Posts Tagged: "animal toy"

The Strange Case of the Animal Toy Patent: Reexam Redux

Two months ago I wrote about one of my favorite patents — The Animal Toy — which is U.S. Patent No. 6,360,693. See Patent on a Stick: Learning from the Animal Toy Patent. Shortly after writing that article, which was not intended to poke fun at the Patent Office but to merely teach a point relative to claim drafting, I received an e-mail from Stephen Kunin, who is a partner at Oblon Spivak, LLP. Steve wrote to me indicating that this patent was reexamined by the Patent Office and none of the claims exited reexamination. This in and of itself may not be very odd, but something didn’t seem quite right.

Patent on a Stick: Learning from the Animal Toy Patent

Claim #1, the broadest claim in this patent, says that this “animal toy” has a solid main section, at least one protrusion and is adapted for floating in the water. While not every stick would infringe claim 1 of this patent, I would venture that there are many which would. No need to worry, however. This patent fell into the public domain on March 26, 2010, for failure to make the first maintenance fee payment. The lesson here, however, is not that the Patent Office occasionally makes a mistake (true though that may be). The fact that a patent can be obtained or has been obtained does not mean that a valuable asset has been obtained, and this “invention” is a wonderfully vibrant example of that.