The Truth is Stranger Than...
The European Patent Office (EPO) has a slick promotional team well versed in the art of social media. Recently they've been tweeting, amongst other things, the above image of a cartoon from their 'Seven Deadly Sins of the Inventor' advice page. This cartoon, number five in a series of seven, is entitled 'No One Wants It'.
These cartoons have been around for a number of years, and they're an effective way of making a point, however, this one always makes me smile because it reminds me of one of my favourite patent drawings -
This US Patent (US RE37624 E1) was granted to Annette Pappas and Nita Vaccaro back in 2002. Don't worry, aliens aren't amongst us, but this design solves the problem of what to do when one of your tights has a ladder - you simply swap the damaged stocking for the spare. Ah ha! - one could exclaim - the EPO have got it wrong. This patent proves that there is a need and desire for such a product.
Unfortunately, as many inventors have learnt to their cost, just because you have a patent does not mean that you have a marketable product. This one was quietly allowed to lapse in 2010 for non-payment of renewal fees. So the advice that 'No One Wants It' would appear to still stand.
However, as previously mentioned, this cartoon has been around for a while and I wonder if it predates the patent. If so, it's not cited as prior art in the patent search. I am aware of a UK patent for a 'Door-Bell for Dogs' which was challenged by an eagle-eyed patent examiner. In that case the validity of the patent was questioned because previously Dennis the Menace, from the popular Beano comic book, had invented one for his dog Gnasher!
To see the EPO's 'Seven Deadly Sins of the
Inventor' go to: