Season 3 Ep #8: Intellectual Property and a Wacky Professor – Trademarks and Inventions in the Springfield Universe, Part II (Podcast) – Patent


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This week on IP goes pop! co-hosts Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue are joined by Randy Huis, another intellectual property lawyer and Volpe Koenig shareholder, to once again visit the town of Springfield in the fictional, but very fun, world of The simpsons. Patents on sweets, robots and other inventions that seem more like they came from a writer’s bedroom rather than being based on an inventor’s technical notebook are filed with the Patent Office every day.

In this episode, listeners will get a taste of just how much intellectual property can come from or be inspired by popular culture.

As many know, The simpsons has a long history of accurately predicting future events and technologies. During IP Goes Pop! Last trip to the town of Springfield, Michael, Joe and Randy scratched the surface of some of the inventions and technologies of legendary cartoon “inventor” Homer Simpson. This time, their journey focuses on the inventions of everyone’s favorite “wacky” professor, John IQ Nerdelbaum Frink Jr. (aka Professor Frink).

So is The simpsons truly prophetic or does the show borrow inventions and technology from the real world? IP goes pop! is here to settle the account of “who did what first” – Professor Frink and The simpsons or a humble human inventor in real life.

Hear Michael, Joe and Randy watch eight popular inventions concocted by Professor Frink and their real-world manifestations, or possibly inspirations. From sports betting apps that now flood the airways with advertisements to acid projectiles, the line between fiction and reality may be thinner than you think. If you ever thought that something as outrageous as a “sarcasm detector”, created by a yellow cartoon character, could become a reality, then this episode will have you wondering “is there a patent for that?”


1:39 Professor John IQ Nerdelbaum Frink Jr.

4:15 The Simpsons predict

5:44 77X42 Super Sour Ball

8:53 Acid shot beam

13:37 Floyd – Robot

  • Fly (1986)

  • Real world examples
    • Roomba

    • You’re here

    • Publication 2022 (Autonomous mobile robot control system, associated control method, non-transitory computer-readable medium storing its control program and autonomous mobile robot control device) – US20220066454A1

  • isaac asimov

  • The JetsonsRosey the Robot

18:52 Robot Dog

24:56 Frinkosonic MHV – Soundwave Powered Vehicle

26:42 Quinn Greenhaus – Producer

27:01 Gamble-Tron 2000 – Sportsbook

  • Real world examples
    • sports betting apps

    • ‘have a bookmaker’

    • machine learning

    • IBM big blue

    • Sports Data Information Patents – Korean Patent 2015
      • Game result prediction method using sports data information – KR101585399B1

30:44 The Frink Hover Bike

  • Real world examples
    • “Iron Man” type costumes

    • “oversized” drone technology
      • Method for controlling an actuator system and aircraft using said method – US20210072771A1

32:47 Sarcasm detector

  • Real world example
    • Compassion, variety and cohesion for methods of analyzing text, writing, research, user interfaces – US9213687B2

34:10 Concluding Thoughts – Role of Inventions in Real and Imaginary Worlds

  • Does fiction guide science?

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