January’s Wacky Patent!

In my EQE revision breaks, I find I need to distract myself from the peculiarities of the EPC and there’s no better way to do so than to watch a mindless action movie. High-speed car chases causing havoc in an American city are clearly far removed from the EPO’s no-nonsense approach to patents. However, I found my mind drifting during a recent movie to wondering whether there was a better way to catch-up with a getaway car that did not need to involve careering recklessly around a built-up area.

Lo and behold, it didn’t take long to find that someone has already patented such a way! US7108178 relates to a “method of stopping a stolen car without a high-speed chase, utilizing a bar code“.  Top marks for the title alone!

As the abstract states, the patented invention provides: “A safe method of stopping a stolen car without chasing at high speeds, utilizing a bar code implanted between the inner layer and outer layer of a rear safety glass is comprised of steps: 1) scan the barcode, 2) compare the read in barcode with those of the stolen cars stored in the police computer net, 3) trigger one of the three stopping means of this invention.”

Wheel bullets

Once the police have determined that the barcode corresponds to a stolen car, rather than chase after the car themselves, they simply activate the car’s emergency brake system. This may involve puncturing the rear tires of the car using knives or bullets located in the inside of the rear wheel covers. It sounds like the inventor may have been inspired by Ben Hur’s chariot race…

Parminder (Yellow Sheet Editor)

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