Obscure Patent: Scriptured Outdoor Furniture

Scriptured outdoor furniture [ PDF ] [ HTML ]
US Patent No. 6,705,334
Issued March 16, 2004

I am almost speechless. This “invention” covers furniture with scripture passages displayed thereon. The broadest claim, however, includes an umbrella, chair, table and much more, so I suppose if you were to just print scripture on an umbrella you would not be infringing. For the life of me I just cannot see how this is or should be patentable. Perhaps the addition of the scripture is a misdirection, and the real invention was the collection of routine lawn furniture into a single claim. That in and of itself would be a little scary given that the combination of a table, chair and umbrella is extremely well known in the prior art. That being the case, and taken together with all of the utility claims in the patent, which relate to an invention that allows for the display of scripture, I am left only to wonder what happened here. Why doesn’t a director’s chair (i.e., a folding chair with the word “director” across the back) render this obvious? The invention here seems to be nothing more than an ornamental design, which is and should be protected through a design patent, not a utility patent.  I would hope that under the new KSR guidelines this sort of thing couldn’t be patented moving forward.

To see other obscure patents go to the Museum of Obscure Patents

The Patent Abstract says:

The present invention 10 discloses scriptured outdoor furniture comprising an umbrella 12, swivel clamp 26, foldable table 22 and foldable chair 18. The umbrella 12 is of a size forming a canopy over the table 22 and chair 18. The umbrella 12 has a fastening member 26 fixed to the distal end of the central post 24 spaced away from the canopy whereby the umbrella can be releasably attached to the table 22. The fastener 26 is comprised of a swivel clamp 28 having a stationary jaw and a movable jaw 24 having a threaded shaft 30 having a handle 32 for advancing/retracting the movable jaw toward the stationary jaw. The umbrella 12 has an attachable detachable skirt 50 having mating fasteners 52, 54 positioned on the skirt and interior edge of the umbrella. The chair 18 has an attachable detachable chair backing 56. The chair backing 56 has mating fasteners 58 that are engaged after wrapping around the chair structural members 60. Furthermore, the table 22 has foldable extension elements 40 forming additional support for the overhanging canopy.

From the Summary of the Invention:

The present invention discloses scriptured outdoor furniture comprising an umbrella, swivel clamp, foldable table and foldable chair. The umbrella is of a size forming a canopy over the table and chair. The umbrella has a fastening member fixed to the distal end of the central post away from the canopy whereby the umbrella can be releasably attached to the table. The fastener is comprised of a swivel clamp having a stationary jaw and a movable jaw having a threaded shaft having a handle for advancing/retracting the movable jaw toward the stationary jaw. The umbrella has an attachable detachable skirt having mating fasteners positioned on the skirt and interior edge of the umbrella. The chair has an attachable detachable chair backing. The chair backing has mating fasteners that are engaged after wrapping around the chair structural members. Furthermore, the table has foldable extension elements forming additional support for the overhanging canopy.

A primary object of the present invention is to provide outdoor scriptured furniture having an umbrella and chair with scriptural passage imprinted thereon.

Another object of the present invention is to provide outdoor scriptured furniture having a table for attachment thereon of the scriptural imprinted umbrella.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide an expandable collapsible umbrella having illustrations of scenic displays imprinted upon the exterior surface of said umbrella.

Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide an expandable collapsible umbrella having illustrations of scenic displays and scriptural biblical passage imprinted upon the exterior surface of said umbrella.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a foldable chair having illustrations of scenic displays imprinted upon the seat back of said chair.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a foldable chair having illustrations of scenic displays and scriptural biblical passage imprinted upon the seat back of said chair.

Still yet another object of the present invention is to provide scriptured furniture having a swivel clamp forming an attachment member for said umbrella to said table.

Another object of the present invention is to provide scriptured furniture having a swivel clamp whereby the umbrella can be swiveled from a stored table parallel position to a table perpendicular position.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide scriptured furniture having a table and scriptured umbrella whereby the umbrella can stay attached to said table for storing, moving, assembly and ease of use.

Share

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.

Join the Discussion

13 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for bazaark]
    bazaark
    August 12, 2009 12:57 am

    The invention here seems to be nothing more than an ornamental design At Bazaark we bring solutions on a variety of quality items: from Kitchenware, Outdoor Furniture to Garage Storage Solutions, Bike Racks & more

  • [Avatar for Joan]
    Joan
    August 4, 2009 06:47 pm

    there’s no way this patent would hold up in court. 99% of it is patented under something else.

  • [Avatar for Alan McDonald]
    Alan McDonald
    August 4, 2009 08:09 am

    Wouldn’t this be at least obvious in view of the religious soap patent?

  • [Avatar for patent leather]
    patent leather
    August 3, 2009 03:25 am

    It’s too bad the image file wrapper isn’t available online, or we could see what the Examiner found allowable. But from the transaction history there was one rejection, an amendment, and then the allowance. I looked at the published application and the claim as filed contained features a,b,c, and d, and the attorney must have amended in features f through j to get the allowance. Since features f-j do not contain the nunfunctional printed matter then the allowable portion has nothing to do with the scriptures and I am guessing that the Examiner felt that the clamping mechanisms/joints etc were what was allowable. Since I don’t know much about this art, I can’t comment on whether this patent should have been granted or not.

    But the attorney should have removed the nonfunctional printed matter (the scriptures) from the claim. Regardless of whether it should have been granted or not, the patent is extremely unlikely to be infringed as claimed. It’s too late for the inventor to file a broadening reissue, so the inventor is stuck.

    I agree with Gene though that as claimed, this invention is silly.

  • [Avatar for Alberto]
    Alberto
    August 2, 2009 10:32 am

    Hi. I think it is a good initiative. Hopefully be used to send positive messages, and environmental messages to educate people. Thank you.

  • [Avatar for IPBloke]
    IPBloke
    August 1, 2009 07:44 pm

    Why don’t I write up a rejection? Perhaps because of 35 U.S.C. 282. Patents have a presumption of validity and “The burden of establishing invalidity of a patent or any claim thereof shall rest on the party asserting such invalidity”….that be you!
    Why do I think you should be educating people? Because you are the “watchdog”. You are the one posting the IP information daily. Please don’t try and hide behind the this was only “entertainment” argument. Are we to assume all your posts are “entertaining pieces”? How could one possibly tell? You state “For the life of me I just cannot see how this is or should be patentable” and that it reads on a “directors chair”. I for the life of me can’t believe you…being the “watchdog’ would make such a statement.
    Examiner’s do not have the pleasure of retorting to the applicant “The broadest claim is crap. It is a collection of furniture having known features and characteristics!”. Though I bet they would like on certain cases. They need to find evidence. Why did I want to see you put together a rejection? Because I wanted to see your evidence. Because to get each element in the claim (there is more than mere table, chair and umbrella) it would be a combination beyond any that I have ever seen….unless you are sitting on a piece of art that you know of. Are you?
    Just because the pieces are known does not render the combination known. See MPEP 2106 SECTION C: when evaluating the scope of a claim, every limitation in the claim must be considered. USPTO personnel may not dissect a claimed invention into discrete elements and then evaluate the elements in isolation. protection under § 101, their claims must be considered AS A WHOLE. It is inappropriate to dissect the claims into old and new elements and then to ignore the presence of the old elements in the analysis….. even though all the constituents of the combination were well known and in common use before the combination was made.”
    BTW, I 100% agree that the TYPE of indicia used on the chair and umbrella should be of no consideration. But you say “The only thing here that is not directly in the prior art is the scripture verse”…that I disagree with and you have not shown evidence otherwise.

    .

  • [Avatar for Mike]
    Mike
    August 1, 2009 04:38 pm

    Gene:

    I want to preface this with that I agree with you on most of the stuff you write here and those guys’ criticisms of you above are flawed. Please keep blogging it’s a great public service.

