Anticipate This!™ | Patent and Trademark Law Blog

They Invented What? (No. 208)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 17, 2011

U.S. Pat. No. 5,214,873:  Electrofishing pole.

I claim:

1. A submersible barrier for shielding a portable manually manipulatable anode electrode of a pair of anode and cathode electrodes used with portable electrofishing apparatus to be supported by an operator, which apparatus includes an electric circuit unit electrically connected with the anode and cathode electrode for providing DC pulses, said barrier comprising in combination:

a) a wall disposed about the portable anode electrode for shielding the portable electrode against contact by the operator or other objects when the portable anode electrode is out of the water and for shielding the portable anode electrode against contact by the operator, fish and other objects when the portable anode electrode is in the water;

b) means for accommodating water flow through said wall to establish an electric field in the water surrounding the portable anode electrode;

c) means for securing and maintaining said wall about the portable anode electrode when the portable anode electrode is manipulated into and out of the water by the operator; and

d) means for transporting said electrofishing apparatus during use of said electrofishing apparatus.

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They Invented What? (No. 207)

Posted in They Invented What? by Jake Ward on August 3, 2011

U.S. Pat. No. 6,080,436: Bread refreshing method.

JW Note:  This patent was mentioned in the recent TAL report as an example of a patent that should never have been allowed.  What are the thoughts of our readership, after reviewing the claims?  Have not reviewed the prosecution history, but one wonders whether the resulting bread microstructure (shown in the below figure) may have distinguished the invention from prior art “toast”. 

One additional note – according to PAIR, the patent has since expired due to nonpayment of a maintenance fee.

What is claimed is:

1. A method of refreshing bread products, comprising:
a) placing a bread product in an oven having at least one heating element,
b) setting the temperature of the heating elements between 2500 F. and 4500 F., and
c) ceasing exposure of the bread product to the at least one heating element after a period of 3 sec. to 90 sec.

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