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? The tune of today’s patent adventure is provided by legendary guitar innovator Les Paul.
Start: US 3,018,680 A, Les Paul’s magnetic pick-up for a solid body electric guitar
First Degree: US 3,509,264 A, an electrically amplified drum
Second Degree: US 4,909,117 A, a portable drum sound simulator comprising drumsticks containing electrical switches which are actuated by motion
Third Degree: US 6,223,353 B1, a glove designed to disable a person’s dominant hand in order to develop control of their non-dominant hand
Fourth Degree: US 4,881,275 A, a basketball gripping glove to facilitate pass fakes and dunking
Fifth Degree: US 6,094,747 A, a device for protecting rings from becoming lost during physical exercise
Sixth Degree: US 4,121,360 A, an identification bracelet for infants
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect Les Paul’s apparatus for converting string vibrations into electrical variations that are blasted out of an amp set to volume 11 and an ID bracelet for future rockers. Could we say that starting with Les Paul, we've passed from an old rocker, through Kid Rock straight on to Baby Rock? Nah. Anyway... while this journey represents one connection path for the Les Paul 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! We'd love to hear your own outcomes.
- J. K.