A recently issued patent has caused great excitement in the toy, transportation and aeronautic animal industries.
Most people know St. Nicholas (d/b/a Santa Claus) as a Turkish bishop sainted for his generosity to the poor and needy. Few realize he was also an inveterate inventor, whose novel methods for giving gifts to every good little boy and girl, worldwide, each Christmas eve, has enabled him to obtain patents on a variety of business processes.
The most recent of these is U.S. Patent S268225287 (the “Patent”), issued this month by the PTO, which grants Santa a patent to “An improved method for transporting gifts and portly men using a system of wind turbines supplemented by multiple, name-driven, high-speed reindeer.”
As the Abstract to this Patent makes clear, researchers in the field of Extreme Transport have posited two primary means for carriers to deliver packages to several billion expectant children within a 24-hour period.
The first, time travel, was the subject of U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2006/0073976 A1 (April 6, 2006), which describes “A method for employing sinusoidal oscillations of electrical bombardment … permitting topology change from one spacelike boundary to the other.” Unfortunately, scientists doubt this invention could be reduced to practice. First, using an electrically tickled nostril to return to the past sounds less like time travel than a massive allergy attack. Second, actual time displacement gives rise to the so-called “Time Travel Paradox,” i.e., the absurdity of a traveler going back in time and giving a gift to his own grandfather.
The second method, teleportation, was the subject of US Patent Appl. No. 2006/0071122 (April 6, 2006), which describes “A Full Body Teleportation System.” The invention described in this patent involves a “pulsed gravitational wave wormhole generator system that teleports a human being through hyperspace from one location to another.” Unfortunately, not only does this invention require granite obelisks, harmonic oscillators and cavitating bubbles – and when was the last time anyone you know cavitated a bubble? – but 50 years of science fiction have taught us that teleportation requires each destination to have its own teleport receiving device. However, if all good little boys and girls had their own teleportation systems, they would not need the latest Kid Motorz vehicle or Sky Viper drone from Santa.
The solution to this intractable puzzle was provided by Santa in the Patent, which describes a grid of enormous, land-based wind turbines running back and forth between the east and west coasts of the United States, arranged alternately parallel and perpendicular to the equator. This grid, claims the Patent, propels a sled that contains an assembly of wind-catching parachutes and, as a backup propulsion system, a team of stimulated ruminants who respond to their catchy Teutonic names. The sled itself is manned by a right jolly old elf who is prevented from being blown off by a sophisticated harnessing process adapted from the airline industry and more fully described in the Patent.
The Claims covered by the Patent are as follows:
- A sleigh being operated by a right jolly old or middle-aged elf.
- The sleigh of Claim 1 being pulled by three or more ruminants, the preferred embodiments of which are flying reindeer.
- The aeronautic animals of Claim 2 being hitched to the sleigh of Claim 1 by a harness device that is mounted on said animals’ backs and sides and that automatically injects a stimulant into their rumps to keep them awake and hyperactive.
- The caribou of Claim 2 being individually named, using bisyllabic mythical or Germanic names like “Cupid” and “Blitzen,” to which the animals respond, with forward and continuously elevating motion, when addressed using the “On” command.
- The ruminant-drawn sled of Claim 1 being attached simultaneously to parachute-like devices capable of catching wind and further propelling the sled at high speeds.
- The parachutes of Claim 5 being blown forward rapidly by a land-based network of wind turbines forming a crisscrossing grid that covers the entire delivery area.
- The jolly elf of indeterminate age in Claim 1 being kept from being blown over the side by an extremely strong seat belt.
- The two parts of the seat belt of Claim 8 being secured by a buckling device so complex that it must be explained each time by an onboard flight attendant.
- The right jolly old sleigh pilot of Claim 1 frequently exclaiming “Ho-Ho-Ho” and, occasionally, “Merry Christmas.”
Santa’s attorneys have reportedly sent cease-and-desist letters, seeking unspecified royalties and damages, to Aircraft Belts, Inc., Vestas Wind Systems A/S and the Iditarod Trail Committee. No word on how these potential defendants have explained to this publication how they intend to respond to these claims.
Editorial Note: By now you’ve probably figured out that the Santa transport patent is fictitious (can you figure out the Patent No.?). Nevertheless, the two patent applications referred to within this article are real (in the sense that persons actually filed them with the patent office, not in the sense that they describe something that would actually work in practice). In any event, we hope you enjoyed this take by special Correspondent, Humorist and IP Attorney Howard Zaharoff, and might even want to share this with youngsters in your life who might wonder how it is that Santa manages to travel so far and so fast on Christmas eve. Merry Christmas!