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The scariest Halloween patents

Free access: A method for rapid fish beheading, a gun for firing grasshoppers and a mechanism for extracting blood? It has to be Halloween

Now Managing IP would love to say that it dug up the best list of ghastly and gruesome patents especially for November 5, but it can't. The USPTO was way ahead.

The Office published a feature on its kids pages - The Little Shop of Patent and Trademark Horrors - several years ago, and it remains the best selection out there. Blogs and others have been catching up ever since.

The Shop includes games, quizzes and torture devices. Our favourite, however is Something Fishy.

Fish-beheading apparatus

Here we find patent 5,458,535, which presents a vastly complicated apparatus to quickly and effectively chop off fish heads. Those fish heads can then be used in patent number 5,172,510, a fish lure created out of stuffing a head into a plastic body with dangling tendrils.

If Managing IP were to go fishing, though, it would have to make use of patent 5,103,585, the Cricket Gun, which allows a fisherman to dispense crickets over a large area.

If you are a bloodsucking creature of the night, we recommend The Virtual Vampyre page, which includes a blood lancet (if you don't fancy that nasty biting business) and a heart pump for "the circulation of blood outside the body of a living subject".

More recent patents have not been as gruesome. The best US patent registration in 2011 appears to be 7,594,669: a pumpkin on wheels for kids to collect their treats in (registered by Linda Acosta of Illinois).

Steve van Dulken of the British Library highlights a system registered this year for automatic trick or treating in his blog, which seems much more efficient.

Another favourite, from 2008, is the Halloween Trick Bowl, which allows the host of a party to insert his hand into the bottom of a bowl, grabbing an unsuspecting guest as he reaches for a crisp or similar snack.

Of the 82 patents on Espacenet worldwide with 'Halloween' in the title, only two are from Europe. Both originating in Germany, they are for a calendar ("eg Halloween") and a clip to decorate a curtain rail. Pretty pathetic, Europe.

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