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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!
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.
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. 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.
Recently, I was working on a patent search requiring me to look in areas of patent art relating to male underclothing (a very popular area for patenting, as you may guess) when I came across this little number: US Patent Application 12/071,878, which is titled “Scrotal Support Garment.” This application serves as a great example of rejection through non-patent literature. When you apply for a patent, the examiner can use any information available to the public to reject your application – not just patents. In this case, the examiner had an easy time finding a picture of Borat in the swimwear and was gracious enough to include several pictures in the rejection.