It used to be that an invention had to be new and novel over prior art and could not simply be an extension of an invention that could have been easily anticipated by someone skilled in similar arts.
Therefore, I was dismayed when I saw this patent highlighted in the tech-news. One, because it was insane to believe that a patent could be issued for a process that I used when I made my cat crazy with a flashlight prior to the issuance of the patent. And two, because it points to the insanity of our patent system and the litigious trolls who attempt to extort money from others – believing most people will just fork over the money rather than deal with the cost of a lawsuit defense.
When you pull out a laser pointer and get your cat to chase the dot of light around your house*, you are using a patented method of cat exercise. The rights are owned by Kevin Amiss and Martin Abbott (both of Virginia), who patented it in the early 1990s. In the abstract, they describe this method of cat exercise as:
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.
In other words, they own the rights on doing this with ferrets, as well.
This might also be a good time to note an NPR story from this week, which documents IBM and Halliburton attempting to patent the process of patent trolling.
THIS PATENT IS INVALID!
Not only is this invention not new and novel over prior art, but it merely replaces the light of a flashlight with that of a laser.
AND THERE IS A TECHNICAL FLAW!
What cat or human can see “invisible light?”
Bottom line …
This is more foolishness from the legal profession which has decimated our country from within.
"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius