BusinessWeek recently featured an online slideshow collection of “ridiculous patents” unearthed by website TotallyAbsurd.com. The influential business mag implies that these are bad inventions, that the inventors wasted their time & money... and that they hurt other patent applicants by adding to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office backlog.
Sure, it’s easy to pick on a vest designed with external, Habitrail-like clear tubing so the gerbil enthusiast need not leave home without his or her pet (pictured above, from TotallyAbsurd.com).
Yet we beg to differ with the BusinessWeek editors. Who’s to say what is or isn’t a good invention, or what will or won’t be market success, especially in this era in which a niche product can be a big seller online? Really, how many people could ever have imagined the success of the Hula Hoop? The much maligned but much purchased Snuggie? The Chia Pet (so iconic that it's now selling boatloads of a special-edition Chia Obama)?
If you believe in your idea, people you trust concur that you’re really on to something, and your follow-up research supports it… then go for it! But if your only supporter is your pet gerbil, well, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself please.