Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2001/01/24/despair_com_trademarks/

Despair.com trademarks :-(

And reveals unique cat patent

By Kieren McCarthy

Posted in Media, 24th January 2001 13:19 GMT

Satirical Web site Despair.com claims it has trademarked the frowny emoticon - you know, :-( - and will sue any mutha that gets in its way.

A press release on its site exclaims: "Despair filed suit yesterday in a US District Court in Dallas, alleging trademark infringement against over seven million individual Internet users. The company has requested separate injunctions granted against each. It is believed to be the largest single trademark dispute in history."

The list was compiled thanks to the FBI's Carnivore tapping system, Despair explained. It also gives praise to Amazon boss Jeff Bezos for being a "true innovator". "He's really inspired a new movement in the dotcom universe - frivolous, destructive intellectual property lawsuits. I couldn't be happier to be a part of the revolution."

There follows an amusing fudged picture of Despair COO Dr. E L Kersten with Jeff and his wife in a restaurant - where apparently Dr Kersten informed Jeff that he was one of the seven million under investigation.

It's all pretty funny stuff, so if you fancy a laugh, check it out here.

However, one thing in particular that caught our eye was the sentence: "Andrew Kirkus, co-editor of IP Magazine, offered a less dire assessment of the grant, 'Whether the issuance is a dangerous one remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that it appears that someone has finally bested patent 5443036 for most ridiculous intellectual property filing in history'."

Patent 5,443,036 is real and titled "Method to exercise a cat". The abstract reads as follows: "A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct." The patent was filed in November 1993 and granted in 1995, and is frankly hilarious - and ludicrous. It's worth it for the picture itself.

So, get rid of the mid-week blues and have a chuckle here. ®

Related links

Despair's trademark story
Cat exercising patent
Stunning pic of cat patent

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