Monday, April 03, 2006

Ridiculous Patent: String-phone

If you thought the patent wars over the invention of the telephone were silly, get a load of this patent:

Thankfully, the patent issued in 1980 and thus expired a couple of years ago. The world is now free to build primitive phones from string and paper cups again.
(via IP Funny)

Other ridiculous patents:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quick, somebody patent the block-and-tackle!

10:49 AM  
Anonymous EnvelopeMan said...

I'm filling out a patent application right now for the envelope:

"Claim 1: a piece of paper folded to form a pocket into which another piece of paper may be inserted.

"Claim 2: a flap on said piece of folded paper that has moisture-activated adhesive, which can be licked and folded to completely seal the inserted piece of paper.

"Claim 3: etc..."

10:51 AM  
Blogger fjarlq said...

That was granted April 1, 1980. Could it be somebody in the patent office has a sense of humor?

11:42 AM  
Blogger kenny said...

Sadly, it is not a joke. The patent is legally binding (or at least was between 1980-2000), and would be seen as such in any court of law. You could not have legally practiced any of the claims of the patent during that time without a) receiving permission from RB Toy or b) invalidating the patent in a court of law or through a re-examination at the USPTO.

The other patents listed above are proof that this kind of stupidity goes on all year long.

But I'll admit, the Apr. 1st date is a nice touch. Perhaps it was the examiner's way of subtly communicating their disdain for the applicant, after being beaten down by its lawyers into submission (but that's all pure conjecture on my part).

12:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would have been an unenforceable patent as it would be trivial to show the invention was known to the public before it was "invented".

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

True, but unenforceable patents are enforceable until they are invalidated. Just ask RIM or eBay.

2:07 PM  

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