a novelty watch for your favorite pet! Now Fido will be able to tell exactly when it is time for a walk and can do so fashionably!
Think Before You Judge an Invention
While the above patents may give you a chuckle, it’s important to respect the passion of their creators. These inventors filed their patent because they felt there was something worth protecting. Professional patent lawyers reserve judgment when encountering a peculiar patent. They won’t ridicule the invention and know everyone deserves full protection for their creations.
If you care about quality and are interested in building your network with your industry counterparts around the globe, click here.