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Welcome to April 1, the internet’s unofficial celebration of click bait titles and hoax articles. Over the years we’ve come across some interesting patents, and in the spirit of April Fools Day, thought we’d share some of the funnier ones.


Santa Claus Detector

The “useful” hurdle of 35 U.S.C. 101 isn’t all that difficult to clear when you consider U.S. Patent 5,523,741, for a “Santa Claus Detector” which describes “a children’s Christmas Stocking device for visually signaling the arrival of Santa Claus by illuminating an externally visible light source”. Our initial impression was that this device was a stocking that employed a pressure sensitive switch, remotely setting off a light to alert that child that Santa was actually present. Instead, there is a chord attached to a switch in the stocking, which “Santa” “accidentally” pulls on his way out. This lets the child know that Santa had arrived during the previous night. Perhaps some children need lights (in addition to the myriad of oddly shaped objects stuffing the stocking) to signal the arrival of Santa Claus, though we have yet to meet one.

Anti–Eating Face Mask

Our next contestant is 4,344,424, the “Anti–Eating Face Mask.” Patented in 1982, this head restraint with a grill over the mouth looks like a medieval torture device that’s been anachronistically repurposed. The grill is designed to prevent the user from eating, however the design disclosed in the drawings would tend to indicate that a dedicated user could simply eat foods with a narrow cross section. Maybe this where they got the idea for Hannibal Lecter’s famous mask in Silence of the Lambs.


User-Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User’s Buttocks

Finally, and definitely our favorite, is the “User-Operated Amusement Apparatus for Kicking the User’s Buttocks” (6,293,874). Essentially, this is a self–powered “kick in the butt” machine, which we can only assume is a masochistic substitute for morning coffee.

Bottom line, the patent office doesn’t have an “absurdity” standard you have to overcome. No matter how unusual or insane your idea is, we can help you protect it.