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Snow Jobs

The media is suddenly all atwitter about how our patent system is out of control. Some of this is (deservedly) brought on by the ridiculous patent wars currently going on between Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, HTC and others. Or by the increasing number of “patent trolls” — companies that don’t actually build much of anything but instead make their money the old fashioned way: by suing companies that violate the patents they hold.

But none of that is what got the media frosted. Instead, it was the granting earlier this month of a US patent for a technique for building a snowman (or woman, the patent notes) to inventor Ignacio Marc Asperas, of New York. You can read the patent yourself, and it is highly amusing.

But as usual, the media got it terribly wrong. This is not a patent for creating arbitrary snowmen, it is for a new and novel device (involving hollow spheres containing static electricity generators) to enable kids (and kids at heart) to build the snowman (or woman) of their dreams without breaking their backs lifting heavy snow boulders into position (the hollow spheres greatly reduce the weight). This is invention at its best — increasing joy while at the same time preserving the health of our youth! In these troubling economic times, it also increases jobs for lawyers, who will have to be employed to check snowmen (and women) make sure that nobody uses this new technique without the proper license.

Why is the media picking on poor Mr. Asperas? A quick search shows that there are at least a dozen patents (and numerous trademarks) already existing that relate to snowmen (and occasionally women).



  1. PatriotSGT wrote:

    That patent is awesome. Hilarious! John Stewart should have him on his show.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  2. Jeff wrote:

    One of my favorite authors, China Mieville, wrote a short story about what the world would be like if Christmas and all of it’s traditions were privatized. It’s funny until you realize it could actually happen.

    Here’s a link to the story:

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  3. Iron Knee wrote:

    Hilarious story — thanks for the link.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink
  4. David Freeman wrote:

    Delightful post! You are absolutely right, “increasing joy” is invention at it’s best and Mr. Asperas’ design really is quite clever. Here in the South, snowfall is usually light so I appreciate his efficient use of such a scarce resource.

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Permalink
  5. Marc Asperas wrote:


    Iron Knee, thanks for getting this! Some people really understand. It really brings tears of joy to my eyes that people are finding the humor and also the fun of this idea.

    You put it best, this is invention at its best. Small time inventor going out and doing something positive for the world… and having fun doing it.


    Tuesday, September 27, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink