Patent Files: Method of exercising a cat (5,443,036)


A method for inducing cats to exercise consists of directing a beam of invisible light produced by a hand-held laser apparatus onto the floor or wall or other opaque surface in the vicinity of the cat, then moving the laser so as to cause the bright pattern of light to move in an irregular way fascinating to cats, and to any other animal with a chase instinct.


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glorybe10 years ago
An aggressive dog is a great low tech way to exercise a cat.
Goodhart10 years ago
This is evidence for either the revamping of the patent laws, or the total elimination of them.
The magic word is "prior art". IANAL, but as I understand it, show one published instance prior to this guys patent of someone amusing their cat with said device and his patent evaporates. The company I work for tends to encourage us to publish research work to ensure our freedom to operate if patenting does not seem appropriate.
VIRON Austringer10 years ago
I believe I received a sample of one of the first visible laser diodes by special delivery in the early 1990's, and as soon as I made a beam, the cat attacked it. Thus OBVIOUS-VOID. I assume there is a record of the special delivery, (TOSHIBA part#TOLD9200 delivered to CHIPTECH) because security guards were present.*** Someone didn't want it "falling into the wrong hands". ***Ok... The Documentation, dated 1988, says: This product is a strategic product subject to COCOM regulations. It should not be exported without authorization from the appropiate government agencies. (whatever that means).
Kiteman10 years ago
I suppose you don't have to invent something to patent it, but it's damn hard to enforce a patent on something you didn't invent.

Didn't somebody patent the wheel?

Anyhoo, this "patent" has been around for as long as hand-held torches, never mind lasers.

Can't patents be taken out on substantial improvements or modifications to something else?

In that case I have dibs on the patent for entertaining small (and not-so-small) children with a laser in this exact way (unless children come under the any other animal with a chase instinct catch-all?).
trebuchet03 (author)  Kiteman10 years ago
I imagine there are patents for wheels :p The original having long since expired :)

Yes, you can patent an improvement - but I think it needs to be an improvement on the device (I'm not sure changing purpose is enough)... I'm no patent lawyer, so that's worth every penny you paid for it :)

This Patent in Action?
yes, a man in Austraila patented the wheel a bit back to show how lax the patent laws are there. He took it back, having made his point.
I remember reading about this - it was a new thing they called a concept patent and he said it was so weak as to be pointless. They went ahead with it and he responded with his invention.
yes, that's right. :)
Sedgewick1710 years ago
The picture is all wrong it should be a patent for blinding the cat with a high powered laser.:)
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