Brett Rants

Patently Problematic

The patent system, that is.

Close up of a bicycle tire, I am sure this type of tire has a special name, I have seen a few of these recently, they are about six inches wide, so a super wide tire for a pedal powered street bike, most tires are closer to 2.5 inches or narrower

This is a bicycle tire: of interest because of it's extreme width (say six inches) and the circular cut-outs in the rim (with red foam/rubber showing through). I neglected to note the brand... nor will I be doing the web search to discover it now.

Reducto Absurdo

I don't know anything about this tire's construction. Perhaps, rather than having an inner tube, individual balls ring the rim to provide inflation. That way, if there is a flat in one ball, the tire is still very usable.

Hmm! Not a bad idea.

But then, for the sake of argument, let's suppose these guys already thought of that... and patented it... and that's why I'm seeing bikes like this, as of late.

So, good job guys on locking up the market on Rubber Inflated Composite Inner Tubes.

But did they also patent the use of foam rubber?

Hey, how about hard rubber?

I could use lots of Super Balls (or the cheap dime store knock offs) and fill my tires with those. Did they think of those? Or more importantly, did they (or someone else) patent that particular idea?

Maybe they did.

If they did, then clearly, balls are not the way to go. Besides, inner tubes should be constructed of tubes. It's part of the name, after all. So, how about we use foam tubes?

Eh, but that has already been done. I know, as I've seen them for sale. So, how about multi-layer foam tubes... no scratch that... rubber tubes, like rubber bands or bungee cords all wrapped up encircling the rim.

But then, this essay isn't about the individual ideas. It's more to point out how easy it is to come up with additional ideas, you know, the next Big Idea™ in the sequence.

So, why not just use the old rubber inner tube (classic, inflated) and double wrap it (or multi wrap it). I'm sure it's of limited benefit. But we're not talking about performance here. We have long since entered the realm of marketing.

See, the idea itself is worthless. I could come up with thousands upon thousands of alternative inner-tube ideas... if you paid me.

Seriously, I could.

Ready!

Set!

Go!

Packing peanuts, popcorn, water, thumb tacks...

OK. Using thumb tacks as an inner tube is a stupid idea, a patently stupid idea, but I'm not convinced that (in itself) would be a barrier to getting a patent. That's not what patents are about. Patents are certainly not about making the world a better place or 'incentivizing the creation of ideas'. After all, I'm quite happy to type away at my keyboard coming up with numerous (albeit silly) inner tube ides for free.

Jell-o, pudding, hardened angel food cake... rolled up yoga mats... shirts... or camping equipment!

Hey, now! There's an idea. I should patent that.

But I won't. It would take too much time, be too much of a hassle, probably cost me a few bucks; and besides, I know I'll never monetize it.

And in the end, that's what patents are for: to allow a single entity (call it a person: corporate, natural born, or otherwise) to benefit monetarily from an idea.

But as we've already seen, ideas are worthless.

And implementations are worth even less.

It's the marketing that counts.

And although on first blush, thumb tacks seemed like a stupid idea, this is a brain storming session. So, upon later review, I realized that a proprietary blend of small foam balls in multiple shapes and sizes (some with spiked edges) would provide the control, durability, and firmness that discerning mountain bikers desire.

And, of course, stated as such, I now have enough buzz words to say almost anything (without saying anything at all) in the accompanying marketing materials.

TL;DR

The idea is worth nothing.

The implementation, even less.

It's control of the market that counts.

And that's what patents are all about.

It's not a coincidence that the government both controls the market and grants patents. After all, if the government didn't control the former, no one would care about it's ability to grant the later.

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This is, of course, prior art (created May 16th, 2017 our year of the dollar) documenting the idea(s) for all posterity (and commercial benefit).

© copyright 2017 Brett Paufler
Brett@Paufler.net