I know I’ve had fun with some pretty unusual patent applications before, but this particular application was just begging for an article all its own. This application came to my attention via Intellogist’s Twitter feed, and may or may not have inspired an afternoon of awe and wonderment. We didn’t even bash our heads against the desks, because we were so taken by this work of art.
Behold, U.S. Patent Application Number 11/161,345 to Christopher Anthony Roller, aka “godly entity.” Really, the published application in Google Patents does NOT do it justice, so I’m going to walk you through the image file wrapper of this thing. Before you start cringing in fear and/or agony, this is the most interesting file wrapper in the world. That’s not saying much, because file wrappers are generally slightly more boring than watching paint dry, but, I will tell you that Mark and I reviewed this thing, and we were GREATLY entertained. I will skip through the forms unless there’s something particularly hilarious, though.
First, the specification. It is, and I am quoting it in its entirety here:
Christopher Anthony Roller wants exclusive right to the ethical use and financial gain in the use of godly powers on planet earth.
It’s not an enabling specification, so we have a strike against the application. But read on to the claims:
[Claim 1] Godly powers are being used on planet Earth.
[Claim 2] Many magicians are using godly powers to power their “illusions”. One is David Copperfield – US District Court case 05-446 document #18 proves this true.
[Claim 3] Technology (Electronic and Medical for example) is being assisted by godly powers throughout the planet.
[Claim 4] Christopher Anthony Roller is a godly entity. Godly powers on planet Earth are powered via Chris Roller. Chris has had a web site publishing his godliness since October 2002, but did not realize the surrogate deception (use of his powers) until 2004.
[Claim 5] There yet has been no accreditation nor financial gain to Chris Roller from the use of godly powers on planet Earth.
I know Claims 1 and 3 are going to divide people up depending on their views, but Claim 2 really raises more questions than it answers. If you look up this particular case, you will realize that the godly entity filed MANY cases against David Copperfield and other magicians for using his godly powers. This led to the godly entity accusing people (including a judge) of molesting his spiritual children, as claimed on his website, but I digress. As for Claims 4 and 5… the godly entity DOES have a website called www.mytrumanshow.com. He has SEVERAL websites, but I’m here to talk about the patent application. Now we’re up to the abstract, which is the first REAL glimpse of the wild ride we’re in for.
Christopher Anthony Roller is a godly entity. “Granters” had been given my powers (acquired my powers) (via God probably). These “granters” have been receiving financial gain from godly powers. These “granters” may be using their powers without morals. Chris Roller wants exclusive right to the ethical use and financial gain in the use of godly powers on planet Earth. The design of godly-products have no constraints, just like any other invention, but the ethnic consideration of it’s use will likely be based on a majority vote of a group, similar to law creation. The commission I require could range from 0-100% of product price, depending on the product’s value and use.
The godly entity appears to permit racism, unless he made a typo. But, you get the basic idea of what the godly entity is trying to patent here: something that falls under a 102(b) bar for public use. Even with the applicant admission, I’m surprised the Examiner never picked up on this. In any case, you may have noticed there were five independent claims, which led to a Notice to File Missing Parts. The godly entity’s response:
Enclosed is a CD with the latest ABX called GodlyPowers.doc of my patent.
I was in a hurry to grab the patent, and submitted the ECF a little premature.
I have made recent revisions – Preliminary Amendment.
This is a very complicated patent as you can imagine.
I may revise the claims further in the future – probably based on your input.
A future claim might state – Chris Roller has created one of the weirdest patents on the planet.
This latest GodlyPowers.doc has 2 independent claims (1 and 2) – the rest are dependent on 1 and 2.
Thus I have included $415 for fees to continue this patent. I have also included a separate check for $180 for what I feel may be a “multi dependent claims” fee. Shred it if you don’t need it.
If you conclude that I am wrong about fees, send me a notice and I will send another check for any further fees.
