My recent investigations into the mysteries of the United States Patent Office, well not so mysterious as it is undiscerning and undiscriminating, has unearthed a whole host of opportunistic patents. That is, the patenting of stuff we've all been doing, independent of the patent process, for centuries. The practice is not unlike hearing small children lay claim to something by shouting, "I called it first!" Unfortunately, this isn't a game; this is bureaucracy in its worst, most inefficient form. And United States patent 6360693 is perhaps the best (worst?) example of this practice.
If you were shocked by the patent for a bull's eye toilet sticker, appalled by the Smiths' patent for the combover , then brace yourself because I promise you aren't going to believe this one. United States patent 6360693 is for an Animal Toy. So, what's wrong with that you say? Nothing. Except this "animal toy" is a stick. That's right, a stick!
Animal Toy aka Stick
The toy is formed of any of a number of materials including rubber, plastic, or wood including wood composites and is solid. (The underline is mine for emphasis.) Apparently, the inventor, Ross Eugene Long III, knew he was reaching with this one, so he went a little further: The toy is adapted to float by including a material therein that is lighter than water.
Yes, you read the patent description correctly. United States patent 6360693 is for a wooden stick that floats! Where's the creativity? What happened to American ingenuity? Why didn't Long take a stroll through a Petco store, or the pet aisle of his local grocery store, before embarking on the patent process? Heck! Why didn't Long go for a walk in the park or woods? Has the world gone mad?! Or have we simply run out of good ideas?
I'll let you be the judge of this patent. In the meantime, I'm going to begin compiling a list of stuff I want to patent:
1. Method for walking (you put one foot in front of the other).
2. Method for putting on pants (one leg at a time).
3. Method for opening doors (turn handle or knob and push).
You get the picture.
By the way, with regards to the list above, those ideas are merely to help me illustrate a point, they are not yours to use at will or patent in your name. The ideas are all mine. I'm sorry people, but I called them first!