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142 comments

Considering how long it takes to get a patent... (2, Interesting)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389230)

Considering how long it takes to get a patent, he must have been in diapers when he submitted it. Kudos to him.

And the invention is a good idea too. My cell usually rests on the kitchen floor while it charges.

Re:Considering how long it takes to get a patent.. (4, Informative)

Unkyjar (1148699) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389836)

He was 6 when the patent applied for. I guess it also helps that his father is a lawyer that founded a law firm actually named Patent Technologies LLC.

Re:Considering how long it takes to get a patent.. (2, Interesting)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391324)

*double facepalm*

Either his father encouraged his son to make the patent as a sign of goodwill to educate his child on how to become an entrepreneurial inventor, or he owns a patent troll company and needed to file a patent and used his son.

I'll let ./ readers make up their mind.

I'm hoping it was not the latter. Patent doesn't seem broad enough for a troll.

Re:Considering how long it takes to get a patent.. (0, Offtopic)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 3 years ago | (#34392208)

./ != /.

./ == . == $PWD ( == ~ ?)

...damn it /.! This isn't ascii art and I'm not yelling!

Re:Considering how long it takes to get a patent.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34392234)

It's most likely the former. Pretty much every child thinks of a few things like this (the idea is prety obvious but it takes a mind not encoumbered by "life experience", to think "why isn't there a shelf here? maybe I should put a shelf here." rather than "damn I need a longer cord" ), but since no one takes children seriously the only time anything comes of all those ideas is when their parents happen totake the inmitiative and add their voice supporting the child's (in this case by filing a patent).

Re:Considering how long it takes to get a patent.. (1)

cream wobbly (1102689) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391652)

I rest my cellphone on top of the charger.

Can you say "prior art"?

so sad (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389244)

Something about this story just makes me want to cry soo hard. Faith in humanity lost yet again..

Re:so sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389432)

+1 Insightful

Re:so sad (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389504)

What made you sad? That an eight year old had a very good idea? It may not have been original to the world, but it was original to him. I, for one, see a future engineer. Nothing about that makes me sad.

Go troll elsewhere.

Re:so sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389676)

From the article: '"I thought how I was going to make a lot of money," Bryce said about what raced through his brain when he received the patent.'"

I do not see a future engineer, all I see is a future shell of a man cranking out useless commercial crap. There is no engineer here just another money grubbing human being that has no interest in the advancement of society but only the advancement of their own pockets. It pains me to see such vile behaver in someone as young as this.

Re:so sad (0, Flamebait)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389702)

Oh, please. Get over yourself.

Re:so sad (2, Insightful)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389822)

That was my first thought too. We see cartoons where talking animals kick over a rock and it's a lump of gold and "GUH GUH GUH GUH GUH GUH GUH GUH GUHGUHGUHGUHGUH O_O" ... I don't even do that when a hot 18 year old girl sits in my lap. I mean I make a grab for the hips and keep her close but hey. I certainly don't get an unmitigatable hard-on over a couple tens of thousands of dollars in front of me; my first thought is, "What's the catch?" (the catch is you have to market this shit, and you're minimally likely to change our cultural view of what outlets look like; this is a gimmick.)

A better man would have thought about the practical purpose of such an invention. A thinking man. A man who is going to invent something even better.

Re:so sad (1, Flamebait)

EL_mal0 (777947) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391372)

An eight year old, on the other hand, thinks about the cool hockey equipment and tickets he could get with even a modest sum. To an eight year old, hundreds of dollars is a lot of money, and the tens of thousands that you pass off as no big deal is a fortune.

Re:so sad (2)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 3 years ago | (#34392090)

Oh, for Pete's sake. Think about this for a minute.

Money has never been my first priority in life. My brother? It's always been his first priority in life and I despise the guy as he's an insufferable prick and as cruel a human being as I know of because of money being his first priority. He's so tight he squeaks when he walks, and doing something for someone else is always at the very bottom of his list of priorities. My old man was a prick too, but at least he helped other people when he had the money, and my brother hated him for helping others.

