IP: Patents

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U.S. Patent App. No. 20140159444: Airline Passenger Torture Device

The application calls it "Seating Device Comprising a Forward-Foldable Backrest," but I like my name better. The inventor describes the alleged motivation thusly (my annotations below): [T]o increase the number of cabin seats [and thus profit], the space allotted to…



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U.S. Patent No. 8,359,664: How to Cover Yourself in Plants

Having trouble hiding from something you'd like to kill? Maybe you've considered covering yourself in plant life. Good idea, assuming you're outdoors. But depending on how you're doing that, you may be infringing. Improbable Research notes that Patent No. 8,359,664,…


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U.S. Pat. No. 35,600: The Plow Cannon

This might be where the term "Yankee ingenuity" came from, although if it was, somebody was being sarcastic: Two New Yorkers invented this and had it patented in 1862. At the time, the battles of First Bull Run and Shiloh…


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2013 Ig Nobel Prizes Announced

The 2013 Ig Nobel Prizes were given out last night at Harvard University, and the winners were outstanding as always. At first glance, only a couple of them look relevant to the law, but you never know, and besides any…


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U.S. Pat. No. D675886: Snack Chip Eating Utensil

Speaking of patents, I haven't yet gotten around to posting this one, which was tweeted by Prof. Sarah Burstein (@design_law): The inventor claims "the ornamental design for a snack chip eating utensil, as shown and described." The description notes only…


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The Blonsky Device

I'm a big fan of the Improbable Research group and the Ig Nobel Prizes they give out every year. Usually the achievements they recognize are scientific, but if there is any connection at all with the legal field I am always happy to…


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U.S. Pat. No. 1,926,420: Monkey Dog Saddle

The official name is "COMBINED RACING GREYHOUND HARNESS AND RIDER SUPPORTING MEANS," but I like mine better. From the application, filed in 1932: In the sport of greyhound racing, that is enjoyed by dog fanciers and racing enthusiasts, there has…


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PATENTED: The Yeehaw Faucet

Everybody currently working on a faucet design even remotely like this one can go ahead and stop: Seems mildly surprising that the inventor of D685062 hails from Independence, Missouri, rather than somewhere in Texas, but since I've been to Independence,…