Last week we've exclusively reported about the spray-on condom. The interview had me wondering what else might be out there worth having a look at. The result is 60 innovative patents you shouldn't miss.
If you missed the spray-on condom discussion you can have a look at these previous articles:
- Spray-On Condom Not Coming (Anytime Soon) is our exclusive interview with the inventor of the spray-on condom Jan Vinzenz Krause
- Discvover the Future: CSI New York and Spray-on Condoms explains the functionality of the spray-on condom
Let us just quickly recall the term patent:
"A patent is a document which describes an invention which can be manufactured, used, and sold with the authorization of the owner of the patent. An invention is a solution to a specific technical problem. (...) The protection given by a patent is limited in time (generally 15 to 20 years from filing or grant). It is also limited territorially to the country or countries concerned."
1. Prophylactic Device (1979)
This is one of the first special shapes that you'll find in a patent search. Filed in 1979. We've all seen that before.
2. Male Contraceptive design filed 1980.
4. Double Layer Prophylactic Incorporating Pharmacological Fluid (1997)
This condom has two chambers both filled with pharmacological fluid. It's supposed "to help kill disease-bearing microbes" etc.
5. Spring Action Male Condom (1999)
With the spring action male condom at the latest, condom patents are more and more becoming an art.
7. Condoms (2001)
Concepts for female condoms.
8. Condom (2004)
An invention dating back to January 2004.
10. Male Stimulating Contraceptives studies also from 2003
12. Novelty Condom (Tuna Fish?)
This fish here is also meant to be a condom (2008).
13. Improved Condom and very scientific descriptions (2006)
14. Condom (2007)
This is a concept from 2007. It looks strange, but it's pointing to a new direction of minimalistic condom design.
15. Condom with ehmm - two pouches (November 2007)
The two pouches from 2007 were not good enough. Now in April 2008 we just add another two pouches to the concept and we have a new patent.
18. Shark (2008)
The tuna got eaten. Now there's the shark condom.
Special Types of Condoms
19. Aids-Preventing Condom Shield Article says pretty much all there is to say here (1988)
20. Unisex Condom (1990)
This is "a unisex condom to be worn as an underpant type garment with pocket or shaft typedepressions or tubular extensions in the lower front and lower rear". You don't actually have to worry about having a condom ready. You just wear it all the time.
21. Female Condom (2003)
The above picture shows a concept from 1990. This patent is from 2003 and for women only.
22. Oral Condom for Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases
This could be used as fancy sunglasses too. Dates back to 1995.
23. Kissing Shield (1998)
Related but not as fancy as the oral condom is the kissing shield: "Practice Safe Kissing, Use a Kissing Shield!" The girl looks excited.
24. Force-Sensitive, Sound-Playing Condom (1992)
This little innocent condom is already 16 years old. Nevertheless it has shot to fame in the blogosphere lately due to this post over at Inventorspot (and partly to Idolator and Gizmodo). It has "a miniature force-sensitive sound-playing unit (14) attached to the condom (...)". What do you want your condom to play if this ever comes to life?
25. Prophylactic article useful for both protection and diagnosis (2004)
This condom "provides an improved prophylactic article, useful for both protection and diagnosis". This condom protects you and at the same time tests your health. This is a rather discouraging thing I guess.
26. Condom With Inflatable Portion says it all (2005)
27. Magnetic Condom (2005)
This condom has a magnetic material at the open end. The background of the invention is the "static magnetic field" that causes therapy in the human body because of increased blood flow.
28. Condom (2008)
This is a condom with a vibrating device. You get the idea.
29. Condom Having Transmission Apparatus (2008)
"The condom may operate to transmit a signal to control a device that is remote from the condom. Additionally (...) a remote device may operate to transmit a signal that is received by the condom and used to control a condom accessory." I'm just wondering what kind of signal would one send out there...?
Condoms With Securing Mechanisms
30. Condom Restrainer Ring Structure to keep it all where it belongs (1994)
31. Non-Elastic Condom (1998)
The non-elastic condom is reusable and has a two ended band to keep it in place.
34. Condom (2001)
The patent states:" The ornamental design for a condom, as shown." And I thought they were socks at first.
Carrying Condoms Around With You
35. Heart-Shaped Carrier for a Condom (1988)
I've seen many, many different kinds of key fobs in my life, but a heart carrying a condom is news even for me (I'm not discussing the fail of actually keeping the condom safe).
36. Container for at least One Condom (1988)
If you think putting a condom in a heart is a bit too tacky, put it in a lighter.
