Improved Human Slingshot Machine

By Gene Quinn
January 30, 2008

 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

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and founder of Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and an attorney with Widerman Malek. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of Read more.

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