The following is an article from The Annals of Improbable research.
(Image credit: Flickr user Miss Yellow)
by Alice Shirrell Kaswell, Improbable Research staff
Ryan Thomas Grace, an American patent attorney, submitted two related patent applications for himself in 2003.
Mr. Grace's innovations are perhaps best expressed in Mr. Grace's own words. Here are some of the essential passages from the documents.
"Method and Instrument for Proposing Marriage to an Individual," Ryan Thomas Grace, U.S. patent application #10/378423, filed March 3, 2003. Grace writes:
As the industrial revolution has passed and the computer revolution has taken afoot, society has been submerged with innovation and novel ideas. With the regularity of such innovation, society has become more prone to demand novel ideas and innovative thinkers. This bias toward innovation has raised the bar not only for industries, computers, and manufacturing, but also for individuals involved in relationships. Individuals want their relationship to be as unique and novel as the ideas that sparked the industrial and computer revolution. Furthermore, individuals in a relationship demand such uniqueness in their marriage proposal so that the individual can tout such uniqueness and novelty in the relationship and have a written record of such events....
Accordingly, a need exists for a unique, novel, and recorded method of proposing marriage to an individual.
In this invention an improved method for a proposor to propose to an individual is disclosed. The method of the present invention generally comprises the steps of meeting an individual; exchanging names with the individual; drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual....
In the drawings, the method for a proposor to propose to an individual is generally referred to by the reference numeral 10. Method 10 generally comprises the steps of meeting an individual; exchanging names with the individual; drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual. Preferably, the government document is a patent application. The patent application may claim the method by which the proposor will make a marriage proposal to the individual. The proposor could then use the method claimed in the patent application to propose to the individual. Furthermore, the individual is preferably named Ellen Renee Colyer (hereinafter "Ellie") and the proposor is preferably named Ryan Thomas Grace (hereinafter "Ryan"). Ryan is more fully described as set forth herein below. Ellie generally comprises a kind, loving individual who has not only been a large support for Ryan during many pressing times, but has also been a large influence on how Ryan approaches life (more so than Ellie will ever let herself realize).
Expressing Gratitude for School
"Method and Instrument for Expressing Gratitude for a Scholastic Experience," Ryan Thomas Grace, U.S. patent application #10/440895, filed May 19, 2003. Grace makes the following claims (and many others):
A method for expressing gratitude for a scholastic experience by converting a patent application into an expression of gratitude document, comprising: drafting a patent application to disclose an invention, wherein the patent application is drafted in a tangible medium; drafting an expression of gratitude for a scholastic experience, wherein the expression of gratitude is drafted in a tangible medium; incorporating the expression of gratitude for a scholastic experience into the patent application, wherein the patent application is converted into an expression of gratitude document for expressing gratitude during an expression of gratitude event....
The method of claim 1 wherein at least one of said claims of the expression of gratitude document recites: "I have no idea where to begin in thanking you two for all you have done for me over the last twenty six years. Your support throughout high school, college and law school has allowed me to pursue many of my interests that would have been set aside if it was not for your help. This time and education you two have given me are irreplaceable. The example you two have set has driven me in more ways then I care to express in a patent application, and the manner in which you two have approached life has given me a whole new outlook on my own fixture. I hope someday, in some way, I can repay you two for all you have done. However corny this may be, I know of no other way to express the sincerity of my gratitude. Thank you...."
The method of claim 1 further comprising signing the expression of gratitude document and depositing the expression of gratitude document with the United States Postal Service.... The method of claim 1 further comprising sending the expression of gratitude document to the United States Patent and Trademark Office....
[In the diagram] Reference numeral 12 generally refers to the step of providing a beneficiary and at least one benefactor. In many situations, step 12 will include a second benefactor. In such a situation, the first benefactor is preferably named Ted Grace (hereinafter "Ted"), the second benefactor is preferably named Irene Grace (hereinafter "Irene"), and the beneficiary is preferably named Ryan Grace (hereinafter "Ryan"). Ted and Irene might also be the father and mother of Ryan. Preferably, Ted and Irene are supportive parents who have been a significant influence on Ryan.
At some point during the relationship between Ted, Irene and Ryan, it might be desirable for Ryan to express gratitude to Ted and Irene for a benefit. Such situations might include Ted and Irene supporting Ryan throughout high school, college, the patent bar, and law school. In the situation where Ryan decides to express gratitude to Ted and Irene, Ryan drafts the expression of gratitude in a government document as generally defined by drafting step 14. Preferably, the government document is a patent application. Where the government document is a patent application, the patent application may have the expression of gratitude disclosed and claimed therein. The patent application may also disclose and claim the method by which an expression of gratitude may occur. Such a method disclosed and claimed in the patent application might also be the very method by which the expression of gratitude did occur. The patent application could be the actual expression of gratitude.
The Patent Response
On September 28, 2007 the patent office officially gave both of Mr. Grace's applications the status "Abandoned---Failure to Respond to an Office Action."
Both inventions are thus available for anyone to use without fear of Mr. Grace filing and winning a lawsuit for patent infringement.
This article is republished with permission from the May-June 2013 of the Annals of Improbable Research. You can purchase back issues of the magazine or subscribe to receive future issues, in printed or in ebook form. Or get a subscription for someone as a gift! Visit their website for more research that makes people LAUGH and then THINK.