Something Fun You Can Do On the Internet

The following is a true story

In 2008 I was hired as a United States Patent Examiner. Patent examining is, believe it or not, a pretty boring job. To do the job, you are supposed to examine about one application a day. Ideally, you spend an hour reading and understanding the application, six hours looking through a database to see if it exists or if it’s an obvious combination of things that exist, and an hour writing your findings. This would be bearable if the subject matter were interesting. A buddy of mine was in the sex toys division, which was great material for cocktail parties. I was in the valves division, which is pretty low in the ranks for interesting subject matter. I had a friend who was in spittoons, which is somehow its own division (who is even patenting a spittoon these days?) He threatened to quit and they transferred him to valves as an upgrade, so at least valves wasn’t the lowest of the low.

To deal with the doldrums of patent examining I did what any reasonable individual would do and searched the patent database for ridiculous things to see how many hits there were. The following is a list of highlights from my searches of the US Patent Database:

Lazy Son: 2
Huge Mistake: 1
Pie Eating Contest: 2
Horrible Stench: 5
Urine Soaked: 120
Unbelievable: 398
Unflushable: 26
Literally Impossible: 109
Unpossible: 1
Lunatic: 15
Worst Enemy: 23
Satan: 106
Dinosaur-Size: 1
Totally Annihilate: 2
Pie hole: 8
Die trying: 7
Hellhole: 1
Unforgivable: 141
Doomed to Fail: 65
Dunk Tank: 29
Missing Brain: 1
Accidental Child: 3
Godless: 34
God Awful: 1
God is Forsaken: 1
Whirlybird: 9
Suicide Pact: 3
Body Glitter: 9
Miracle Cure: 9
Haywire: 48
Zombie: 292
Worst Ever: 16
Man-eater: 2
Eternal Life: 24
Stink Bug: 460
Dirt Encrusted: 14
Vestigial Tail: 2
Bogeyman: 1
Red Gatorade: 0
Orange Gatorade: 1

I’m not sure if those nine people ever got patents for their Miracle Cures. Like most patent examiners, I quit after a couple of years and never looked back. Still, I like to think that there’s one person out there who enjoyed 20 years of legal protection for their Huge Mistake.

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