Back-to-School Inventions

We’re not just lawyers and inventors, we’re people – and it only takes one letter to change PATENT to PARENT.  As many of us are dealing with the back-to-school frenzy, here are some fun patents to make the process easier . . . or at least more amusing.

Umbrella Backpack

Is it a schoolgirl? Or is it Mary Poppins? U.S. Application No. 13/532,780 is for an Umbrella Backpack and Deployment Mechanism. It claims a backpack from which you can deploy an umbrella when it is raining.  This application was eventually abandoned, although it seems like a pretty good idea for areas highly-susceptible to rain. Kids are always forgetting and losing their umbrellas.

Pencil with Spinning Eraser

This baby on the left, U.S. Application No. 11/684,850, was for a Mechanical Pencil with Battery Operated Spinning Eraser. It was designed to make erasing easier by motorizing the actual eraser. But wouldn’t too much pressure exerted on the pencil stop the eraser in its track? What kid has that type of control?  Perhaps this is why the application, as well, was eventually abandoned.

Talking Lunchbox

Your child can’t read yet, so you can’t include a cute note in his or her lunchbox. And owls delivering Howlers aren’t an option outside of Hogwarts. Never fear! U.S. Patent No. 6,347,706 is for you. This one actually issued, and is a Lunchbox with Voice Recording Mechanism for Message Delivery. In short, you can record a message every day that your child can access by pressing a button. I can imagine my three-year-old happily pressing the button to hear my voice several times during lunch. Over. And over. And over. I can see these being banned in schools, actually, along with those pesky fidget spinners. But I’d still totally buy it for her. Does it come in Paw Patrol?

Robot Pencil

She can have the lunchbox, but HE gets this cool pencil. U.S. Patent No. 4,561,184 is for a School Utensil and Toy Robot.  That’s right – a toy that doubles as a pen, compass and divider.  Or as my son would call it, a TRANSFORMER. Transformers, in case you’ve been sleeping for the last decade, are huge. What Optimus Prime wannabe wouldn’t love this?

Fidget Spinners

Speaking of fidget spinners, there are also patents on those. The most famous is the “original” fidget spinner patents, including U.S. Patent No. 5,591062 for a Spinning Toy. The abstract claims “A toy device which includes a center dome structure and a skirt is used as a spinning toy . . . to be spun on the finder to provide enjoyment and entertainment for adults and children.”  Catherine Hettinger filed the patent and its family two decades ago, envisioning her spinner as a way to entertain her young daughter. She held the patents for almost a decade before surrendering it because she could not afford the $400 renewal fee. If she had paid it, her fortunes – figuratively and literally – might be very different now.

School Simulation Game

Finally, because the school day isn’t long enough, what about U.S. Patent No. 4,368,889, for a Game Apparatus for Simulating School Experience?  Now you can play school after school!  This game, patented by an Arizona inventor, is for “simulating school experiences” with a board game “having an outer path (the Promotion Path) around the periphery thereof from which a plurality of inner winding paths (School Paths) may be entered and exited.  Associated with each School Path is a plurality of Benefit and Hazard cards from which a player must draw when his playing piece lands on certain designated spaces.”  You can play as a student or a teacher.  In fact, students and their teachers can play together.   Just what everyone wants to do after school!

If you need help with your back-to-school patent idea or other intellectual property, please send us a message. Our attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience and are licensed in Arizona, Connecticut, and New York. We can handle federal intellectual property matters in any U.S. state and assist with international matters. For even more information, be sure to connect with us on Facebook.

Post written by patent attorney Wendy Akbar and edited by social media attorney Ruth Carter.

Images courtesy of the USPTO.

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