Patent Art: Interesting and Unique Patent Drawings

By Gene Quinn
July 27, 2009

I will be officially on vacation from Monday July 27, 2009, through Sunday, August 2, 2009, and then Monday, August 3, 2009, is a travel day to get to Chicago for the last PLI Patent Bar Review Course of the summer, which will take place from from Tuesday, August 4, 2009, through Saturday, August 8, 2009, at John Marshall Law School.  Nevertheless, in order to keep things current, I have prepared a number of posts that are scheduled to go live at various times during my vacation.  Having said this, I am also extremely likely to blog regarding the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination of David Kappos on Wednesday, July 29, 2009.  And to think I was sure that with Sotomayor, health care and cap and trade I would actually be able to go on vacation without any major patent news event interrupting.  Oh well, at least it is at 10am, which is 7am in the morning California time, so I might even be able to get something up before breakfast is even over, then enjoy the remainder of my vacation.  Here is hoping!

So, as part one of my vacation series, without further ado I present to you some of the most interesting patent drawings I could find.  Which is your favorite?

Navigation system including patient tracker
US Patent No. 7,556,428
Issued July 7, 2009

I am hesitant to say that this is an obscure patent, because it does seem to deal with a real invention and one that could be quite important in terms of medical imagining technology.  Nevertheless, I think there is no arguing that this is an obscure drawing.  The person pictured reminds me of Ray Walston, the actor who played Uncle Martin in My Favorite Martian.  That was the first thing I thought of when I saw it, and quite frankly I cannot get that out of my head.  This device also looks like one of Uncle Martin’s advanced gadgets, which routinely appeared to solve a variety of problems, or get him and Tim (played by Incredible Hulk Bill Bixby) into trouble.  In any event, this invention provides a registration appendage including radio-opaque markers arranged in a predetermined geometric pattern attached to the patient tracker in a known position and orientation.  I guess this provides additional positioning advantages.  That being said, the picture is still funny.

Apparatus for growing plants in carousels
US Patent No. 7,559,173
Issued July 14, 2009

Once again, I am not going to question whether this is something that should have received a patent, but the picture did capture my attention as I was recently going through issued patents.  In keeping with the pop culture theme set above, this looks like something that my nephew might have put together with K’Nex, or perhaps the inner workings of the mechanized walker created by the villain, played by Kenneth Branagh in the Will Smith moving Wild Wild West.  In any event, the invention provides a highly efficient system that can grow a variety of commercially desirable crops in simple, compact, automated facilities. The volume of crops that can be grown in a given space is increased by a factor of four in a preferred embodiment compared to traditional methods. The invention creates a highly controlled environment that is suitable for significantly enhancing plant growth in places where it was previously not feasible because of economic or environmental constraints. And it uses significantly less water than traditional methods and avoids problems associated with the disposal of nutrients in growth media, which I suppose means dirt or soil.

Interactive Toy
US Patent No. 6,652,353
Issued November 25, 2003

I have always loved this picture.  Perhaps it is the ears, perhaps it is the buggy eyes, perhaps it is the tongue handing out (and having its own reference number no less) or maybe it is the totality of the picture.  Is it me, or does this dog look like it is a cartoon character that has been placed in a trance?  A spinning occurs upon activation as the result of a pair of rotating legs.  A preferred embodiment of the toy includes a sound activation device that is responsive to a user clapping their hands.  You also have to love the fact that clapping hands 12 are pictured with a reference numeral.  That is leaving nothing to chance!

Breathing mask with incomplete headband
US Patent No. 6,619,288
Issued September 16, 2003

This picture is interesting, and having sleep apnea now it is not nearly as “obscure” as it used to be, at least in my view.  In any event, as interesting as this invention is and as eye catching as the picture is, the truly interesting thing about this patent is in the claims, sorta cheating I know given the title of the post, but trust me, you are going to like this one.  The preamble to claim 1 explains that it is to be used for delivering oxygen to “a patient having a face, a nose, and a head, the head having a cranium and cranial region.” I am hard pressed to figure out what patients might not have a face, nose, head or cranium.  Nevertheless, I will let you insert your own joke here!

Harness and animal birth control device
US Patent No. 6,647,928

Issued November 18, 2004

This is another great one, and all time favorite.  This one is nothing more than a chastity belt for your pet. Rather than have your pet spayed, just use this invention. Beware cheap imitations that do not come equipped with a series of openings that allow urine to be passed through.

I have so many more to share.  This has been real fun.  If this turns out to be interesting to others then maybe I can turn this into an recurring series.  Lord knows that there are plenty of interesting drawings to comment on, and the best part is you don’t even have to address the merits of the patents to poke some fun.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. 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 IPWatchdog.com 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 as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 4 Comments comments.

  1. Matt Leeth July 27, 2009 11:51 am

    #5 is awesome. I wonder if it’s dishwasher safe?

  2. Dan July 27, 2009 5:37 pm

    A few of my favorite examples of patent art:

    US Patent 3,398,406, titled “Buoyant Bulletproof Combat Uniform”. Figures 14-20 are comic-book quality.

    US Patent 3,216,423, titled “Apparatus For Facilitating The Birth Of A Child By Centrifugal Force”. This could make a pretty good torture device.

    US Patent 461,449, titled “Performing Platform For Animals”.

  3. Mark Nowotarski July 27, 2009 8:48 pm

    Correction :Best patent drawing: US 5713081 aka Three legged pantyhose http://bit.ly/3t1olZ

  4. chastity belt September 10, 2010 9:09 am

    I love yor chastity belt.