New Way To Build A Snowman: Patented!
from the the-following-is-not-a-joke dept
In showing the ridiculousness of the patent system, there are a few patents that stand out that get cited pretty often. Among them are Patent #6,004,596 on making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without the crust, patent #6,368,227 showing a method of swinging on a swing sideways and patent #5,443,036 explaining a method for “exercising a cat” by pointing a laser pointer and “selectively redirecting said beam out of the cat’s immediate reach to induce said cat to run and chase said beam and pattern of light around an exercise area.”
I think we may have another one to add to that list. Prisoner 201 lets us know that the USPTO, in their infinite wisdom, has granted a patent on building a snowman. Because, lord knows, without that, no one would have any incentive at all to make a snowman. I will admit that the patent does discuss a rather different way of making a snowman, involving “snow spheres.” But I do wonder if this is the proper use of the patent system. Anyway, go ahead and check out patent # 8,011,991 for inventor Ignacio Marc Asperas of Melville, NY, which is technically for an “Apparatus for facilitating the construction of a snow man/woman.” The patent itself declares: “The following is not a joke patent. Its completely serious and is a serious undertaking to obtain a patent.”
I don’t know. Something tells me that when you need to declare in the patent itself that it is not a joke patent… chances are… it is. I have to say that the description part of the patent is a fun read that made me laugh out loud multiple times. Here’s the opening paragraph:
The history of the snow man or snow woman is unknown. But, I have to say this. Whoever the first person was to think to form snow into a human figure was a genius. For untold years thereafter, children and adults alike have been thrilled and received joy in making and watching others make snowmen, err women. You know what I mean. At any rate, what is remarkable is that no one has ever thought, or at least reduced to practice, a way to make snow people easy and fun. I have done an abbreviated patent search and there is nothing relating to the subject of creating a snowman. Unbelievable since it is so much fun and considering the effort involved. But, if no one has thought of it, well, no one has thought of it.
My favorite line from the description may be the following:
[W]e are living in the 21st century now. We have created the Internet. China is getting ready to send a person to the moon. And we invented silly putty, perhaps one of the all-time greatest inventions a big kid ever invented. Can’t somebody build a better snow man?
Later, he wonders if his snowman will be “as revolutionary” as the wheel. Either way, whether you like the patent system or not, this is a pretty fun patent to read, and the description part explains a lot more than the almost unintelligible claims on the patent, with this one being the main one:
1. A building component apparatus for facilitating a construction of a snow man/woman, comprising: a spherically-shaped body that provides an interior structure of the snow man/woman that has an outer surface and an interior, the interior substantially lighter than when the interior is filled with snow; an adhesion surface provided on the outer surface of the spherically-shaped body that substantially increases the ability of the outer surface to adhere snow to the spherically-shaped body; wherein, the spherically-shaped body and adhesion surface form a building component for facilitating the construction of the snow man/woman; and a generator that generates an electric charge, the electric charge coupled to the outer surface.