It's been more than a month since I wrote up one of these posts that helps you get to know me, your humble and dynamic blogger. So far, most of these ice-breaker posts have had to do with my pop-culture preferences... but know I'm going to actually describe my profession. Take a shot of espresso right now to remain awake.
As I mentioned when I started this blog, and then again when I took up blogging again late last year, I'm a patent attorney. "What's that?" you ask? Well, as some of you may or may not know... the United States is one of the many, many countries that awards patents for technological innovations that are sufficiently new, and give the inventor (or, more likely, the inventor's employee), the right to exclude others from making or using the invention for a period of about 17 years (give or take a year or two depending on how long the patent application was pending).
Wow, that's a lot of words, and I didn't really tell you anything... now did I? Basically, anything that is useful, new, and "non-obvious" (a fancy patent law term for "not just a minor, inconsequential change") can be patented. There has actually been a lot of press in the last few years about patents, and most of it has been negative (if you've heard the term "patent troll," then you've heard some of that negative press). Despite all the bad press, I firmly believe that a good, strong patent system is crucial for the future financial success of the United States, and I'll happily debate any of you in the comments if you'd like to argue otherwise.
But anyway, that's not really what I wanted to talk about now. Basically, I wanted to show you a few of the patent applications that I've actually worked on that I think are kind of cool, and that cover actual products that you can go to the store and buy (or that you can buy online). None of these patents are particularly earth shattering, and none of them will cure cancer or anything like that. They are just kind of interesting little inventions that have actually been put into practice (you'd be surprised... but the ideas behind most patents don't end up in a product at all). So, here we go, a small sampling of products that I wrote the patent application for (or at least one of the patent applications):
1. The Trick Percursion "Throw Off"
2. ITW E-Z Anchor "Twist-N-Lock" Wall Anchor
"Stud Solver" that lets you put your anchor anywhere, including into a wood stud).
3. Wii Racing Wheel with Motion Plus Compatability
Mario Kart. You might have also heard of the MotionPlus accessory for the Nintendo Wii controller (or WiiMote), which is a device that you can attach to the WiiMote to increase its motion sensitivity and accuracy. The Wii Racing Wheel that I worked on included a little pocket at the back of the wheel that you could plug the MotionPlus accessory into so that you could use this Racing Wheel for any driving games that supported MotionPlus (which right now, there aren't any, so this isn't really a very useful invention... but maybe there will be a MotionPlus driving game some day).
My point is, sometimes patent attorneys get to work on something that you may have actually heard of. Sure, most of it is as boring as watching glue dry... but sometimes you get to work on something kind of interesting (where "kind of interesting" is a very relative term). Anyway, enjoy the rest of your Monday everybody!