August's patents pick 5 article

Patent Cures for the Summertime Blues

Dennis Forbes : Office of Innovation Development

Options for summer fun are limitless: cookouts, picnics, barbeques, ice cream socials, camping, riding bicycles, and so much more. But how fun would summer be without some of the great inventions that help us enjoy the season? 

Note: This article is part of an ongoing series detailing some of the Inventors Eye staff’s favorite patents. For each article, the writer selects their five favorite patents under a given theme. This list is from Outreach Coordinator Dennis Forbes.

Portable Barbeque Grill Assembly
U.S. Patent No. 4,878,476

Over the years, outdoor grilling has become a favorite pastime for many even after summer is over. I like this grill because it is an on-the-go grill that is easy to set up and break down. It can be carried to parks, campsites, tailgate parties, family reunion picnics, or whatever other summer shindig you have planned. Portability has advantages for both fast- and slow-paced lifestyles.

Ice Cream Scoop
U.S. Patent No. 4,721,449

As a kid, I loved eating ice cream, and I still do. My grandmother would use a scooper to serve up a curled wad of ice cream on cone, bowl, or homemade blueberry pie. As I got older, I too began using an ice cream scooper to serve up good sized helpings of deliciousness. The device used for scooping has changed since my childhood, but there’s still nothing like seeing a scooper full of delicious ice cream. Take it from me; the ice cream scooper is a great invention.  

Splash Pool for Recreational Water Slides
U.S. Patent No. 4,910,814

Whether you get a rush or you scream all the way down a waterslide, the sheer thrill will make you want do it again and again. When my daughter was younger, she and I spent hours in the waterpark, and frankly I would just lose all sense of time. Hearing, “Daddy, can I do it again?” caused me to stand in the waterslide line quite a bit.  Once you finish the slide, you suddenly realize that the thrill of going down was just too short, and you want to do it again. Gone are my days of waterslides, but I have lots of fond summertime memories sliding down them for a splash of fun.

Beverage Mixer
U.S. Patent No. 1,480,914

Drinking a cold refreshing drink on a hot and muggy day brings welcome relief.  Likewise, drinking an organic smoothie can cause you to uncontrollably blurt out a loud sigh of “Ahhhh” after your first gulp. The fun part about using a smoothie blender is that you make a drink that the whole family will enjoy. Because you can make all kinds of icy cold concoctions with a blender, it’s an indispensable kitchen gadget.

Digital Camera
U.S. Patent No. 4,131,919

As a former photographer for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), I loved the fact that digital camera technology gave me instant digital images, which I could either save or delete.  Eliminating the step of having to send out a roll of film for development enabled me to quickly post and circulate photos taken at breaking news events at the USPTO. The first digital camera was invented in 1978. It was not portable, but starting in the 1990s, widespread commercial introduction of small digital cameras disrupted the market and made film cameras obsolete for practical use. Today, digital cameras allow you to instantly capture keepsake summer moments. Have you taken a “selfie” lately?

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The USPTO gives you useful information and non-legal advice in the areas of patents and trademarks. The patent and trademark statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent or register a trademark. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented or registered as a trademark, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.