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Posts Tagged: "obscure patent"

The Hamdog is only one of many unusual U.S. patents covering bizarre foods

There are few foods which are more iconically American than hot dogs and hamburgers. The idea to mix the two together, however, comes from an Australian innovator who is hoping for a windfall by auctioning off a U.S. patent which protects a food preparation which is truly unique. Mark Murray of Perth, Australia, is the inventor of the Hamdog, a combination hot-dog-and-hamburger entree that uses a bun, which is specifically designed to hold both the hamburger and the hot dog. Murray’s inspiration came to him while visiting Nashville, TN, when he left a bar and tried to eat a hamburger and a hot dog at the same time to assuage his hunger; once again, necessity is the mother of invention. Murray has sought to auction the U.S. rights to his invention, which is sold at Australian sports events for $6 USD, and the inventor believes that the Hamdog could be a product which rakes in $2.5 billion-per-year if it captures 1 percent of the United States’ burger market, which includes some 50 billion hamburgers sold each year.

Near Miss Patents: Looking back at almost milestone innovations

People tend to focus on these nice, round numbers when looking at significant points in history. Here, however, we want to have a little fun with numbers and stick up for the little guy in this conversation, the “coulda been a contenders” or your near-misses, however you choose to view them. So today, we thought we’d take a look back at some of the mile markers that we’ve passed on the road of innovation and feature some technologies largely lost to the annals of time, simply because their issue number was off by one.

Beware Infringing the Beer Dispensing Patent!

I find this patent so exasperating because the patented method essentially breaks down to nothing more than chilling a container to at least -5° C and then filling that container with beer that is above 0° C. I wonder how many bars and restaurants are infringing this patent? Perhaps you should warn you favorite watering hole to make sure that any glasses chilled are not chilled to -5° C.

Cooler Innovations

It is still extraordinarily hot throughout most of the United States today. Some relief is on the horizon for tomorrow, at least for the greater Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area, with even more relief next week. After getting up early to go for a long walk with my 5 pound weights in each hand (yes, trying to lose weight) and it was 88 degrees first thing in the morning I knew I had to return to the topic of cool or cold inventions. I know I’m a geek, a nerd and extremely corny! But after the article from yesterday about Cool Wearable Innovations, I couldn’t resist writing an article titled “Cooler Innovation.”

Cool Wearable Innovations to Help You Beat the Summer Heat

It is fair to say that the eastern half of the United States is experiencing prolonged heat like few can ever remember. With that in mind I thought it might be an interesting time to take a look at some of the innovations that attempts to beat summer heat have lead to over the years. The theme here is wearable coolness. So sit right back in your chair, hopefully in a heavily air conditioned office or home, and get in touch with your inner inventor. These individuals came up with something patentable, and necessity is certainly the mother of innovation. Who knows, perhaps this prolonged heat agony will lead to a who new crop of gadgets associated with keeping one cool and refreshed during the dog days of summer.

Old Patents That Could Have Set the World Aflame!

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.

Obscure Patent: Combined Cigar Lighter and Perfume Ejector

Just in time for Mothers Day, finally a gift suitable for both Mothers Day and Fathers Day. In keeping with the age-old tradition of inventing by juxtaposition, this highly functional and aesthetically pleasing invention “Cigar Lighter and Perfumery Ejector Combined,” which was patented on August 31, 1886, and combines the lighting of cigars with the dispensing of perfume.

Apple Patents Glove for Use With Electronic Devices

Apple, the company known for such popular devices as the iPad, iPhone and the iPod, has obtained a patent on a glove. Yes, the company known for pushing the envelope with high tech gadgets has entered the clothing market with a patented glove. Not just any glove mind you, but rather one that will be sure to help you keep your hands and fingers warm while still being able to use your favorite smart-gadgets. With respect to claim 1, I do wonder whether a double layer glove with a hole in the outer layer might be infringing, which of course would mean that it should have anticipated the claim.

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.

Turkey Patents and Presidential Pardons

The pardoning of the Presidential turkey caught my imagination as I was trying to figure out what holiday patents to profile for this Thanksgiving, something I always try and do whenever possible. So what better thing to focus on than on turkey patents, and there are many of them. I easily found multiple dozens of turkey callers and all kinds of turkey transportation devices used by hunters to carry their prey home, but these were the ones that really caught my attention for one reason or another.

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.

Obscure Patent: Doll Urn – Issued in 10 months!

Doll Urn United States Patent 7,627,935 Issued December 8, 2009 Filed February 5, 2009 This is straight from the “you have to be kidding me” file, and for more reasons than immediately are apparent simply by looking at the invention. This invention is a doll urn, which allows for the storing of a human’s or a pet’s ashes. The invention…

Obscure Patent: Disposable Rainwear

Disposable rainwear US Patent No. 6,658,665 Issued December 9, 2003 I have not been doing as many obscure patents as I once did, but I have been increasingly hearing from inventors that they miss this feature because humorous patents coupled with a story provide a good learning opportunity.  That being the case, I will try and write more about obscure…

Obscure Patents: Chastity Belts for Dogs

Perhaps I am missing something, but I do not see a huge market for animal chastity belts. We have a dog, and we are dog lovers. We enjoy walking through pet stores and spoil her rotten. I cannot say that I have seen an animal chastity belt in any of my trips to any pet store. Maybe there is an…

Obscure Patent: Squirrel Teasing Bird Feeder

Squirrel teasing hanger assembly for a bird feeder [PDF ] [ HTML ] US Patent No. 6,619,229 Issued September 16, 2003 The patent explains that several types of bird feeders have been designed for preventing unwanted animals such as squirrels from eating the bird food in the feeder. The purpose of this invention, however, is not to get rid of…