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Wacky Patent Wednesday: Ice Cream Edition

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As you know, throughout August, LegalZoom is “Celebrating Innovation.” Along with highlighting awesome creations and giving away some great prizes like trademark and patent filings and a Samsung Galaxy Tab, here at the blog we’re going to feature some of the strangest inventions that have passed through the United States Trademark and Patent Office (USPTO) in a series called:

Wacky Patent Wednesdays

And what better place to start than with summer’s own wonderful treat for which we all scream—ice cream!

There is certainly no shortage of patents involving ice cream, and many are very handy and useful such as the hand-cranked freezer in 1846 (still essentially how ice cream is made today), an ice cream mold and scooper in 1897, and the Good Humor ice cream bar in 1923.

Without these, our summers just wouldn’t be the same. But this is where we start getting a little wacky.

US5971829: Motorized Ice Cream Cone

US5971829: Motorized Ice Cream Cone

Are you tired of having to continuously turn your ice cream cone, head, or both just to enjoy a little refreshing snack?

Enter the motorized ice cream cone! From the patent application, this is:

a novelty amusement eating receptacle for supporting, rotating and sculpting a portion of ice cream or similarly malleable food while it is being consumed comprising: a hand-held housing, a cup rotatably supported by the hand-held housing and adapted to receive and contain a portion of ice cream or food product of similar consistency, and a drive mechanism in the hand-held housing for imparting rotation upon the cup and rotationally feeding its contents against a person’s outstretched tongue.

US5131832: Motorized Ice Cream Cone

US5131832: Motorized Ice Cream Cone

What if you’re just at home and want a dish of ice cream—but find that straight out of the freezer, it’s just too hard to scoop? Why reach for that microwave door when you can try a heated ice cream apparatus instead?

The patent application describes this as “[a]n ice cream scoop including a ladle formed with an interior wall and exterior wall defining a heating chamber therebetween.” Presumably this will help soften up that hard ice cream directly out of the freezer and aid the scooping process.

Last but not least, I *really* wanted to include “Johnny Macaroni” in this list of wacky ice cream patents, but I haven’t been able to verify that it is indeed patented. The closest I’ve found is a patent for this “Method container for viscous food products” but it’s not held by the maker of the YouTube video. Still, here’s a glimpse of Johnny, with ice cream being squeezed out of his head, in a screenshot from the video:

Johnny Macaroni in action

Johnny Macaroni in action

Sadly Johnny Macaroni’s YouTube video won’t allow embedding, but this is from the description: “‘Johnny Macaroni’ is an innovative soft food dispenser, shaped as a doll, that enables children to combine playing and eating simultaneously. The doll was especially designed to be attractive and creative to children, as well as easy to operate.”

Consider it a wacky invention, if not patent, and be sure to come back next week for another edition of Wacky Patent Wednesdays!

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August 3rd, 2011 at 10:55 am