Public: Intellectual Property
Impractical Invention Class for Patents   (+1, -2)  [vote for, against]
A better system for all

To qualify for a patent, the applicant must show the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) that the invention is useful. Because the patent office does not have a very high standard of usefulness, the PTO issues many patents for impractical inventions. Then listing these together with valuable patents, patent searches for practical inventions become very difficult. Who wants to read about Self-Tipping Hats and Automatic Draining Spittoon patents while looking for new products to manufacture in this time of increased competition in a global economy, war on terrorism, political prisoners in Cuba, economic uncertainty, high cost of lending and increasingly higher gasoline prices.

What I propose is a new patent classification for U.S. patents. The class will be called Impractical Inventions, which qualify for issuance as a patent, but listed separate and apart from valuable ones. This new class would make searching for valuable patents faster and more reliable while preserving the distinction of those inventors who patent for bragging rights instead of economic benefit. The patent fees for impractical inventions could be less than the valuable ones because special rules could provide for impractical inventions to be issued without undue searching or prosecution, in a summary process, the application received, published and issued, perhaps within a few days or weeks at the most.

The Impractical Patents would also be a source of amusement and entertainment for the pubic that will delight and foster gossip regarding the many impractical inventions protected by a patent. The new classification would make it easier for the press to publish and comment on, to increase readership and revenue.

El Dueno
-- el dueno, Jun 07 2008

If you are looking for new products to manufacture you wouldn't be looking at patents. They are there to protect the interests of people who already manufacture (or are intending to manufacture) and get rich on the said invention.
-- neelandan, Jun 08 2008

I spend a lot of time searching through patent databases as part of my job. I can assure you that impractical and amusing patents are far outweighed by practical and boring patents. It's actually a pleasant surprise when I find an amusing patent during a search.

Having said that, I think the current classification system could easily be adapted to include an amusing patent flag.

Using the current classification system it's easy to find a number of wacky patents. For example perpetual motion machines can be found with the following IPC classifications: H02K 53/00, H02N 11/00, F03B 17/04, F03G 7/10
-- xaviergisz, Jun 08 2008

But "Impractical" is often a very subjective term.

In the days of extensive chewing tobacco use, I can assure you, that draining a spitoon would have been quite a daunting task, quite along the lines of emptying out the grease traps of multi-use grilles. A spitoon that drained itself would have not only helped to clear the air in a lobby, but would have saved the backs, noses, and sanity of many a hotel worker.

In those same days, a Tesla Coil of any practical was little more than a curiosity, and due to the strident explanations of it's uses in both civilian, and military applications, it has largely remained so to this day, although savvy halfbakers find ways to protect their cars, and other prized objects with them.

A good invention is like a rubber band. It can be used for far more than the inventer imagines, and marking something as impractical is likely to leve it hidden from view for years to come.
-- ye_river_xiv, Jun 08 2008

random, halfbakery