That being said, if I had received a patent on an invention of mine, my first response wouldn't have been another invention, but how I could put the proceeds coming from this invention to work for me. You know, pay off bills, investments I could make so the money would work for me, buy some land, etc.... If the rewards were big enough to do more than that I'd think about what I could do for others with it but I have needs too and if I don't consider my own needs first I'll never really help anyone else because I'm not being responsible.. But, condemning an 8 year old kid for having dreams of things that 8 year old's like is just stupid and mean-spirited, as you're condemning a child for not being mature.

Also, the question asked, and the answer given, could very well not be what the kid does with his money. All he did was answer the question posed to him, and he already may have changed his mind. He isn't going to get an immediate return on his money, and it sounds as if his parents are responsible people. He will have a chance to rethink his priorities before he gets any money back on his invention, and the experience of having to deal with delayed gratification may well teach him something. Even if he does buy a few hundred dollars worth of sports equipment what's that to the possible income from his invention? Probably only a very small part, and I'll bet you that you've spent more on entertainment in your lifetime than this kid has stated would be his first purchases. Plus, you're much older than he is, so what's your excuse for blowing money on entertainment?

Re:so sad (1, Interesting)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389992)

"Advancement of society" is completely subjective. Maybe somebody someday will spend the time he normally used picking up his charging cell phone off the floor coming up with an idea for curing cancer. I'm just happy the kid has a bright future ahead of him.

There was a time where insulting a child was off limits (particularly one you know nothing about), but I know that's long in the past...

Re:so sad (2, Insightful)

kheldan (1460303) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390288)

IN THIS COMMENT: Butthurt Anonymous Coward cries and whines over the fact that someone of single-digit age came up with a simple yet innovative idea that might just put him through college one day, while the AC OP sits lonely and fat in his stepmother's basement, unable to even hold down a job at the local Burger King.
Stop being such a fucking whiner, AC. Go back to community college and actually learn some job skills (Protip: XBAWKS360 doesn't count as "job skills") and maybe you'll actually get a job someday.

Re:so sad (1, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390500)

There is no engineer here just another money grubbing human being that has no interest in the advancement of society but only the advancement of their own pockets. It pains me to see such vile behaver in someone as young as this.

Seriously, it can be two things.

You can make the world a better place, and get some for your own stack.

Altruism is all well and good, but the profit motive is perfectly reasonable as well. Maybe some of the truly Open Source die-hards think we should all live in communes and evolve beyond the need for money like in Star Trek ... in the meantime, I still expect to get paid.

However, having said that, he's the son of a patent lawyer ... he will almost never do anything for the good of society without considering the paycheck. Then again, neither will most people.

Re:so sad (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391874)

When you're raised in a society that indirectly praises the greedy and corrupt, what do you expect? He was shaped by his environment, if he was shaped at all.

Re:so sad (3, Insightful)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391910)

It pains me to see an adult (I'm assuming) get so butt-hurt about an 8 year-old succeeding that they'll whine this much about so-called "vile behavior." He didn't come up with this design to save the freaking world, he recognized his father's problem and then realized he could make money for solving it. Do you go to work every day for free?

Re:so sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34392168)

The way I see it, he's an 8 year old trying to fund his hobbies with his work, just like the majority of people I know. He's not trying to make money to be evil... he's trying to make money to buy hockey equipment. You might as well bitch about a 16 year old who gets a summer job to save up for a car... or a mid-career IT worker who moonlights to pay off their house before retirement. Damn them all for wanting money.

The fact that he filed a patent does not define who he will be as an adult. Stop speculating that he will turn out to be a scumbag just because you don't agree with his motives.

Re:so sad (2, Insightful)

j00r0m4nc3r (959816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390220)

What made you sad?

It makes me sad too. Here's an 8-year-old kid who is already turned into a money-grubbing materialist by his parents. The quest for money is the most empty and fruitless thing in life but our society idolizes it beyond everything else. He should be out playing with his friends and teasing girls and enjoying his youth instead of writing patent applications and worrying about how much money he's going to make and what useless crap he's going to buy with it. Not only that but he's going to take his money and feed it straight into the pockets of overpaid professional sports players, who certainly don't need it. I don't blame the kid because he's probably just emulating his patent-lawyer dad, but it would be nice if our society was less focused on money and material possessions and more on things that actually matter. Maybe the kid will turn out alright, but I don't hold much hope.

Re:so sad (1)

windcask (1795642) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390326)

The quest for money is the most empty and fruitless thing in life but our society idolizes it beyond everything else.

You say that as though it's fact. People are achievement-driven, not money driven. Money is just part of the equation of a successful life. I'd say getting a patent when you're eight is a good first step towards success. I don't know about you, but where I grew up the kids who were at the top of my class were more often than not the best athletes (and the richest, too). If I were a betting man, I'd say that kid's probably spending more time with his friends and enjoying his childhood than you think. His dad's just trying to take give him a head start in life; I see no fault in that.

Re:so sad (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390608)

The quest for money is the most empty and fruitless thing in life but our society idolizes it beyond everything else.

You say that as though it's fact. People are achievement-driven, not money driven. Money is just part of the equation of a successful life. I'd say getting a patent when you're eight is a good first step towards success. I don't know about you, but where I grew up the kids who were at the top of my class were more often than not the best athletes (and the richest, too). If I were a betting man, I'd say that kid's probably spending more time with his friends and enjoying his childhood than you think. His dad's just trying to take give him a head start in life; I see no fault in that.

All true, except you ignore GP's comment entirely. Remember, it's not money itself that is the "root of much evil", but the love of money. This child exhibited that love. Instead of replying "I thought it was neat" or "I thought up a new invention", he said he was all about the muhnee.

Re:so sad (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390614)

And how do you know this kid doesn't do that? Does the paragraph Slashdot summary give you that keen insight into his life. Again... get over yourself.

Sounds like sour grapes to me. (1)

maillemaker (924053) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390800)

Here is a kid with developing engineering an entrepreneurial spirit, and you are poo-pooing it.

Re:so sad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34390548)

It may not have been original to the world, but it was original to him.

If that's so, then he shouldn't have gotten a patent on it.

Re:so sad (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391700)

My first thought was "Oh look, someone learning that the patent system only works for the Big Boys". If he thinks his riches aren't coming fast enough now, just wait until the market is flooded with cheap Chinese-made ripoffs.

That said, it looks like a fairly good idea if it's made with the right materials (hard plastic+"rubberized" coating to protect shins). Shame I didn't think of it first.

wtf (2, Interesting)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389252)

These things have been available for years. Also the link to the patent is wrong.

Re:wtf (5, Insightful)

Arancaytar (966377) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389306)

These things have been available for years.

When has that ever stopped a patent?

Re:wtf (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389354)

Too true.

Re:wtf (4, Informative)

Jaysyn (203771) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389362)

Re:wtf (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389408)

Indeed. I've seen one of these in my kitchen for years.

Perhaps the whole idea is just that no jury would convict an 8 year old?

Corrupt legal system. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389526)

Convict?!? What would happen is that the kid's father, probably the one who really "invented" this, would sue and then settle out of court for tens of thousands of dollars. Rinse - repeat. Considering how expensive it is for us hoi polloi to defend ourselves in court, the kid's father will clean up with out of court settlements.

Let's face it, our legal system is corrupt. He who has the most money, or free legal advice, wins!

Re:Corrupt legal system. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390072)

Be still my beating heart - "hoi polloi" spelled - and used - correctly(!!) - by an AC - on Slashdot! Perhaps there's hope for our education system after all ..... Naaaahhh.

Re:Corrupt legal system. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34390276)

He most likely attended a private school. I attended a parochial school system for 12 years, and after a decade of heavy drug abuse with no usage of, or refreshing of, my high school English skills, I was still in the 95th percentile in English skills when I thought about going to college. That tells me the public school system in this country very lousy.

Re:Corrupt legal system. (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390422)

I attended a parochial school system for 12 years, and after a decade of heavy drug abuse with no usage of, or refreshing of, my high school English skills, I was still in the 95th percentile in English skills when I thought about going to college. That tells me the public school system in this country very lousy.

Damn. You had me up until that last bit.

Re:wtf (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389920)

On Power Shelf's site they have a video stating she thought of it in April 2008. They apparently filed for patents at some point, but in the article referenced the boy invented it in 2007, and assumedly filed a patent quickly (dad is attorney).

So it may not be prior - IANAL but I assume whoever files first is the winner

Re:wtf (2, Insightful)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390026)

Only the first link is similar to the kid's "invention" because it is the only one that is a replacement wall plate. The kid did improve on the invention by placing the shelf "above" the outlets instead of below so you can actually stack things on the shelf without blocking the outlets. Of course IANAPL but the kid's idea is probably sufficiently different from the first link that neither infringe on each other's "IP". I mean he didn't patent "wall plate shelves" (overly broad) but only his "design" of the wall plate shelf (specific)...

Pretty good for an 8-year old if you ask me...

Re:wtf (3, Interesting)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390230)

Only the first link is similar to the kid's "invention" because it is the only one that is a replacement wall plate. The kid did improve on the invention by placing the shelf "above" the outlets instead of below so you can actually stack things on the shelf without blocking the outlets. Of course IANAPL but the kid's idea is probably sufficiently different from the first link that neither infringe on each other's "IP". I mean he didn't patent "wall plate shelves" (overly broad) but only his "design" of the wall plate shelf (specific)...

Last I checked, most outlets were pretty symmetrical, so that "below the plug" shelf can be turned 180 degrees around and made into an "above the plug" shelf. It may not look nice (if it was designed to below the plug), but anyone with a screwdriver could trivially turn it around if twas that useful.

Hell, there's enough bad handymen out there that at least several people would've installed it upside down. Other than looking funny, they probably don't know better.

No, there's got to be more to this patent than simply turning it around...

Re:wtf (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390656)

Last I checked, most outlets were pretty symmetrical, so that "below the plug" shelf can be turned 180 degrees around and made into an "above the plug" shelf.

Do you not have grounded plugs where you live?

Around here, most plugs are three-prong. And, even most of the newer two-prong plugs have a wider blade on one side which will only go into the socket one way to provide some grounding.

In my house, if it's intended to go into the plug one way, it's *only* going to fit in one way. There is not 180 degree rotational symmetry for most things.

Re:wtf (2)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390760)

unless you're in England, "Outlet Cover" is not synonymous with "Outlet Plug"

Re:wtf (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390942)

unless you're in England, "Outlet Cover" is not synonymous with "Outlet Plug"

Fair enough, I wasn't thinking in terms of the actual faceplate.

Re:wtf (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391678)

The wall cover will fit either way as single and double gang NEMA 1 and NEMA 5 outlets are symmetrical externally.

Besides, even if they were not symmetrical would be a trivial matter to install an outlet fixture upside down.

Re:wtf (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391850)

Besides, even if they were not symmetrical would be a trivial matter to install an outlet fixture upside down.

See, now there you go sounding like an engineer or something.

True story -- some friends and I went out for lunch, and when one guys sandwich arrives, the bottom bread was torn and the sandwich would have fallen apart/made a mess.

The solution, of course, was to invert the sandwich so the structurally sound piece of bread was on the bottom. :-P

Re:wtf (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390798)

But wait... I'm confused... Aren't we at slashdot supposed to be upset because the patent system doesn't enable people to innovate on existing inventions... They are so broad that no one can solve the same problem in different ways...

Now we're upset that this kid did get to improve on an existing invention? I'd be willing to bet you could get a patent on a wall plate shelf with the shelves off to the side of the outlets. Unless this post now constitutes prior art...

I would argue it should be as simple as turning it upside down. If that wasn't listed in the claims of the original invention, shouldn't it be fair game for anyone else?

Re:wtf (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390998)

Patents are invariant over Euclidian similarity transformations of translation, rotation and scaling. Meaning you can't patent "the same thing but bigger" or "rotated 180 degrees." At least you shouldn't be able to.

Re:wtf (1)

serbanp (139486) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391756)

Pretty good for an 8-year old if you ask me...

Come on! is this innovative enough (not obvious to a person skilled in the art etc) to merit a patent? I think not. Just because a patent lawyer thought it's neat to have his kid's name on a shiny plate there is no reason to actually do it.

The USPTO has a severe case of diarrhea, approving so many useless and, very often, frivolous patents (there are 200,000 granted each year). There is no need to further inflate the statistics with this crap.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34390702)

Sound like he has in-house council, his dad is patent lawyer. He'll make lot of money in suing the prior competition because his lawyer expenses are lower.

Re:wtf (1)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389394)

Not only is he the youngest patent recipient, he'll also become the youngest patent troll! Hooray for the system.

Re:wtf (2, Informative)

Palidase (566673) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389722)

He isn't the youngest patent recipient. The youngest was a 4 year old who created a device for grasping round knobs on doors and cabinets, intended for peopel with physical disabilities.

Re:wtf (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389864)

Whee... didn't even RTFS, eh? The youngest patent recipient is a 4-year old in Texas.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389396)

<troll flavor="delicious">
But he's just an 8-year-old boy! Probably lives below the poverty line! Give the dog his day.
</troll>

Re:wtf (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389832)

These things have been available for years.

Hence the need for the patent. To prevent copycats, or litigate / force them into paying royalties if there are already copycats.

Re:wtf (1)

neowolf (173735) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390424)

I guess the Patent Office still doesn't know about Google. Lots of prior art, existing products, and I've made a couple of tiny shelves above my own outlets as far back as ten years ago.

Re:wtf (1)

AltairDusk (1757788) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390472)

First thing I thought of when I saw the picture. I've seen these for sale many times, often the shelf was positioned below the outlet but I find it hard to believe changing the shelf location warrants a patent.

to bad billy mays is not around to sell this! (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389314)

to bad billy mays is not around to sell this!

Re:to bad billy mays is not around to sell this! (3, Funny)

assemblerex (1275164) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389814)

Shouldn't that be in all caps?

Re:to bad billy mays is not around to sell this! (1)

Java Pimp (98454) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390074)

See now that is funny!! somebody mod this up please!

Re:to bad billy mays is not around to sell this! (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390718)

to bad billy mays is not around to sell this!

There's always the Shamwow guy [wikipedia.org] . :-P

Great! (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389340)

Now you can take an 8 year old to court.

Re:Great! (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389796)

Now you can take an 8 year old to court.

Don't you mean, now an 8 year old can take YOU to court?

Re:Great! (2, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390054)

No, that's just in Soviet Russia

What's in a number? (3, Insightful)

geegel (1587009) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389368)

The age seems pretty irrelevant. He actually invented an useful contraption, which he intends to produce and sell. This is actually a patent working as it should.

Re:What's in a number? (1)

geegel (1587009) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389444)

Whoops, just saw the posts containing prior art. That kinda throws a wrench into my whole argument.

Re:What's in a number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389484)

What's funny to me is that an 8-year-old achieved more than most Slashdotters of all ages have.

Re:What's in a number? (1)

Metrathon (311607) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389542)

Getting a patent on something you can already order from amazon?

Re:What's in a number? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34389750)

And when your father works in the patent lawyer industry?

Re:What's in a number? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390118)

How do you know that he didn't file for the patent before you could order similar on Amazon?

And assuming this eight year old really invented it himself and was unaware of any other similar devices, I think it is damn impressive anyhow.