    I understand the criticism of Kroll for his overcharging of clients and ethics violations, and i don’t recommend clients use him. But I don’t understand why you assume that he has taken “advantage of a client” in this case? For all we know, he told the client, “look this will likely be considered obvious by the patent office, but there is no rule against applying”. It turns out, the Office agreed! Contrary what you you said, it seems he did his client a service. Now, the system as a whole suffers by the issuance of obvious patents, but as attorney for his client? I don’t see using this as a case to criticize him here. Kinda like the Gates arrest, this is not the proper incident to use as a “teachable moment” either to show Kroll is unethical to his clients or that any attorney who would file this application is unethical.

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    August 1, 2009 02:54 pm

    Tom-

    Your attacks are really not necessary. You and others are taking this way too seriously, and picking a truly idiotic patent to say that I should analyze the claims. Thanks for telling me how to write. I REALLY appreciate it. No… seriously… I REALLY appreciate it.

    Here is an idea, if you don’t like what I have written then write for yourself and stop reading IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene

  • [Avatar for Gene Quinn]
    Gene Quinn
    August 1, 2009 02:52 pm

    IPBloke-

    Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. Why don’t you do it if you are SO interested. And why is it my duty to spend time educating people? You can believe I am misdirecting, but everyone who reads IPWatchdog with an open mind knows that charge is ridiculous. I posted an entertaining piece on a truly crazy patent. This is a truly crazy patent, which was obtained through Michael Kroll, who is well known for lack of quality and for being brought up on ethics charges for overcharging clients. If the Patent Examiner had done their job there would be no need for me to be forced to prepare a rejection or be subject to ridicule by the likes of you. The broadest claim is crap. It is a collection of furniture having known features and characteristics. The only thing that could be used to demonstrate novelty is the scripture verse. Even before KSR that should not have been enough, but it was here. With KSR, this patent is clearly crap, should never have issued and Kroll once again took advantage of a client. The difference is that the Patent Office, through lax oversight allowed it to happen. This is why we got into this patent crisis situation. Rather than tightening up and rejecting clearly obvious inventions the Patent Office started weeding out quality inventions, and still kept issuing crazy patents too.

    Nevertheless, here is claim 1:

    1. An apparatus for an outdoor furniture group for displaying scriptures thereon, comprising:

    a) an umbrella, said umbrella having a canopy and a post, said canopy disposed on said post, said post having a first end and a second end, said canopy disposed on said second end of said post;
    b) a chair, said chair having a back thereon, said back having a pair of spaced apart vertical tubular support members on each side of said back;
    c) a scripture display and scenic illustration disposed on said canopy of said umbrella;
    d) a scripture display and scenic illustration disposed on said back of said chair;
    e) a table, said table having a top and a plurality of legs thereon, said lens having a first end and a second end, said first end of said legs connected to said top;
    f) means for clamping said umbrella onto said top of said table, said means for clamping being disposed on said first end of said post of said umbrella comprising a U-shaped clamp having a first jaw and second jaw for placement of said top of said table between wherein said first jaw is movable for attachment of the table top between said first jaw and said second jaw;
    g) said movable jaw further comprises a threaded member for adjustment of said movable jaw and a handle disposed on said threaded member for turning said threaded member;
    h) a foldable joint disposed at a juncture of said first end of said post and said U-shaped clamp whereby said post can be folded from a vertical position to a horizontal position, said foldable joint comprising a locking pin for securing said joint;
    i) a support member disposed on said second end of said legs of said table whereby said table is supported; and
    j) said support member comprising an elongated member having a first end and a second end, and a threaded fastener for rotatably connecting said first end of said elongated member to said second end of said legs of said table for rotating said elongated member from a position co-planar and contiguous to said legs to a position lateral to said legs.

    The only thing here that is not directly in the prior art is the scripture verse, which is what I said in the post and that does not make the invention patentable. If you think otherwise I think the burden should be on YOU to craft an argument that says I am wrong.

