This probably won’t seem all that funny to people who’ve never had to do patent stuff, but I thought it was pretty hilarious. Here, via TechDirt, is one of the claims from a patent.

“9. The method of providing user interface displays in an image forming apparatus which is really a bogus claim included amongst real claims, and which should be removed before filing; wherein the claim is included to determine if the inventor actually read the claims and the inventor should instruct the attorneys to remove the claim.”

Ouch. I’ve actually been doing something similar with specs for years. I always put in at least one totally irrelevant or outrageous statement in each spec, just to see if people actually read them. I’ve even put in footnotes identifying them as such, and a couple of times even offered rewards for the first person to notice, but to no avail. There are some things that you just can’t get people to read, even when it affects them.