Halloween Special: Canadians Can Be Quite Scary

Patent Examiners beware – you may never return from your examination of these scary inventions



Mitch Kline Profile Picture  by: Mitch Kline | October 31, 2017

It’s Halloween. And, while I don’t expect anyone in the patent world to have noticed (I was reminded), I think the occasion warrants at least a blog post. I don’t eat much candy, and I don’t particularly enjoy costumes (at least outside the bedroom), but I’ve seen a few patents in my time that expose the darker side of IP.

First up is US patent # 587,649, entitled “Electrocution-Chair.” Edwin F. Davis didn’t invent to electric chair, but he may have been the first to observe an administration of the death penalty and see an opportunity.

“The invention relates particularly to an electrocution-chair which is so arranged that the contraction or expansion of various muscles will be registered while the current is passing through the body. Such records would possess a certain scientific interest and would give an opportunity of accurate observations and deductions of the action of the electric current at high voltages on the human system. Such information, it will be seen, of course could not be obtained in any other way.”

My research thus far does not indicate that “such records” were ever recorded during legal executions. Presumably, if Mr. Davis wanted to pursue his “scientific interest,” he would have had to find his own test subjects. One can only imagine what went on in his underground laboratory *evil laugh*.

Next, an application (20050022808) filed in 2004 that was never issued. I have no evidence that the examiner lived to tell his tale. This app only had one claim:

  1. A Euthanasia machine comprising:
  2. Flowmeters for regulated delivery of gaseous Carbon Dioxide,
  3. Solenoids for gating gas flows,
  4. Electronic controller for sequencing gas delivery and time durations, Whereby delivery of Carbon Dioxide gas to a known volume chamber can be controlled achieving preset levels for preset time durations, Whereby the narcotic effect of Carbon Dioxide gas can be maximized while distress to rodents and small animals can be minimized.

This is disturbing, no doubt, but the concern for the distress to rodents and small animals leaves just enough up to the imagination. Perhaps the inventor had some malicious purpose for any vermin that could survive his contraption.

And then there’s this:

I’ll say no more.

I could go on, but I can only assume my readers are now paralyzed by fear, and unable to function. I know you’re busy, so shake it off, eat some candy, and get back to work. Oh, and I’m the Canadian…

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