Friends, it seems as though we've stumbled upon a true Festivus miracle. This is one of the strangest, funniest stories I've seen all year. It starts strange, and gets stranger.
We mentioned last week that Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is exploring the possibility of introducing a playoff system to college football. On his blog, he lamented that, in fact, three people had already registered a method patent for a college football playoff system, which Cuban describes as his first roadblock.
I understand that ideas can be patented, but it's strange to me that a patent for something as simple as a playoff system could be awarded. Anyway, that isn't the strangest part.
On Thursday, Techdirt did some digging and found what appears to be the patent in question. Here is the patent's abstract, which is meant to summarize the important points of the patent:
A protective fender is provided for use on a pontoon boat having at least an upper support member and a lower support member. The fender includes an elongated body formed from protective material. A first fastening structure is connected to the body, engageable with the lower support member and moveable between a plurality of positions along a length of the body. A second fastening structure is connected to the body, engageable with the upper support member and adjustable to vary the position of the second fastening structure relative to the body.
Why yes, the abstract does describe some sort of apparatus that attaches to a pontoon boat. This doesn't appear to be a case of a sheet of paper being filed in the wrong location -- on the same sheet, it states that it's a patent for a playoff system.
In the blog post, Cuban expressed his frustration toward people who file patents not because they intend to act on them, but because they want to get there first and get paid by people who do, which I can sort of understand. Again, though, how does this receive a patent? The way it's drawn up, it looks slightly complicated, but not as complicated as, say, a fender for a pontoon boat.