It has been a while since I have seen an issued patent that made me want to jump out of my skin, but earlier today as I was sitting at my desk working, the patent search firm I use — Walsh IP — contacted me with a truly bizarre patent that they stumbled across.
Take a look at U.S. Patent No. 8,240,155, which relates to a method of presenting beer. Actually, the invention is a method for serving beer from a font and includes chilling a beer glass and then dispensing the beer into the glass to create a head of foam on the beer.
Claim 1 of this actually issued patent recites:
1. A method for serving beer from a font, comprising the steps of: chilling a container for beer to a temperature of at least -5° C.; and, filling the container with the beer from the font, the beer being delivered from the font at a temperature above the freezing point of water for creating a drink having a head of foam and crystals of frozen beer formed below the head of foam after filling of the container with the beer.
What is worse is that this patent application was allowed without ever going to final rejection. The applicant filed, made some minor amendments to certain claims and then the patent examiner relented and issued the patent. This is absolutely insulting and really should be investigated. The Patent Office is issuing patents on a method of pouring cold beer into a cold glass while they bury certain software innovations under a sea of unrelenting rejections.
Did you know that there is clothing available to assist jails, mental hospitals and others with the prevention of suicide? Special protective wear has been issued to inmates and patients with suicidal tendencies for years. As a matter of fact, you can go online and see a variety of items that are available for facilities that might need them — much of which is made out of a very uncomfortable, yet strong nylon shell that is held together with nylon thread. However, that type of material can be quite rough on the skin and quite irritating to the wearer in the long run.
For example, isolation/safety smocks are often used in prisons and/or mental health settings, and these smocks (which are sleeveless and one piece) are typically made from a tear-resistant nylon or polyester so that it can’t be used to make a noose. The material chosen for the smocks is generally selected because of its strength and durability — not for its comfort, and when these items are worn over an extended period of time, the discomfort to the wearer can be such that it causes the already fragile-minded individual a great deal of irritation and aggravation, further compromising that person’s mental stability.
So what can be done to make anti-suicide clothing more comfortable for wearers, yet remain just as effective in preventing suicides? Inventors Robert Schilling and Ayla Tasezen, the inventors listed on U.S. Patent No. 8,375,466, believe that they have come up with the perfect solution.
Valentine’s Day is again upon us, a day for lovers to express their undying affection for one another by giving gifts of chocolates, flowers, and love coupons. It’s also a day for inventors to strap on their thinking caps and come up with new ways to bring a little more love into the world. For your inspiration, here are 10 fun patents and applications for the lover in all of us. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Alexander Graham Bell’s Improved Telegraphy patent is not particularly romantic, but for the fact that it happened to be filed on Valentine’s Day 1876. With a coincidence, it’s easy to jump into a bit of musing about early love messages sent via Morse code: – . .- — —
The early 20th Century’s Men of Science believed that along with the smashing of the atom and the triumph over engine knock (with leaded gasoline), all the universe’s mysteries might one day be solved. Even the Mysteries of Love. This is a design patent for the face of a love tester machine. Just one penny and you could get reliable data about the “Measure of Your Sex Appeal.”
Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. In fact it is only one week away, so if you don’t already have any plans in the works consider this a warning shot across the bow!
There is a lot riding on the proper selection of gift on Valentine’s Day. If you pick a gift like a kitchen gadget, no matter how cool, even if it is a counter-top paper towel holder on wheels or a bagel slicer shaped like a bagel (see Successful Inventions) you should anticipate sleeping on the couch or in the dog house or on the couch in the dog house!
With this in mind we thought we might point to a couple tried and true holiday gifts that are sure to win the heart of your significant other, or at least insure that you don’t wind up with an awful lot of explaining to do.
Of course, upon identifying the proper category of gift we then turn to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to find patent references to help further explore. And who said patents can’t be fun?
Do cats need pants? Do horses need goggles? Pet clothes and accessories symbolize the close relationship we have with animals. We want to make our pets as “comfortable” as we are. We want to make them as fashionable as we are – or as fashionable as we perceive ourselves. To these ends, hardworking inventors have been striving for new ways to make pets and animals happier and more stylish. Some of their inventions have utility, and some are just about looking cool. Here are a few.
An early entrant, not so much for a pet, is H.W. Rieck’s “Goat Coat.” Observing that “tender, high strung, and nervous” Angora goats might be happier if they could wear a nice coat after their twice-yearly shearings. Rieck set forth to invent a “Goat Coat” that might protect them from the “inclemencies of the weather.” That’s very kind. And it rhymes!
Every year we all gather around and celebrate the new year. So that got us to thinking — what patents are there for devices that any self respecting raucous reveler ought to have on New Years Eve? As you might imagine, we found a few that seem appropriate to the occasion, proving that patented innovations are not only fun but they are everywhere!
