Friday, September 9, 2011


With all the patent lawsuit wars happening these days between pretty much every big-name tech company, including Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, HTC, (and the list goes on), you’d think the last thing we’d want to hear about today is another patent. However, this one happened to catch our eye. And, believe it or not, we’re talking about “eyes made out of coal.” Yes, Frosty the Snowman, or more correctly, snowmen and snowwomen as a whole, have been patented.

If you look at the 8,011,991th United States Patent, you will see the “Apparatus for Facilitating the Construction of a Snow Man/Woman,” granted to inventor Ignacio Marc Asperas of Melville, NY. The patent was filed on New Year’s Eve, Jan. 31, 2006 but was just granted on Sept. 6, 2011.

As someone who’s had to try to pick through long and boring patents to understand and extract the most important information, reading Asperas’ patent was actually a delight. It’s conversational and a bit humorous. Asperas says in the patent application that he’s surprised no one has thought of patenting the snowman before.

Asperas says that “as an old pro” he knows what a “pain in the back” it is to roll a snow boulder around a yard. As you all know, the more you roll the boulder around the yard, the larger the boulder grows and rolling it becomes exponentially harder. If you want to make a “real big snowman,” like Asperas does, you “end up breaking your back.”

The 25-page patent details methods for creating the spherical shape of the body, as well as some of the trials and tribulations, including uneven boulders that can make the snowman look like it has a “big caboose.” He also warns us that as temperatures rise, the snowman will melt, compact on itself and deform, possibly falling over. “Happy smiles fade into frowns.”

Asperas even goes into detail about a revolutionary way to build a snowman that would use a type of snow sphere that would make each boulder extremely light weight, but still able to hold snow thanks to static electricity that attracts and holds dry snow onto the sphere. His method of building a snowman is quite interesting, and we suggest you read the full patent for yourself (PDF).

And don’t go thinking this is a joke, because Asperas makes it perfectly clear in the beginning of the patent that it’s not. He includes a warning saying that “the following is not a joke patent.” He assures the readers that it’s completely serious.

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