The patent system has gone bonkers the past few years. For proof, look no further than this wonderful gem:
A method of swing on a swing is disclosed, in which a user positioned on a standard swing suspended by two chains from a substantially horizontal tree branch induces side to side motion by pulling alternatively on one chain and then the other.
On April 9th, 2002 the US patent office issued a patent for A Method of Swinging on a Swing. On July 1st, 2003 it was reexamined and all claims cancelled, but for a whopping 13 months this was a valid issued patent and, in theory, you could get sued for swinging in a particular way without asking permission.
After describing a short history of swinging (did you know swings were patented in 1881?) – the back-and-forth and the ever so popular screw-and-spin methods – the patent claims that:
These methods of swinging on a swing although of considerable interest to some people can lose their appeal with age and experience. A new method of swinging on a swing would therefore represent an advance of great significance and value.
To swing like Figure 2 shows – side-to-side instead of front-to-back – one must merely pull on each chains alternatively. Similar to how you shift your body weight for normal swinging. A bit of imagination can make the new swinging method even more fun:
Lastly, it should be noted that because pulling alternately on one chain and then the other resembles in some measure the movements one would use to swing from vines in a dense jungle forest, the swinging method of the present invention may be referred to by the present inventor and his sister as “Tarzan” swinging. The user may even choose to produce a Tarzan-type yell while swinging in the manner described, which more accurately replicates swinging on vines in a dense jungle forest. Actual jungle forestry is not required.
My swing can be a jungle vine and I can pretend to be Tarzan! No jungle forestry required! Scoar!
However, it is possible to make the whole thing even more fun by incorporating back-to-front swinging to produce an oval motion – you should be careful that the side-to-side axis is longer though, otherwise it isn’t as fun. Apparently.
Lucky for us the magnificent inventor says that
Licenses are available from the inventor upon request.
Which is great because my first thought after sitting on a piece of wood suspended from a bar has always been asking someone’s permission to swing.