Unusual patents | Intellectual property and business law blog

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Steve O'Donnell, Ph.D. Registered Patent Attorney

Unusual patents

This post from Mother Jones points out 10 “weird gems” from the patent office. Similar articles pop up on occasion. I’m pretty sure everyone has seen the mustache soup-guard patent. I think that was in a Ripley’s Believe it or Not book I had in third grade.

These are strange inventions, and it’s easy to laugh at them, but with a little luck, each could have been a hit.

Consider some of the products you see advertised on TV during non-prime time hours. I don’t want to single out anyone, but some of these things flat out stupid. But you know what, they’re selling. Sometimes, all it takes is an ad budget and the right price point to have a hit. If a product isn’t too expensive, I might buy it for the novelty or to keep my kids quiet for a couple minutes.

If the mustache guard was sold as something “for the man that has everything,” and it was only a couple bucks, I could see it selling. I particularly like the banana phone cover, but even the burrito on a stick could have been something if it was sold as a microwavable snack.

The point is, it’s hard to tell what product is going to be a hit, and what will wind up in a “weird gems” article in 20 years.