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Inventions that might make you say “What???”

Some inventions are important.  Some relate to complex technology.  Some are strange, silly, dangerous, or all three wrapped together.  Next week we’ll post about a more serious side of patents.  But for this week, here are some more examples of inventions that might make you say “What???”

When I was a kid, my dog would chase sticks in Lake Mendota until she was too tired to stand.  If only I had known that another “inventor” got there first.  In a glaring example of the patent office making a terrible decision, here’s a patent on . . . a stick.  Don’t worry, nobody was ever sued for this and it isn’t in force any longer.

Again on the electrical side of things – would you try to cure hiccups by shocking your face?  Me neither.  But the inventor of this electrified cup seems to think so. Finally, too lazy to turn your ice cream cone yourself?  No problem, let a machine do it for you!

And while you’re at it, why not have your toddler mow the lawn.  What could go wrong?


Done playing and ready for a snack?  Don’t let bugs ruin your picnic:  just electrify the tablecloth!  Thankfully, human diners should feel only a “slight tingling sensation.”  Seems worth it to me.

Here’s a famous one within patent circles, also related to pets.  The patent protects “a method of inducing aerobic exercise in an unrestrained cat,” using “an intense coherent beam of invisible light.”  In other words, making your cat chase a laser pointer.  So is everybody in this video about to get sued?  Never fear, aside from being clearly invalid, this patent is also expired.