The Godfather's Patent Leads to an Offer You Can Refuse

May 10, 2011

The Godfather resized 600

Six Degrees of the Marlon Brando

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? 

With a question like that naturally the mind shifts to the man, the myth, the legend Mr. Kevin Bacon, who allegedly can be connected to anyone in Hollywood through 6 steps or less.  So, starting with any patent where would we find ourselves after 6 steps through the references cited network? Today we immerse ourselves in the patent network to see what is connected to Academy Award winning inventor Marlon Brando.  Yes, Marlon Brando actually has a patent - and it would appear to have nothing to do with acting.  So, if we start with his musically-oriented patent, where will we end up six steps later?


Start: US 6,81,2392 B2, a drumhead tension device and method, by Marlon Brando

First Degree: U S5,936,179 A, an apparatus for tuning a stringed musical instrument with a visual display located on the pickguard or pickup mounting ring

Second Degree: US 7,355,110 B2, a stringed instrument with a hand-held computer formed in the housing of the instrument to store, edit, and retrieve information such as song tablature, contact names, phone numbers, play lists, or schedules

Third Degree: US 6,065,765 A, a method of molding and assembling a bicycle frame

Fourth Degree: US 5,464,240 A, a hollow shell frame for bicycles and other human powered vehicles

Fifth Degree: US 4,593,929 A, a wheelchair

Sixth Degree: US 3,611,457 A, a portable toilet on wheels

Mobile Toilet 

So there you have it, in 6 steps you can get from the Godfather’s drum tensioning device to a mobile toilet that you can wheel out into your living room so you don’t miss a moment of the movie.

Mobile Toilet 2

While this journey represents one connection path for the Brando patent, feel free to follow your own path of patent connection intrigue and share it in the comments section below. Do you have a suggestion for an inventor or invention you would like to see in the Six Degrees post? Share that in the comments too!


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