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patent jokes?

Woody wrote:

Hi Fred:  I think that your message is 27 days early :-).

Wayne replies:

I don't think it is a joke.  You would be amazed at what people have been able to patent.  I know of a company that in the early 1960's patented a finned heat sink on the side of a car radio as a "transistor protector".  The patent application claimed that the purpose of the finned heat sink is to protect the TO-3 transistor case from physical trauma.  The company collected royalties from other companies who needed to put a finned heat sink on a car radio for it's obvious primary purpose - to dissipate heat (finned heat sinks are a "prior art" going back to the 19th century).  I told the patent attorney I thought the patent application was blatantly unethical and technically incorrect, he said "we got the patent and we collected royalties, so it must be okay".  ARRRGGGH.

Wayne Estes W9AE
Mundelein, IL, USA
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