Filing a Patent

Recently, I have undertaken to file a patent. At the time, it seemed like a good alternative to gouging out my spleen with a pair of rusty spoons, but in hindsight, I think I may have made the wrong choice.

In essence, a patent is a way of keeping people from stealing your brilliant secret ideas by letting the government publish them on the internet. (A fun drinking game is to keep taking shots until the previous sentence makes complete sense. This game can be played with most ideas the government comes up with.)

Because having lots of patents is one of the many varied and pointless tasks nations concern themselves with, the government has developed an amazingly simple patent application process which is only slightly more complicated than conducting brain surgery on an earthworm in the dark with a bowling pin.

The way you file a patent is by translating perfectly understandable English sentences into garbled legalese (Example: "Hello" vs. "Address by party of the first part to party of the second part heard by other parties of other parts as specified by the Greeting Code subsection 118 part C paragraph 113") then selecting a completely random string of numbers. The random string of numbers may or may not correspond to the appropriate form you need to fill out--there's really no way to be sure. There are thousands of forms with cryptic titles like (I am not kidding) "Petition for Revival of an International Application for Patent Designating the US Abandoned Unavoidably under 37 CFR 1.137(a)." I think I speak for all patent-applicants and otherwise concerned citizens when I say, "Huh?"

Presently, it is my intention to staple some of my old English homework on front and send in the form, just to see what happens. Since there is absolutely no way of telling what that form actually does, I will just have to hope that I do not incidentally rip open a hole in the spacetime continuum.

Of course, anything so dark and sinister as what I describe here clearly must have a government agency behind it. The diabolical agency in question is none other than the United States Patent and Trademark Office. All of this form filing and processing business is handled by the U.S. Patent office. In fact, the precise legal purpose of the US Patent Office--I am quoting the Constitution-- is "to see if it is possible to destroy the universe just by making people fill out enough forms."

The patent office does not specify how many forms you might expect to fill out in successfully applying for a patent, but rough theoretical models of the paper consumed seem to indicate that the earth ran out of trees in 1976. So I am not quite sure what those tall leafy things outside are. I'm not sure I even remember what I was trying to patent.

If you've read your Bible, you will recall that in its prelapsarian state, "The earth was formless and empty..." (Genesis 1:2). Yes, that's right, no forms! It was a perfect world. But you can bet when Adam screwed things up there was a lot of paperwork to be done, and so bureaucracy was introduced into the world. FACT: Satan's first job after high school was as a patent clerk.

Recently the US Patent Office turned down a patent on a warp drive, requesting a working model. I suppose the patent office thought they were just joking. However, if the gentlemen in question can figure out the patent system, it's hardly suprising that they also figured out superluminal transport. At that point, it becomes downright trivial. (Most persons who figure out the patent system immediately become transcendant beings, who subsequently spend the rest of their days on the ethereal plane sipping Starbucks coffee, discussing Plato and Socrates, and occasionally returning to earth just long enough to hide your car keys.)

In conclusion, do not let your children listen to rock music. Played backwards it is actually excerpts from the rules and regulations of the U.S. Patent Office. And for the love of all that is good in this world, please do not have any original ideas. Your life will be much happier without them.