Yes, the smiley WAS included in the letter. At this point, some of you may be shouting “TROOOOOOLL!” but hold judgment a while longer. Yes, he did say shred the check. And, yes, he DID say “multi dependent claims.” Any patent practitioner who has seen an independent inventor try to draft multiple dependent claims before knows EXACTLY where this is going. The amendment:
[Claim 1] Godly powers are being used on planet Earth.
For example, technology (i.e. Electronic and Medical) is being assisted by godly powers throughout the planet.
Godly powers could be used prior, during, and after godly product/procedure. For example;
Before – in the making of a device, like a micro-processor chip.
During – in the operation of a device, like an inkjet printer cartridge.
Afterwards – like gradual scar removal from breast implant surgery.
A magician might perform magic before, during, and after, for an given trick (“illusion”).
[Claim 2] There is a plan governing our existence and actions – God’s plan.
[Claim 3] Christopher Anthony Roller is the godly entity powering Earth with godly powers as stated in Claim 1.
[Claim 4] From Claim 2, God’s plan (or Game of Life) puts restrictions on what can currently be done with godly powers, or even if/when.
[Claim 5] From Claims 2 and 4, there are restrictions on what magic (godly powers) can be in Chris Roller’s presence – what Chris Roller can actually witness, which can differ from what everyone else can witness (in Claim 4).
Also, the magic needs to have a plausible explanation for its end product, like magicians calling their magic “illusions” or “tricks”
[Claim 6] From Claim 1, godly powers can be transferred once a grantor – a grantee.
A grantee can be a grantor only if granted the right, and only a subset of the rights a grantor possesses.
[Claim 7] From Claim 1 and 6, some grantees may be using their powers without morals.
[Claim 8] Claim 1 is proved via David Copperfield, who has been using godly powers for his financial gain (MN Federal case 05-446 JRT/FLN) and hiding knowledge of godly powers as stated in Claim 7.
[Claim 9] From Claim 1, there are many phenomenons associated with godly powers – most of them discussed on www.mytrumanshow.com.
[Claim 10] From Claims 5 and 9, anything Chris Roller finds out is fact (information from all senses except psychic/imagination – i.e. global information via television from eyes and ears) becomes a state of reality on planet Earth.
[Claim 11] In association with Claims 7 and 9, will-power can be cast on another to control people’s fate.
[Claim 12] From Claims 2, 5, and 9, reality can be reconstructed. Chris sometimes calls this re-ravel.
Magic completely countered/reversed is called unravel.
[Claim 13] From Claim 12, information via psychic/imagination (not real yet) (non-eyes/ears) can be reversed/re-raveled/unraveled.
[Claim 14] From Claim 12, 5, and 10, unravel/re-ravel can only be done before Chris Roller gets the “real” news, and almost entirely governed by God’s plan as stated in Claim 2.
[Claim 15] Immoral activity from Claim 7 can be covered up with reality restructuring mentioned in Claim12.
If you thought “bad patent language, good fantasy book,” please join me at the nerd table. This is, once again, better spec than claims… but it’s still barred under 101 and 102; never mind that we can’t make or use godly powers as claimed by the godly entity. The abstract, however, offers a slightly better argument for patentability:
Christopher Anthony Roller is a godly entity, powering Earth with godly powers for years. People have been granted Chris’ powers (grantees) somehow (by God?). One example is the mob. These grantees can then grant powers to others – called grantors. One grantee is David Copperfield, who has been using godly powers for his financial gain (MN Federal case 05-446 JRT/FLN). Chris Roller realized he was a godly entity in early 1999. He has had a global web site (www.mytrumanshow.com) publishing his godliness since October 2002, but did not realize the surrogate deception (use of his powers) until 2004, and on 29 July 2005 (filing of this patent), Chris Roller has yet had no accreditation nor financial gain from the use of godly powers on planet Earth. The design of godly products have no constraints, just like any other invention:
- Design is via the imagination, with claims, references, abstract, description, images, etc., just like any other patent, trademark, or copyright.
- There are some restrictions on the godly-feasibility of the product – having a prototype. You see, God’s plan (or Game of Life) puts restrictions on what can currently be done, but that shouldn’t stop a patent from being created, but simply when/if it can/will be used.
