Strange and Amazing Patents

Unusual patents are those that protect a unique invention or method of doing something. Some strange and amazing patents throughout history include the following:

  • Invented in the late 1970s, Animal Ear Protectors are a device that holds dogs' ears out of the way while they eat or drink to prevent long ears from coming in contact with food or water.
  • The Fireplace Waterfall is designed to accentuate an existing fireplace with a fountain-like effect by creating a trough for water in front of it. It was patented in 2002.
  • Hunters and wildlife photographers can wear the 2004 Game Bird Decoy Coat so that they can get close to birds undetected. This decoy suit is shaped like a bird and has a removable tail. It's decorated in a realistic feather pattern.
  • A 2003 patent for a hiccup treatment is designed to treat hiccups that are persistent, lasting longer than 48 hours, or intractable — meaning they last for more than 30 days. The device is a metal rod that sends an electric current to the nerves to disrupt the hiccups.
  • In 1993, a patent was granted for a high-five machine that provides the excitement of a high-five in case you're watching the game alone and your team is winning. The plastic hand can be wall-mounted or placed on a table, and also improves hand-eye coordination. 
  • Germaphobes, rejoice: a 1995 patent prevents the transfer of illness-causing bugs from a kiss. The heart-shaped frame holds a thin, flexible plastic shield that can be placed over the lips before a kiss. The frame folds up and has a handle for easy portability.
  • The Neck Wrap and Brace patent can carry everything from a cell phone to a pen and paper to a wallet and much more. Developed in 2005, this patent is for a neck wrap that connects to a separate belt, providing extra support and convenient storage for those with a neck injury.
  • The Sun Mask Towel was invented in 2006 to provide additional sun protection. It's simply a standard-size towel with slits to see and breathe so you can place it over your face to block UV rays. 
  • In 2004, a patent was issued for a Wind-Harnessing Bike. This unique bicycle is propelled by a large sail on its back wheel rather than by pedaling. 
  • Another 2004 patent, Burial Structure for Human Remains and Significant Memorabilia, is a close replica of the Great Pyramids of Giza but includes specific construction components designed to prevent trespassing and vandalism.
  • A 2002 patent protects a high-pressure water device that serves as a pressure cleaner for the teeth. The special hose can attach to any faucet to remove leftover plaque with more force and range than a standard water pick.
  • In 1999, a patent was granted for an Interactive Life-Sized Bowl of Soup. Designed as an exciting attraction for fairs and carnivals, this walk-through soup bowl is complete with a layer of fog and a pot of water that appears to be boiling. 
  • Phone manufacturer Nokia was granted a patent to create a tattoo that would actually vibrate on the individual's skin when the mobile phone rings.
  • A 1982 patent for an Anti-Eating Face Mask keeps overweight children from eating too much by blocking their access to food, but also has a mesh to promote safe breathing. 
  • The Portable Nuclear Shield is a patented invention designed to provide on-the-go protection in case a nuclear bomb drops. Users of this creation simply need to dig a hole, get inside, and place the shield over the top. 
  • In 2001, a Flatulence Deodorizing Pad was invented for those who pass particularly pungent wind. The pad is made from activated charcoal and filters the air when it's placed inside the offending individual's undergarment. The pad is designed with double-sided tape and is both washable and reusable.
  • The life expectancy watch is a novelty that allows the wearer to count down how long they have left to live on a wristwatch that's best left for a gag gift.
  • In 1975, a father and son team were granted a patent for a comb-over to conceal a bald spot. The patent actually protected the styling method itself. 

If you need help with applying for a patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Stripe, and Twilio.