Re:What's in a number? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390786)

It doesn't seem like this took any serious R&D, and that this would be something that was more or less a Eureka moment, and then a small amount of time figuring out the specifics for how to do implement it. Piano prodigies and the like are more impressive IMO.

Re:What's in a number? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390992)

So he has to compare with Piano prodigies? I think I agree more and more with the OP's assessment of this kid versus the average Slashdotter.

Re:What's in a number? (1)

clone52431 (1805862) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390896)

ORLY?

Well, I invented this:

http://ompldr.org/vNmQ5ZA/bilde.jpg [ompldr.org]

I doubt it’s patentable, though. It makes too much sense and you don’t need a silly shelf.

Pass Code (3, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389392)

Would this pass U.S. electrical codes? I am not an electrician, but wonder if the hazard of weight busting the cover would present a problem.

Re:Pass Code (1)

richy freeway (623503) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389510)

Unless you're still using a cell phone from the 80's, I don't think weight is going to be much of an issue.

Re:Pass Code (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389550)

But you will find that electrical codes anticipate misuse and are often overspec'd. I just wonder if this is one of those cases.

Re:Pass Code (4, Interesting)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389582)

Or imagine that because there is a shelf protruding that it is much more likely that someone kicks it, something falls on it, or something else unexpected suddenly puts tremendous torque on the plate.

Re:Pass Code (1)

rolfwind (528248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391118)

I suspect the shelf will just bend and break. The outlets are usually very sturdy (obnoxiously so) and usually attached to a stud. The shelf is weak, in comparison.

Re:Pass Code (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391368)

Apparently you have never worked on an old house. Often, you will find outlets attached to the lath(sp?) board.

Re:Pass Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34392360)

That's true, unless they're retrofit outlets, in which case they are attached to the drywall and are UL/NEC approved and therefore the device must anticipate such usage.

That being said, standard UL approved outlet covers are made out of very brittle plastic and will break if you just overtorque the screw, nevermind put load on them, so I expect UL isn't all that picky on these things.

Dangerous (3, Informative)

samjam (256347) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390092)

I saw one of these demo'd a while back on Dragons Den as the "inventor" tried to get funding.

The dragon nearly showed that while it looks like a shelf, it's really a lever for exposing high voltage electrical wiring.

So we appreciate the idea behind it, but it's so obviously got dangerous and potentially operational modes that can occur in normal (not intended) use.

Better to tie your phone to a piece of string and tie the string to the charger - then if anyone yanks or kicks it, it'll just pull the charger out. I realise that this won't work on flimsy US sockets, I also realise that a half-out plug can be a fire risk as well as cause damage to the connectors that can make it a permanent fire risk, so it's still a bad idea - even making a shelf out of the charger is a bad idea

Re:Pass Code (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390654)

Probably not much of a hazard with MOST receptacles, where the box was anchored to a wall stud during initial construction. But when an electrician installs additional receptacles AFTER the sheetrock is in place, most of the time they will use an "old work" or "cut-in" box, which is essentially clamped onto the sheetrock itself. Sheetrock has very little structural value.

The shelf on the top could act like a really nice lever to bust the box loose from the wall if some idiot puts too much weight on it.

If this kid is planning to sell these, I hope he has some serious product liability coverage when the inevitable accident occurs.

Re:Pass Code (1)

Missing.Matter (1845576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391218)

If this kid is planning to sell these, I hope he has some serious product liability coverage when the inevitable accident occurs.

This is the problem with 8 year olds running businesses. Instead of thinking about these issues, he thinks "Now how can I sell these so I can buy a hockey puck?" Actually I take that back; most businesses don't have the foresight to realize these issues. He'll make a fine capitalist!

Re:Pass Code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34392012)

If this kid is planning to sell these, I hope he has some serious product liability coverage when the inevitable accident occurs.

Excuse me, I need to go patent a new business model.

Patents Can Be Easy (1)

BoRegardless (721219) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389656)

The market segment, sales and production can be the most difficult.

Good thing he has supportive parents in more ways than one.

