Creative license

IP attorney gets a kick out of wacky patent ideas

By Sheila Pursglove
Legal News

Deer and many other species of wildlife have an acute sense of smell. But they won’t catch so much as a whiff of a hunter if he’s garbed from head to toe in the patented “Odor Absorbing Article of Clothing,” the brainchild of a West Michigan inventor.

Of course, the critters might just keel over and die laughing.

The somewhat bizarre hunting outfit is just one of many patented ideas that inventors hope will catch on with outdoor sportsmen. That same hunter might be a potential customer for the “Scent Containment System for Hunting Blinds,” with scent-impervious walls and removable light-transmissive, disposable, scent-impervious windows that are readily penetrable by an arrow or bullet.

“For some patented inventions, it seems folks had a bit too much time on their hands,” says Monte Falcoff, a patent and trademark lawyer with Harness Dickey in Troy.
While these inventions did not come across his desk, Falcoff gets a kick from seeing some of the more unusual ideas out there.

“Nevertheless, you never know which invention will be the next big hit. It’s the independent inventor’s dream to cash in big by licensing his or her patent to a manufacturer who then sells the product worldwide.

“But I find the world rarely beats a path to your door even if you’ve invented a better mouse trap - in fact, it usually takes a lot of hard work and industry contacts for the independent inventor to license or sell his or her invention. It’s clear, however, the inventors of these ‘unusual’ patents were very creative individuals who had a fun time conceiving their patented devices.”

Robin Hood and William Tell would have had a field day with the “Hunting Arrow Tracking System” that will let a hunter locate an arrow — even if it’s stuck in a critter — with a transmitter in the arrow and a transceiver in combination with a GPS positioning system to monitor and relay radio frequency signals from a battery powered microchip in the arrow.

 The hunter might also enjoy the “Portable Rifle or Shotgun Aiming Seat Apparatus and Kit,” erectable on the ground or as part of a ladder or tree stand.

Fishermen may drool over an apparatus using a remote controlled boat to deliver the hooked portion of a fishing line to the fishing area; or perhaps a fishing lure that sprays water droplets fore and aft of the lure, created by a Battle Creek entrepreneur; or the “Ice Fishing Tip-Up Display” featuring a flag and flashing light. Duck hunters may find a “Field Conversion Decoy” useful, a mounting device to convert floating waterfowl decoys for use in a dry field.

If hunting isn’t your fall sport, perhaps politics is — especially with an election in the offing. In September, an inventor in Plymouth patented an Educational Voting Game, an online voting game that teaches participants the mechanics behind running for office. Registered users can pretend to run for local or national office — even for president — and participate as voters, or do neither, and simply observe results as they roll in. Players can even provide photos and video clips disclosing their views on political issues.
In 2011, a California inventor patented the “Save Democracy Election System,” aimed at eliminating election rigging and hacking, enhancing security, reducing cost and eliminating time spent standing in line to vote. Each office or proposition would be printed on a separate playing-card size card that would be inserted in corresponding ballot boxes, while an odometer would tabulate and provide a running count.

On the lighter side of autumn activities, ever wonder where Halloween novelties come from? As examples of goofy creativity, an inventor in New Jersey created an audible toy ghost figure in 1992; and in 2003, an Arizona entrepreneur patented a carvable, re-usable polyurethane artificial Halloween pumpkin that can be used with a light source.