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 glide through the patent network starting with the first US patent issued for modern in-line skates.
Six Degrees of the In-line Skates
Start: US 2,644,692 A, a 1950’s version of in-line skates designed to behave like ice runners with individually sprung and cushioned wheels
First Degree: US 6,629,698 B2, a multifunctional shoe with wheel to facilitate both sliding and walking functions
Second Degree: US 7,618,356 B1, an apparatus for a work out on the go comprising a handle and resistance band stored in a hollow compartment in the shoe sole
Third Degree: US 5,062,642 A, a training device for strengthening the legs by connecting user’s belt and shoes with an elastic band
Fourth Degree: US 6,558,266 B2, a pair of golf training glasses with sight guides for each lens
Fifth Degree: US 4,896,375 A, a golf hat or to aid a golfer in keeping their head down and eye on the ball
Sixth Degree: US 4,549,316 A, a foldable hat with at least one pre-formed fold line in the visor for compact storage
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can show the foot bone is connected to the head bone through in-line skates and a foldable hat. While this journey represents one connection path for the in-line skates 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!