Maybe this will set Bryce off on a lifelong career?

Father Helped A LOT (1)

TidMiste (1727368) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389860)

If you read the articles, you'll see that his father is actually the founder of a patent law firm. An 8 year old gets a patent extremely fast as compared to the years many corporations wait for just as legitimate patents, and no one sees that maybe his father pulled a TON of strings for it? In the real world, he would wait as long, if not longer, for that patent to roll through the patent office as a major corporation would have to wait. His father is teaching him about patents the wrong way. Sure, the kid has some success coming for him, but when he's older, he'll learn the hard way that it is NEVER that easy.

I call shenanigans (0)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34389942)

Not on the 8-year-old and their patent, but on the patent mentioned that was issued to the 4-year-old. You don't really expect us to believe that a patent was issued to someone in Texas for an invention that had nothing to do with killing people, do you?

Sheesh, I wasn't born yesterday.

Re:I call shenanigans (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390156)

Ah, you are wrong. You see the "device to aid elderly to turn door knobs" was designed to help her great-grandma get into the shotgun closet. that way if the pistol on the counter isn't the right tool for the job, granny has options.

I am glad I could clear that up for you.

Re:I call shenanigans (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390484)

designed to help her great-grandma get into the shotgun closet

Guns can be kept in closets? That in and of itself would likely be news in Texas.

Fire code violation (1)

srussia (884021) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390090)

I hope he earns enough to cover the class-action suit after someone trips on this thing and starts an electrical fire.

Coming next week! (1)

Nailer235 (1822054) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390140)

Next week's headline: "Eight year old's patent invalidated over prior art."

Bryce, Bryce, Bryce (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390354)

You have to sue people to make money from patents. Your daddy is the lawyer. He's the one who's going to makes money from your idea, not you.

Patent Existing products (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390512)

http://www.slipperybrick.com/2009/06/the-power-shelf-holds-your-gadgets-while-they-charge/ [slipperybrick.com]

I have had a device EXACTLY like this for over 10 years now. I bought one in 1999 at a strange thrift/junk store.

Glad to see the patent system not checking to see if something exists already.

Better Design Already Exists (1)

TrekkieTechie (1265532) | more than 3 years ago | (#34390570)

Not only have products like this been on the market for some time -- even big enough for laptops [thinkgeek.com] -- ThinkGeek sells a better one [thinkgeek.com] that keeps your phone from falling.

at this rate.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34390620)

At the age of 12 he will be patent trolling.

My kid can beat up this kid!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34391042)

Had to go there... sorry... carry on...

...further illustrating patent system is broken (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391268)

Kid or not, the undeniable fact is this is a previously existing "invention" that has been on the market for about a decade (at least). 10 seconds with google produced a half dozen variations, so I doubt the kid, or parents were unaware of prior art.

The fact that the patent office actually awards patents on things that are extraordinary slight variations on existing products is just showing how broken our patent system is. THAT is the story here, not some tinkering kid (although I would encourage him to keep at it, the world needs more As Seen On TV crap).

Hockey Tickets (1)

Lifyre (960576) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391398)

You know it's sad when the most interesting part about the article was that he wants to buy hockey skates and Buffalo Sabres tickets...

Yeah, Right (1)

The Wild Norseman (1404891) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391606)

Ya know, kids invent useful things all the time. People in general often invent useful things all the time. Just that almost no one has a patent attorney for a dad that's willing to force a patent through on the inventor's behalf. Ladies and gentlemen, we are not looking at the next Mozart or Da Vinci -- we are looking at the next Bill Gates whose real success wasn't a brilliance with computers, but having a shifty lawyer for a dad to teach his kid how to manipulate and leverage the laws in his favor, regardless of the merits of the actual invention.

Prior art (1)

jklovanc (1603149) | more than 3 years ago | (#34391816)

Does this [hardwarestore.com] look familiar to anyone. They have been around for years. It looks like the kid patented a minor change to an outdoor cover plate so the door opens perpendicular to the wall.
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