Swing Patent Belongs To Seven Year Old

from the that-explains-some-of-it... dept

Last week we mentioned the ridiculous patent for a method for swinging on a swing which later made its way to Slashdot and suddenly everyone was talking about. It turns out that the patent was granted to a 7 year old kid (though, it was filed when he was 5). It was filed by his lawyer father who wanted to teach his son how the patent process worked (or, doesn’t work, apparently). He says that his son will not be going after lucrative licensing deals with anyone caught swinging side to side on swings.

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Comments on “Swing Patent Belongs To Seven Year Old”

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2Lazy2Register says:

Oh, isn't that just soooo cute!

I hope this imbecile understands how much time and effort were expended to teach a five year old a lesson in something he has NO need to comprehend. Yes, the patent office has serious problems. That IMHO does not present a carte blanche to further abuse the system. Even if this patent had been rejected, a fair amount of time would have been wasted in the processing of the application.

Ed says:

Re: Oh, isn't that just soooo cute!

Patent filing fees are not cheap. This lesson cost the father $1000, and he would have to pay periodic maintenance fees every few years to keep the patent valid. If I recall correctly, small-time inventors get a break on fees, so a typical corporate filing costs more. In theory, the fees should be enough to cover the USPTO’s expenses.

mhh5 says:

who knows...

maybe this patent will encourage other kids to invent new playground equipment?

While I think this patent _is_ pretty useless and stupid, I also think that maybe we have to adjust what we think patents are. I think I’m convinced now that patents are more just marketing tools to “prove” your company has a track record. The side benefit of being able to have your inventions protected is secondary….

Passerby says:

There is hope

I started thinking about this after I had heard of it. Just because a process seems simple after the invention does not make the process unpatentable. There is a statutory bar to the invention if it was known or used in the U.S. before the kid invented it (35 USC 102(a)).
All someone has to do is go show that someone was using that process before the kid’s date of invention.
Someone has filed a petition and it has gone for reexamination. At least that is what I think this means:
And put in patent number 6,368,227.

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