10 Wacky and Wonderful Patents

Facebook just bought $40 million worth of patents from Friendster. Team Zuckerberg purchased 18 innovations in total, including friend lists, photo tagging, and the always informative news feed. But not all of the patents are as clear. One of them apparently covers “a system, method, and apparatus for connecting users in an online computer system based on their relationships within social networks.” Giving this privilege to one company doesn’t sound conducive to competition and innovation within the social-networking market — but that’s probably the reason why Facebook wanted it. We thought we’d take this opportunity to introduce you to ten other patents granted over the years that are weird, strange, and downright nutty.

1. Pet Display Clothing (patent no. 5,901,666)

Pets like hamsters or gerbils don’t get to see much of the city, and someone thought that wasn’t fair. Fusing sensible practicality with avant-garde fashion, this device transforms the user into a ornate system of portable plastic tunnels. You’ve heard of individuals getting attention for walking an adorable dog, how about impressing the ladies by wearing a hamster cage?