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Improved Human Slingshot Machine

Written by Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Principal Lecturer, PLI Patent Bar Review Course
Posted: January 30, 2008 @ 9:45 am

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 Amusement device
US Patent No. 6,497,623
Issued December 24, 2002

Those of you who are familiar with patent law may think you recognize this invention.  Virtually everyone who is a wacky patent fan has probably seen the Human slingshot machine, which is US Patent No. 5,421,783, which issued on June 6, 1995.  This invention is certainly similar, but this is an improved human slingshot machine.  It would seem that previous attempts at such slingshot machines have deficiencies.  Imagine that!

One of the deficiencies in the prior art is that previously existing human slingshot machines have a tendency for the rubber strands to deteriorate, which I think we can all agree is certainly not a good thing.  So perhaps this is a substantial improvement in human projectile innovation! 

One thing that did particularly catch my attention is that the patent itself explains: “The invention relates to an amusement device . . . used to successively propel and retard a rider to cause the rider to undergo a vertically oscillatory motion.”  Propel and retard a rider?  Perhaps the propel part is fun and amusing, but the retard part sounds both destructive and prophetic, not to mention just a tad bit politically incorrect.  Perhaps the phrase “retard the rider” was choosen on purpose as being descriptive, but an interesting and questionable choice nonetheless.

Patent applications can and do certainly say rather bizarre things.

About the Author

Eugene R. Quinn, Jr.
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
US Patent Attorney (Reg. No. 44,294)

B.S. in Electrical Engineering, Rutgers University
J.D., Franklin Pierce Law Center
L.L.M. in Intellectual Property, Franklin Pierce Law Center

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Gene is a US Patent Attorney, Law Professor and the founder of He teaches patent bar review courses and is a member of the Board of Directors of the United Inventors Association. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN Money and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide

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Posted in: Articles, Museum of Obscure Patents

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.


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  1. […] be patentable? Absolutely! And so can human amusement devices and games as well.  For example see Improved human slingshot machine and Patenting Board Games […]