37. Combined Brief and Condom Pockets with various designs and possibilities (1995)
38. & 39. Underwear With a Pouch for a Condom
These two inventions look pretty much the same. Not true. The left condom panty was filed in February 2008, the right one in October 1997. Some things go a long way in 11 years.
40. Question: What Is This?
Wrong, this is a patented ornamental design for a golf towel (2005).
41. Personal and Easily-Accessible Carrier for a Condom (1998)
This condom carrier "may be operated to open with one hand, typically with pressure from one or two fingers".
42. Condom in a Nut Novelty
This is easily my favorite. The hole in Fig. 5 "is sealed, and then painted to match the nutshell. The nut is cracked by the novelty victim to reveal the condom". Must've been a big hit in 1998.
43. Pillow With Storage Pocket Containing a Condom (1999)
"The pocket is sized such that a stored condom can be easily retrieved, yet small ebough so that the packaged condom will not fall out, even when the pillow is shaken".
44. Photo Condom Package (2000)
This is a photo condom package "which enables an individual to print personal information on the condom". This is no joke, it is intended for you to put in your picture, write down your address and "to inform someone that an individual is attractive and interested in a sexual relationship (...)".
45. Pillowcase With Condom Storage Pocket
Ok, not a pillow. A pillowcase this time in 2001.
46. Ankle Holder for Carrying Condom Packages (2001)
The backround of this invention is the following: "A wallet is the typical article used to carry and conceal a condom package. A significant problem with carrying a condom package in a wallet is that the outline of the condom package is often visible to others (...) another problem with using a wallet is that the condom package is often difficult to access when one is in the throws of passion". "Finding and fumbling in one's wallet for a condom package can destroy the mood of lovemaking". The mother of this invention must've been a huuuge wallet.
47. Condom Carrying Token (1995)
Someone else also didn't like carrying condoms in wallets. His solution is a different one.
48. Mobile Phone Condom Carrier (2004)
The new iPhone G3 is fine you know. Seriously Steve, I love you, but when are you finally going make it condom ready? Probably because that would be infringement of a patent.
Possibly condom connected inventions (or not)
49. Prophylactic Device for Use With a Telephone (1990)
Ok, you left your iPhone at home. You need to call. There's only one solution to this particular problem: always carry a condom on you. Dispose of it properly after use.
50. Nutcracker in a beautiful design (2004)
51. TV Mute Finger Ring (2004)
"The primary object of the invention is to provide a mute switch for a TV". It saves you a lot of time in the throws of passion. And it looks good too.
52. Heart Shaped Meat Product crucial for the morning-after (2004)
53. Artificial Flower (2004)
Nobody likes artificial flowers, because they smell synthetic right? Don't worry now you can get a fragrance emitting artificial flower.
54. Pig Swimming Pool (2004)
To impress I'd suggest a pig swimming pool. You are definitely going to use those condoms tonight, you deserve it.
55. Combination Lollipop, Drinking Straw (2004)
A TV mute finger ring has probably not spared you enough time yet. But the lollipop - actually it's also a drinking straw - will.
56. Garments Having Edible Components and Methods for Making Same
Condoms can save your lives we know that. That's just what these garments do for you. Whenever you run the risk of starving, you can eat up your clothes and live happily ever after. Dates back to 2005.
57. Multi-Purpose Headgear (2005)
Condoms can be used for many silly games. This hat though seems to offer almost endless possibilities. The patent doesn't mention any bunnies though.
58. Subway Movie/Entertainment Medium (2005)
Take your date on a cheap night out. As a matter of fact if you're landing in Zürich (Switzerland) for the UEFA Euro 2008 you'll experience a similar (the same?) Heidi installation.
59. Sanitary Security Sock System (2006)
(Luckily) you won't have to go through this sanitary security sock system in Zürich though.
60. Have You Ever Wanted to Patent Anything?
Now it's your turn. Have you ever patented anything? Did you ever want to? What would your condom look like? Want to bring other related patents to our attention? Feel free to join the discussion.
Sources and Resources for Patent Search
Patents can be found on the following sites:
Patent search on the site of the European Patent Office (EP, Worldwide, WIPO).
Searches all of the above plus Abstracts of Japan.
- USPTO Patent Search
US Patent Full-Text Database Manual Search gives you a lot of search options.
- Google Patents
Patent search the google way. Very easy, very user friendly but for the time being searches only US patents and isn't always very reliable with brandnew files.
Search patents on the site of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
- Patently Silly
Is a humorous blog about patents written by Daniel Wright. Very, very advisable.