My 21-month old son loves to sing the song "Cows" from Sandra Boynton's Philadelphia Chickens album. Okay, so he doesn't know all the words. But he certainly knows the one-word chorus, "Cows". And over the last couple weeks, that word has become consistently more loud, pounding, deafening, pervasive, annoying..., to the point where I can't tell if it is on the CD player or just in my head. Over. And over. And over...
So when Landon IP's Blaise Mouttet [cow-] tipped me off to this week's patent, I knew it had to be written up.
Such remarkable cows...
U.S. Patent No.
Method of and an installation for milking an animal having at least two teats
Commentary: Where to start?
- First, although I did once milk a cow on an elementary school field trip to a farm, it's not an area where I'd consider myself an expert. Still, I think that the milking of animals is a skill/art that's been around since a few thousand years prior to the current Information Age. But apparently it was only with this invention that this more efficient method of milking was discovered.
- No figures? There's a system claim (8) that includes as an element a "stimulation device" and a "control arrangement." Figures here must not be "necessary for the understanding of the subject matter sought to be patented" per 35 USC 113.
- This was a national phase of a PCT application, originally filed in the Netherlands. That accounts for the strange form (the "wherein the method comprises" was originally "characterised by")
- Bilski. Is the animal, or the teat, the "apparatus" here? Is it a "particular" animal? Or is there a "transformation" taking place when extracting milk from an animal? Note that the other independent method claim (15), begins "In a robotic milking station, a method of milking..." But claim 1 is entirely manual.
- First action allowance.
- "At least two teats". I understand the need for this language in the claim (to differentiate the actions being performed on the different teats). But in the title? Know any animals with only one teat?