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!
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!
It is one again time to take pause and try and have a little bit of fun patent style. From time to time I like to profile specific patents, so what better way to kill two birds with one stone than to look for holiday themed patents? OK, maybe not your particular cup of tea, but work with me here and get into the spirit (pun intended).
Today is Halloween, as if you didn’t already know or figure out. Wikipedia explains: “Halloween (or Hallowe’en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o’-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.”
The holiday patent du jour gives us the opportunity to explore the candy collecting aspects of trick-or-treating. More specifically, U.S. Patent No. 7,594,669 is for a portable container having wheels and a handle. What makes it worthy note on Halloween is that the container itself is either a pumpkin, witch, ghost, goblin, monster, vampire or werewolf. And yes, that is required in the broadest claim, claim 1. The pictures in the patent show a jack-o’-lantern version of the invention.
As a patent searcher from time to time in my daily activities I will stumble across a patent that is, shall we say, rather unique. Just in time for the gifting season for Moms and Dads I happened to stumble across a gift suitable for both Mothers Day and Fathers Day. Yes, this gift would kill two birds with one stone, perhaps quite literally.
In keeping with the age-old tradition of inventing by juxtaposition (see, for example, hamburger earmuffs), this highly functional and aesthetically pleasing invention “Cigar Lighter and Perfumery Ejector Combined,” which was patented on August 31, 1886, and combines the lighting of cigars with the dispensing of perfume. So if you’re a cigar and perfume enthusiast on a budget, it’s nice to know you have the option of getting a device that addresses all your cigar-lighting and perfume-spraying needs in one. And as the inventor Henry Munk of Fremont, Ohio points out, you can now put perfume on your cigars “to enhance the odor and consequent value of the cigar.”
It is time once again to profile some patents in honor of the festive day. While many might not consider Valentine’s Day to be a major holiday worth of profiling patents, allow me to suggest that you test the theory by failing to acknowledge the amorous sentiment of the day and see just exactly how much of a major holiday your significant other considers it to be! Not that I would suggest giving heart shaped pepperoni slices to the love of your life (yes, patented, see below), but Valentine’s Day does need a proper celebration. In addition to the patents listed below be sure to also check out the Love Box, a patent from Valentine’s Day past.
“The present invention provides a florists’ gift box support that can be conveniently used to securely attach a rectangular gift box to an open-mouthed container simultaneously being used to hold a bouquet of flowers. The support holds the gift box adjacent to the flower bouquet so that the flowers compliment the gift box, thereby providing an attractive presentation of the gift to the recipient. More importantly, because the support allows quick and easy assembly of the floral kit, floral employees of even low skill can quickly and properly assemble the kit for delivery. Yet another advantage is that the support securely holds the gift box within the assembled kit so that the bouquet of flowers and the gift become one easily deliverable unit. Upon delivery, the recipient can easily remove the gift box from the support and there is no unsightly sticky residue left on the gift box… A method of assembling a floral kit is also provided.”