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?



Commentary Ticker

  • Data Knows Best: Greatest TV Shows Get Ranked and Graphed
    March 26, 2014 | 10:50 am

    Every argument is better with charts and graphs. Sometimes a little linear regression can provide more insight than a long-winded report. GraphTV tests that theory by plotting the ratings of popular television shows. It all started with Breaking Bad. Data guru Kevin Wu was watching its fifth and final season and couldn’t help but think [...]

  • A Coin-Inspired National Spirit, Hopefully
    March 20, 2014 | 11:56 am

    The Lakota Nation, a group of seven Native American bands in North and South Dakota, voted to make a Bitcoin-like crypto-currency called MazaCoin their official currency, according to Forbes. Programmer and Lakota activist Payu Harris believes that the coin will help the Lakota people gain sovereignty over their land. “To be a truly independent state [...]

  • Smartguns and the Promise of Progress
    March 3, 2014 | 9:50 am

    With the recent Sandy Hook elementary school shooting (and the 44 school shootings since) still relatively fresh in our collective minds, and with Congress empirically unable to do anything to stop gun violence at all, it seems slowing, if not stopping, the gun violence epidemic has fallen on a strange coalition of gun manufacturers, Silicon [...]

  • Watch: Movies Without Imaginary Friends
    January 28, 2014 | 12:56 pm

    If you seriously haven’t watched Fight Club yet (or read the book by Chuck Palahniuk) stop and go do that right now. You’re fifteen years late to the craziest party. Okay, you’ve watched it now? Onwards. A visual effects specialist in New York accelerated himself to Internet fame in mid-January when he edited Tyler Durden [...]

  • The Racism of “Racism”: The Complicated Origins of the Term
    January 17, 2014 | 12:27 pm

    “Racism,” like race, was invented. The term “racism” has done a lot of heavy lifting for anti-racism advocates, helping to frame anyone discriminating by race as misguided. Just as with classism or sexism, not only does the word racism give name to an evil, it helps to create the thing as evil in the first [...]

  • RSSArchive for Commentary Ticker »

Join our mailing list!

Trending on The Airspace