This post was first published on 27th September, 2011.
USPTO has granted a patent for building snowmen/women just before the arrival of winter. As most of the people across the world stand at the dawn of winter arrival, waiting for snowfall, Ignacio Marc Asperas has already received his early Christmas gift.
Ignacio received a patent (US8011991B2) on 06 Sep 2011 for his invention titled “Apparatus for facilitating the construction of a snow man/woman” which was filed back in 2006. The invention discloses methods for creating the spherical shape of the body, rolling symmetrical snow balls, building arms, snow shoulders, uneven boulders that can make the snowman look like it has a “big caboose” and other snowman body parts. Further, the patent discloses a method to form an adhesion surface, as well as some of the trials and tribulations. The patent comprises of cute pictures of snowmen.
Ignacio calls original inventor of the snowman as a ‘genius’ in the patent. Further, he tried to outline every obstacle faced by him in order to fulfill his quest to build the “Ultimate Snowman”. Ignacio explains every detail to build a snowman by employing static electricity which would attract and hold dry snow onto the sphere resulting in an extremely lightweight snowman. Further, Ignacio warns of temperature rise. As the temperature rises, the snowman will melt, compact on itself and deform, possibly falling over. “Happy smiles fade into frowns.” Ignacio explains that “Compacted snow is virtually like ice” in the background section of the patent.
In the era, where big companies such as Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, HTC and so on are busy with patent lawsuit war, Ignacio snowmen/snowwomen as a whole, which has been patented is considered to be another bizarre patent in the long list of bizarre patents such as the Exercising a Cat (US5443036) and the Sealed Crustless Sandwich (US6004596).
Ignacio believes that his snowman may not be as revolutionary as the invention of wheel and toaster oven was, but he is very excited about conceiving an idea of snowman apparatus and reducing the same into practice.
Further, Ignacio warns the readers that his patent is not a joke, instead, it’s completely serious by stating “The following is not a joke patent. It’s completely serious and is a serious undertaking to obtain a patent.”
Reading Ignacio’s patent is quite interesting as it’s written in a conversational way and is bit humorous. Some of the gratifying lines from Ignacio’s patent are:
The history of the snow man or snow woman is unknown. But, I have to say this. Whoever the first person was to think to form snow into a human figure was a genius. For untold years thereafter, children and adults alike have been thrilled and received joy in making and watching others make snowmen, err women. You know what I mean. At any rate, what is remarkable is that no one has ever thought, or at least reduced to practice, a way to make snow people easy and fun. I have done an abbreviated patent search and there is nothing relating to the subject of creating a snowman. Unbelievable since it is so much fun and considering the effort involved. But, if no one has thought of it, well, no one has thought of it.
[W]e are living in the 21st century now. We have created the Internet. China is getting ready to send a person to the moon. And we invented silly putty, perhaps one of the all-time greatest inventions a big kid ever invented. Can’t somebody build a better snow man?
The first independent claim recites:
1. A building component apparatus for facilitating a construction of a snow man/woman, comprising: a spherically-shaped body that provides an interior structure of the snow man/woman that has an outer surface and an interior, the interior substantially lighter than when the interior is filled with snow; an adhesion surface provided on the outer surface of the spherically-shaped body that substantially increases the ability of the outer surface to adhere snow to the spherically-shaped body; wherein, the spherically-shaped body and adhesion surface form a building component for facilitating the construction of the snow man/woman; and a generator that generates an electric charge, the electric charge coupled to the outer surface.
I would like to advice people that they should not break their back to make snowman this winter, instead they should follow Ignacio’s steps but, they should also be wary of a potential patent infringement.
Image by P. Williams
Author: Sanjiv Saran
Image source: here