Archive for March, 2014

Patent Pending

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

I have taken notice of an interesting trend in companies patenting anything and everything they can think of. I believe it was Apple that first made me pay attention to this protectionist policy, but likely it was occurring long before. It is certainly making patent lawyers richer.

Some of the more interesting patents I’ve seen are Apple’s contention they invented the rectangle with round corners (apparently everyone else must now make mobile phones circular), a research company trying to patent human DNA, and someone applied a patent for using a swing (seriously- the swing is to go side to side instead of front to back).

Not to be undone, Tim Horton’s (Canada’s coffee giant) has a patent pending for a cardboard coffee cup sleeve (patent 2458487).  You say the coffee sleeve has been in use for years (see Apple’s rectangular design)? You are surely mistaken. This is a new and improved cardboard sleeve, although the difference in design escapes my scrutiny.

All of the above has inspired me to patent the obvious. I have applied a patent for rectangular shaped (sharp corners as not to infringe on Apple) pieces of paper layered together with each page containing printed information. A heavier stock of paper, with artwork, will protect the paper. I shall name this invention “The Book”.

Don’t laugh. I’m planning to patent the e-book next.

Writing on the Road

Saturday, March 22nd, 2014

Writing can be a challenge at times to find the opportunity to put words down. At home there are a lot of distractions but generally speaking I can find an hour here and there to put together a story. I’m also a traveling salesman. I sell wine, beer and spirits to liquor stores and restaurants. My territory covers several cities and occasionally I to make a road trip.

I don’t mind the travel. I crank up the stereo and roll down the highway. It’s also a fairly sociable industry; I mean it’s rather easy to have a conversation over a sample of wine or liquor. I’m not saying it isn’t work. One has to be prepared to describe the advantages over a product currently on the shelf or menu. At the end of the day I’m quite happy to grab a bite to eat and relax in the hotel room. Sometimes I’m even lucky enough to find a worthwhile program on TV.

A bonus is I have some quiet time to write, and after meeting a few customers I have some new characters to incorporate in future stories. I don’t take the whole character and drop him or her into a story, but rather take a few features and make up a new personality. Let’s say a more pleasant Frankenstein’s monster. As for names, I sometimes look at the pile of business cards I have, grab a first name from one and find a last name from another. There; a new character with a new name. I wish the story was as easy to write.