“Necessity is the mother of invention. The father is unknown.”
Luckily, there’s such a thing called “patent pending”. Otherwise, we’ll be flooded with silly patents like “Retractable Table Top for a Toilet” and “Penile Volumetric Measuring Device”.
Patently Silly is a site that archives real patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office for some of the silliest inventions you would ever come across. Part of the problem is because patents are awarded for something that is novel, useful and non-obvious, although I’m not so sure about the useful part.
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