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Over ten million patents have been granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office to date. Here are four of the stranger ones:

Patent 7062320 – Device for the treatment of hiccups

“A device for the treatment of hiccups, and more specifically, to a method and apparatus for the treatment of hiccups involving galvanic stimulation of the Superficial Phrenetic and Vagus nerves using an electric current.”

This seems much more complicated than the old technique of just having somebody scare you!

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Patent 5727565 – Kissing shield

Kissing shield

“The user then positions the kissing shield between his lips and the lips or cheek of the individual he plans to kiss and kisses the intended recipient of his affection.”

Where has all the romance gone?

Image Source: Wyoming State Library

Patent 4344424 – Anti-eating face mask

Anti-eating face mask

“An anti-eating face mask which includes a cup-shaped member conforming to the shape of the mouth and chin area of the user, together with a hoop member and straps detachably engageable with a user’s head for mounting the cup-shaped member in overlying relationship with the user’s mouth and chin area under the nose thereby preventing the ingestion of food by the user.”

This appears to have been later perfected by Hannibal Lecter. I’m not sure it’s a good idea to pester him for royalties, though.

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Patent 6557994 – Frameless glasses attaching to body piercing studs

Frameless glasses attaching to body piercing studs

“A frameless glassware assembly attaching to body piercing studs. Design consisting of an elastomeric C-clip fixedly attached to one distal end of a metal arm, which is attached to a frameless glass lens assembly. Design allows for frameless eyeglass attachment to the eyebrow studs or to the nose studs of a user via the elastomeric C-clip. One embodiment allows the frameless glassware to attach to eyebrow studs and the second allows the frameless glassware to attach to a nose stud. Both designs are frameless and avoid side wire earpieces common to hold glassware to the face of a user.”

This is an awfully painful way to avoid side wire earpieces.

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Facing up to the facts, we can see that sometimes practicality is out the window, but having a patent still gets you bragging rights.

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