Absurd Patents for Commonplace Things

We know you like to have rounded corners on your electronic devices. Well, so does Apple. So much in fact that they found a way to get a patent on the concept. If you want to make a rectangular gizmo and round the corners, either keep a low-profile or consider lawyering up. This is just another attack in the insane patent war going on between major tech companies—one powerful enough to make Samsung cough up $1 billion.

This isn’t the first over-generalized patent to be granted and it certainly won’t be the last. Quartz put together a list of common sense patents that have been violated a countless number of times.

“Circular Transportation Facilitation Device”

As technical as that name might sound, it’s a patent for the wheel. The legal protection of the 5000-year-old invention was issued in 2001 to Australian John Keogh. It was done in order to demonstrate the failings of Australia’s patent system which would fast-track the patenting of “new ideas.”

“Wireless Communication System”

How vague is that? Vague enough. NetAirus Technologies filed to patent anything that’s wireless and communicates in 1999 and was granted the patent in 2006. Because the description of the patent is general enough, and NetAirus has no products of its own, they decided to go ahead and sue Apple. The case is ongoing.

“Method of Concealing Partial Baldness”

Not all hair-styles can be protected as intellectual property but in 1977 a duo of inventors in Florida were granted a patent for the double comb over. For those short on hair, technological folding can be the answer, e.g. master-yeller Donald Trump.

“Method of Swinging on a Swing”

Filed in 2000, granted in 2002, swinging is now a protected art. The actual details on the patent document are scant and mostly include a crude picture of a swing attached to what looks like a strip of bacon. The method isn’t your normal legs-out-legs-in means to movement but rather one where you alternatively pull on each chain, left than right, to induce side-to-side motion. Fun, right?



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