Six Degrees of the Computer Mouse
As we all may have noticed at some point there is a list of references cited adorning the face of every US patent. Utilizing these lists of references cited, patents can be connected to other patents through the references cited on their own face, as well as the instances where the patent is cited on a subsequent patent’s face. By connecting patents in this manner a network begins to form and begs the question: How many steps would it take to connect any patent with any other patent?
So, starting with any patent, where would we find ourselves after 6 steps through the references cited network?
Today our investigation of the patent maze involves the most famous rodent in the world, the computer mouse.
Start: US 3,541,541 A, Douglas Engelbart’s X-Y position indicator for moving a cursor on a cathode ray tube display that started the mouse revolution
First Degree: US 7,806,696 B2, an interface for a medical procedure simulation system
Second Degree: US 5,967,790 A, a physical model of a human knee for surgical education
Third Degree: US 4,850,877 A, a method of measuring and analyzing external stresses to a human knee
Fourth Degree: US 5,018,977 A, a motorcycle accident simulating test dummy
Fifth Degree: US 6,139,328 A, a grappling dummy used for wrestling, martial arts, and self defense training
Sixth Degree: US 958,387 A, a clown doll
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect arguably the most successful computer peripheral device of all time and a toy version of everyone’s favorite circus performer.
While this journey represents one connection path for the computer mouse patent, feel free to follow your own path of patent connection intrigue and share it in the comments section below. Have a suggestion for an inventor or invention you would like to see in the Six Degrees post? Share that in the comments too!