- The ethnic consideration of its use will likely be based on a majority vote of a group, similar to law creation.
- The commission I require would range from 0-100% of product price, depending on the product’s value and use.
Of course, there was some confusion with the CD and another Notice to File Missing Parts because of it, but that was not particularly interesting. The explicit admission of public use, though, still stands in that abstract.
The first Office Action came in, and, of course, the multiple dependent claims were objected to, everything was rejected under 112 for failing to distinctly point out and claim the invention, and lack of enablement. The examiner did make a 102(b) rejection though – for a magic game. Not quite the 102(b) I had in mind, but still a decent rejection. This did, however, lead to an Examiner interview (and how I wish I could have listened to it), in which the Examiner and the Examiner’s Supervisor both told the applicant to seek help from a registered attorney or agent, because the application was so very very far from formal.
As we run further down the rabbit hole… I mean, image file wrapper, we see a complaint filed with the PCT legal administration. Apparently, Mr. Roller attempted to file a PCT application, the application did not get processed, but the check he sent was cashed. The refund demand letter was actually fairly professional. The demand letter sent to the PTO was not quite as professional… because of it’s size, you can look at it here. Go ahead. Click it. You know it’s worth it.
Despite the godly entity’s urging for the USPTO to “pretend like it is a big deal, because it is” and insinuations that the mob and the USPTO were connected, a patent remained unissued. Mr. Roller sent in another revised specification (found here), in which he offered more insight into godly powers:
Existent in nature, it may not even be apparent that it’s godly powers; you’ll discover a use, usually through new technology, like follicular transplants, then profit from it. Existent in nature may be nasty scar removal; follicular hair transplant healing; savant extra-ordinary ability; deep fat frying at 375 degrees; hypnotism and power of suggestion. Some things are naturally getting better with time, like motor power ratio better than unity (power out > power in)
Let’s see, we’ve got… laws of nature, alternate realities, hair transplants, psychics, deep fat dinner, hypnotism, and perpetual motion. The only remotely statutory subject matter in that mess is hair transplants, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the crux of godly powers. On a side note, Mr. Roller did sue Bosley for botched hair transplants. The godly entity’s site is a veritable cornucopia of unusual lawsuits.
In the Claims, 1-15 were cancelled, and 16-19 were added:
16. (NEW) Godly Powers is a method (process) comprising
a) the use of supernatural powers which defy laws of physics.
17. (NEW) Use of said godly powers of claim 16 results in a real end-result.
18. (NEW) Said godly powers of claim 16 are manipulated via the mind via thoughts.
19. (NEW) Said godly powers of claim 16 may be inherent in a natural process.
Claim 16 can’t be patented because defying the laws of physics means it shouldn’t work, which means the subject matter falls under a 101 rejection. 17 and 18 will fall because 16 falls, and 19 is barred because natural processes are not patentable subject matter. State Street and Bilski cannot help here.
The new abstract, found here, is similar to previous iterations of the abstract except now, Mr. Roller added a spectacular sentence:
Chris Roller is addressing godly powers so a new stage of reality can exist, one with which to create new-use patents from godly powers on planet Earth.
At this point, if I were the Examiner, I’d probably be threatening to quit or begging for a transfer. I wouldn’t have even made it to the applicant’s argument… in which the godly entity included a document from one of the David Copperfield cases. If you’re going to submit arguments for patentability, submitting an unflattering document that has little to nothing to do with the application in question isn’t going to help. In any case, the Examiner issued a final rejection, noting that the abstract was too long, the specification contained new matter and was non-enabling and indefinite. The subject matter was non-statutory, and the Examiner does note Applicant admission for natural process. The Examiner reissued the 102(b) rejection and probably prayed (or not, we are dealing with a godly entity after all) that he wouldn’t hear from the applicant again. Fortunately for us, the godly entity answered the prayer with one final thought: “Please issue this thing” because “Just the idea is worth a Nobel prize.”
Tl;dr – ALWAYS contact an attorney or agent before you file. You will save time and money if you’re trying to patent something that just can’t be patented… and you application will be in better shape than going alone.