#5. Method Of Exercising a Cat
This brilliant invention "consists of directing a beam of invisible light ... onto the floor or wall ... then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats." In other words, this guy is claiming a patent on freaking your cat out with a laser pointer.
If this is patentable, then we think we'd better get down to the patent office immediately with another amazing invention. We'll call it "Method of Chewing Food," and it will "consist of placing edible objects within the human mouth, then applying pressure via the jawbone to mash (or "chew") said objects into a swallowable consistency." While we're at it, maybe we'll patent the concept of food itself and the entire human digestive system.
#4. Method of Swinging on a Swing
Remember how you used to "pull alternatively on one chain and then the other" while "on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a substantially horizontal tree branch"? Guess what? This guy invented that, which means you owe one Steven Olson a hefty chunk of change.
Make no mistake, though: Steven Olson isn't patenting one specific model of swing set, or swing sets in general. Steven Olson is patenting the method of swinging on a swing. If this is legally sound, we're thinking of patenting that thing where your friend tries to push you so high that you actually loop over the bar and come down on the other side.
#3. Apparatus For Simulating a "High Five"
The Apparatus for Simulating a "High Five" was filed by an inventor named Albert Cohen, in an apparent attempt to make the most depressing device in history.
"During a televised sporting event," the patent explains, "a 'high five' is commonly shared between fans to express the joy and excitement of a touchdown, home run, game-winning basket, birdie or other positive occurrence. Unfortunately ... a 'high five' requires the mutual hand slapping of two participants ... As such, a solitary fan is unable to perform a 'high five' to express excitement during a televised sporting event."
That might be the most unintentionally revealing patent ever written. Can someone write Albert Cohen a letter and clue him in about sports bars or fantasy football leagues or something? There's gotta be someone out there for him to watch sports with. As it stands, he's sitting around his dank one-bedroom apartment in sweatpants, oiling up his mechanical "high five" machine for tomorrow's big game. We almost want to manufacture this thing just so we can send anyone who purchases it directly over to Albert's house to hang out with him.
#2. User-Operated Amusement Apparatus For Kicking the User's Buttocks
Why, you might ask, would someone want a device designed "for self-infliction of repetitive blows to the user's buttocks"? We have no idea, but if anyone ever decides they want one, we have the technology.
"The benefit of the present invention," the patent explains, "is as an amusement apparatus for entertainment and comic relief whereby the plurality of rotating arms rotate when the user rotates the hand crank." Well that doesn't really explain much, does it? Is this for lazy people who want to beat their children? Is it an overly-complicated way to break in new jeans, or maybe some kind of weird S&M thing?
Maybe, it's for people who have a spare corner in their basement and think to themselves, "You know what would be great right there? An apparatus to inflict repetitive blows to my buttocks."
The patent was issued September 25, 2001, just two weeks after Sept. 11, 2001. The folks at the patent office must have still been pretty shaken up when they gave this the thumbs up. There is no other explanation.
The terrorists may have gotten the Twin Towers, but we got the User-Operated Amusement Apparatus For Kicking the User's Buttocks. I'm gonna have to call this one a draw.
#1. Animal Toy
Look at the picture. The title of this patent is "animal toy," and he says it may be made of "wood" or "wood composites." That's right; the dude is trying to patent the stick.
We admire this man's vision. We guess he was just sitting in the park one day with his dog, saw a nearby twig, and had the revolutionary idea to throw the stick and make the dog chase it. We can totally picture the dog bringing the stick back and this guy's eyes going wide. He slowly lifts the stick to his face and says, "EUREKA!" then goes sprinting through the park, waving the stick in strangers' faces and shouting, "Compared to me, Thomas Edison was turds."
Now, that may have been reasonable if the above events had taken place in, say, 12,000 B.C., instead of 1999 when the patent was filed. It doesn't matter now, this guy's got the stick patent and soon every forest in the planet is about to be sued out of existence for infringement.
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