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Innovation is at the heart of the business of so many of Hamilton Locke’s clients. With our clients developing cutting edge solutions in the technology sector and beyond, we are lucky enough to work with innovative thinkers on a daily basis. Given the key role that intellectual property plays in our clients’ successes, we wanted to take the opportunity to join with the international IP community in celebrating World Intellectual Property Day.
Thirty years after the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) Convention came into force on 26 April 1970, WIPO member states designated 26 April as ‘World Intellectual Property Day’. World IP Day celebrates the role intellectual property rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. It offers a unique opportunity to join others around the world in appreciating the contribution of IP to the technological innovation.
To celebrate World IP Day 2021, Hamilton Locke will be taking a look back in time to five of the strangest patent applications ever filed.
1. Drone Delivery of Coffee (2018)
IBM, the patent leader in the United States, is known for their focus on emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain and quantum computing. However, in 2018, they filed a patent for an out-of-character innovation: drone delivery of coffee based on the cognitive state of an individual (US Patent No. 10040551B2). Using personal profiles, calendar information and sleep cycle data, the drone will be able to identify when an individual needs a coffee, and deliver a coffee to the individual.
2. High Five Machine (1993)
Are you trying to avoid the dark and traumatic experience of raising your hand for a high five, only to be ignored? This can be achieved using Albert Cohen’s 1993 patent for an ‘apparatus for stimulating a high five’ (US Patent No. 5356330A). Consisting of a fake hand which attaches to your arm, Cohen notes in his patent application that the spring-based motion even simulates the sound of a real high five.
3. The ‘Beerbella’ (2003)
A small umbrella which is removably attached to your beverage to shade it from the direct rays of the sun, preventing the universally-dreaded warm beer (US Patent No. 6637447B2). The umbrella surface can be decorated and has pivot functionality so that it can be aesthetically angled. It’s sure to make you the envy of all your colleagues at Friday drinks.
4. Vibrating Tattoo (2011)
In 2011, Nokia filed for a patent on a magnetic, vibrating tattoo which would alert users about incoming calls, texts and even a dead battery (US Patent No. 20210104863A1). It could also be customised to emit different vibration patterns to distinguish between each unique caller, such as a ‘flutter’ for your significant other or a ‘mighty itch’ for your boss. Although clearly invented prior to the existence of group chats, it will ensure you don’t miss a call or text ever again.
5. Anti-Eating Face Mask (1982)
In the COVID-induced era of face masks, the anti-eating mask patented by Lucy Barnaby no longer seems out of place (US Patent No. 4344424A). It includes a cup-shaped component which conforms to the shape of the chin of the user, together with detachable straps to prevent the ingestion of snacks. Particularly useful for those who can’t resist the temptation of raiding the snacks in the work kitchen.
Levity aside, patents (and IP assets generally) can be incredibly powerful tools when building and growing the value of a business. They can also add significant value for those looking to raise capital, or in the event of an exit from the business. If you would like to discuss IP protection and commercialisation strategies for your business, contact Hamilton Locke IP & Technology Partner Sarah Gilkes or Senior Associate Ben Cameron.
In the meantime, wishing you a happy World IP Day!