Patently Overused

Aren’t we a little tired of all the patent puns these days? It could be that I’m chronically hyper-exposed to this kind of thing, but there are a lot of Patently (blank) and Patent (blanks) phrases and puns going around. With the exception of the great patent law blog Patently-O, I’m a little bored by it all, frankly. Not to be too Andy Rooney about it (heck, I used it ironically in my title of this post), I just think we could be doing better.

Crazy inventions or nonsense ideas are dubbed “patently absurd,” “patently crazy,” “patently insane,” or some variation. There are numerous websites espousing goofy patents using this terminology including “Totally Absurd Inventions”, “Patently Silly” and “Patently Absurd!”. The mainstream media loves to say things are “patently absurd” when discussing patent related topics–just see Wired, Forbes, or The New York Times for proof. Each new article’s author is falling over the previous author to be more clever than the last (warning: explicit language from Penny Arcade).

“Patently stupid” means not only is something dumb, it’s all-time put-it-in-the-books dumb. Patently stupid can be used to rail against the patent system itself or just as another rock to be loaded into the slingshot of the trite.

Someone crying “patently false” means that they believe something in incredibly untrue. President Obama has given this one a go, but it’s no stranger to the Republicans or even the Catholic Church.

What’s your favorite “patent(ly) (blank)” phrase? Give us your best examples below. Just remember kids, it’s all pun and games until someone loses an eye.

Patent Resources Group

This post was contributed by Intellogist team member Chris Jagalla.

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2 Responses

  1. Check the historical meaning of “patent” — it means open as in “letters patent” being open letters granting a right. So, patently stupid means openly stupid. “Patent” now is also used to mean letters patent. Mixing the two meanings is great fun only so long as one knows what one is doing.

    • I think it says something about the imagination of writers (on a deadline, no doubt) that they all come up with the same phrases, don’t you think? This was just a lighthearted poke.

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