August 29th, 2001


Wacky patents

Appendix A of N. Stephan Kinsella's excellent paper, Against Intellectual Property contains a list of, uh, unusal patents:

Christmas Tree Stand Watering System, U.S. Pat. No. 4,993,176,
Feb. 19, 1991 (Christmas tree watering stand shaped like Santa Claus);

Initiation Apparatus, U.S. Pat. No. 819,814, May 8, 1906 ( harmless
way of initiating a candidate into a fraternity by shocking him with

Method of Exercising a Cat, U.S. Pat. No. 5,443,036, Aug. 22, 1995
(shining a laser light onto the floor to fascinate a cat and cause it
to chase the light);

Pat on the Back Apparatus, U.S. Pat. No. 4,608,967, Sep. 2, 1986
(apparatus with simulated human hand to pat the user on the back);

Hyper-Light-Speed Antenna, U.S. Pat. No. 6,025,810, Feb. 15, 2000
(poking hole in another dimension to transmit RF waves at
faster-than-light speed, incidentally accelerating plant growth);

Force-Sensitive, Sound-Playing Condom, U.S. Pat. No. 5,163,447,
Nov. 17, 1992 (self-explanatory; for example, it could play Dixie );

Method and System for Placing a Purchase Order via a Communications
Network, U.S. Pat. No. 5,960,411, Sep. 28, 1999 ( s
one-click method for purchasing an item on the world wide web by
single mouse-click);

Financial Certificates, System and Process, U.S. Pat. No. 6,017,063,
Jan. 25, 2000 (inflation-indexed gift certificate or mutual fund

Method and System for Measuring Leadership Effective-ness,
U.S. Pat. No. 6,007,340, Dec. 28, 1999 (assigned to Electronic Data
Systems Corporation);

Sanitary Appliance for Birds, U.S. Pat. No. 2,882,858, April 21, 1959
(bird diaper); w Religious Soap, U.S. Pat. No. 3,936,384, Feb. 3,
1976 (bar of soap with religious design on one side and prayer on the

Method of Preserving the Dead, U.S. Pat. No. 748,284, Dec. 29, 1903 (preserving dead person s head in block of glass)

Human heads embedded in glass make great gifts, suitable for birthdays, anniversaries, and bar mitzvahs....

Well, I want one....