Here is hoping that your night is safe and magical! Happy new year! See you in 2013!
This invention is a molded tethered safety closure device for use on bottles containing pressurized liquids such as champagne or sparkling wines comprising a cork or closure element and a retainer collar joined by an intercoupling section.
The problem this invention is intending to solve is explained in the patent: “The problem of premature or inadvertent explosive release of champagne corks is exacerbated by the fact that many lower priced champagnes and sparkling wines are closed by molded plastic corks.” You have to hate those problematic premature, inadvertent explosive releases! Particularly on a festive occasion like New Years Eve!
Lounge chair and cooler combination, US Patent No. 7,475,889
It is still extraordinarily hot throughout most of the United States today. Some relief is on the horizon for tomorrow, at least for the greater Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area, with even more relief next week. After getting up early to go for a long walk with my 5 pound weights in each hand (yes, trying to lose weight) and it was 88 degrees first thing in the morning I knew I had to return to the topic of cool or cold inventions.
Alright… alright… I know I’m a geek, a nerd and extremely corny! But after the article from yesterday about Cool Wearable Innovations, I couldn’t resist writing an article titled “Cooler Innovation.” That double entendre lured me into its clutches. You see, these are “cooler” innovations because they all relate to the field of keeping perishable items and beverages cool, not because they are “cooler” in a hip sort of way.
The idea for the article initially came to me yesterday when I was searching for “cool” or “cold” inventions that will help keep people comfortable during the extreme heat we are facing in the United States. I realized after a while I was leaning toward wearable innovations, but the personal air conditioning system (U.S. Patent No. 7,246,505) made the cut. It was the only one that was not wearable, at which point the double entendre first occurred to me. Yes, I crack myself up… you know in that not funny at all patent attorney kind of way!
Chicago has set a new record with the third straight day of 100+ degree heat. Temperatures in Illinois are expected to hit as high as 104 degrees before relief finally arrives on Sunday. Washington, DC hit 100 degrees today, and is expected to be even hotter on Saturday, with Baltimore, Richmond and Philadelphia all expecting 100+ degrees for Saturday. See Bloomberg. The DC area has also had its ninth straight day has had heat in excess of 95 degrees. Indeed, it is fair to say that the eastern half of the United States is experiencing prolonged heat like few can ever remember.
With that in mind I thought it might be an interesting time to take a look at some of the innovations that attempts to beat summer heat have lead to over the years. The theme here is wearable coolness.
So sit right back in your chair, hopefully in a heavily air conditioned office or home, and get in touch with your inner inventor. These individuals came up with something patentable, and necessity is certainly the mother of innovation. Admittedly, some are more practical than others, but who knows, perhaps this prolonged heat agony will lead to a who new crop of gadgets associated with keeping one cool and refreshed during the dog days of summer.
From U.S. Patent No. 737,371 for a Jack-O'-Lantern Helmet.
When it comes to patentability, safety is not necessarily a major factor in the equation. The Patent Office only cares if an invention is sufficiently inventive. Whether or not it’s safe is a superfluous question. Common sense, the market, and trial lawyers can make sure the products on our store shelves are sufficiently safe.
And yet I’m always amazed at how cavalier inventors can be about the safety of their inventions — especially inventors from the past. For example, most patents for cradles from the 1800s could have been more aptly titled “System and Method for Killing a Baby Through Violent Shaking.” Pretty much any factory machine, farm implement or laundry wringer patent, for that matter, was just as likely to pull off a hand as serve its intended purposes.
Take old inventions using fire. Until relatively recently, geologically speaking, fire was humanity’s one “system and method” for heating or lighting things up. Fire has been our constant companion since our ancestors emerged from the paleolithic era and decided to go everywhere. The only problem with fire is that it can burn things other than the thing you want to burn…like you!
Did you know that since President George H. W. Bush started the tradition of pardoning turkeys in 1989 there have been 24 turkeys to receive Presidential Pardons, sparing them from the dinner table? Somewhat ironically, that first turkey to receive a Presidential Pardon was sent to Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia. In any event, the latest two turkeys to receive a Pardon were Peace and Liberty, both who received a pardon by President Barack Obama in a ceremony held on the North Portico of the White House.
But was President George H. W. Bush the first to pardon a turkey? According to the definitive history of turkey pardons on the White House blog, the answer is technically yes but not really yes. While there are rumors that President Lincoln issued the first pardon at the behest of his son, it is known that in 1963 President Kennedy returned the turkey sent to the White House saying: “We’ll just let this one grow.” Perhaps not exactly a pardon, but the turkey was spared the death penalty.