    So Bloke… where do you see something novel and non-obvious here?

    -Gene

  • [Avatar for Jules]
    Jules
    August 1, 2009 01:58 pm

    IPBloke, while I agree with your sentiment, it is not a far stretch of the imagination of what the claims might be… an umbrella with scripture on it.

    “2112.01 Composition, Product, and Apparatus Claims [R-3]

    III. PRODUCT CLAIMS – NONFUNCTIONAL PRINTED MATTER DOES NOT DISTINGUISH CLAIMED PRODUCT FROM OTHERWISE IDENTICAL PRIOR ART PRODUCT
    Where the only difference between a prior art product and a claimed product is printed matter that is not functionally related to the product, the content of the printed matter will not distinguish the claimed product from the prior art. In re Ngai, **>367 F.3d 1336, 1339, 70 USPQ2d 1862, 1864 (Fed. Cir. 2004)< (Claim at issue was a kit requiring instructions and a buffer agent. The Federal Circuit held that the claim was anticipated by a prior art reference that taught a kit that included instructions and a buffer agent, even though the content of the instructions differed.). See also In re Gulack, 703 F.2d 1381, 1385-86, 217 USPQ 401, 404 (Fed. Cir. 1983)("Where the printed matter is not functionally related to the substrate, the printed matter will not distinguish the invention from the prior art in terms of patentability..[T]he critical question is whether there exists any new and unobvious functional relationship between the printed matter and the substrate.")."

    Therefore, unless scripture somehow makes the umbrella functionally different than any other umbrella, e.g. provides armor against evil forces (jk), then it probably should have been rejected by disregarding the scripture.

  • [Avatar for IPBloke]
    IPBloke
    August 1, 2009 01:29 pm

    Ok Gene since you think this is an obvious POS how about you (or any poster out there) play “patent examiner for a day” and write up a rejection meeting EVERY limitation of claim 1. I for one would be very interested to see it. It certainly can’t be hard for or take any time since it is so clearly obvious to you.
    I can’t believe you actually teach about patents and then rant on this one without even posting the claims. You post the background and the summary only….how are people going to learn from you if you misdirect them?

  • [Avatar for Tom Dickey]
    Tom Dickey
    August 1, 2009 01:07 pm

    There is no attempt here to analyze the content of the claims themselves. This is, of course, the usual practice among those who criticize obscure patents.
    A scripturally minded person, on viewing claim 1 of 6,705,334 in its full splendor, will be reminded of Abraham Bloemaert’s “Moses striking the rock” (on permanent view at the Metropolitan Museum, see http://www.metmuseum.org/works_of_art/collection_database/european_paintings/moses_striking_the_rock_abraham_bloemaert/objectview_zoom.aspx?page=95&sort=0&sortdir=asc&keyword=&fp=1&dd1=11&dd2=0&vw=1&collID=11&OID=110000113&vT=1).
    Bloemaert painted a landscape filled with detailed scenes of utter depravity, the central figure being a lady who would put most of the pole dancers at the Spearmint Rhino to shame. Where is the saintly Moses? In the shadow in the upper left portion of the frame.
    Claim 1 lacks any allusion to pole dancing, but otherwise sets the scene with Bloemart’s strict attention to detail. For example claim 1 describes, inter alia, the threaded member of the movable jaw of the U-shaped clamp that holds the umbrella to the table. Where is the “scripture” of the title and OG figure? In the claim, it is (figuratively speaking) in the shadow, somewhere towards the upper left corner of the claimed invention.

  • [Avatar for Tom]
    Tom
    August 1, 2009 07:35 am

    I see evidence of two possibilities in this patent: (1) a PTO examiner who wanted to meet or exceed his quota, or (2) an attorney who has fleeced his client. An example of a quota system gone horribly wrong can be found in Mao Zedong’s “Great Leap Forward”, which led to starvation of millions of Chinese.