When Orville and Wilbur Wright first achieved powered flight on December 17, 1903, they didn’t invite the neighbors to a demonstration. They kept their flying machine under wraps until they were able to secure a patent.
Fortune writes, “patents are the lifeblood of the tech industry,” allowing companies to put their inventions on lockdown,” and “businesses to stock up their intellectual property.” This could explain why some published patents are so bizarre. In the race for to hold the most patents, sometimes quality or common sense, is lost. Some 487,150 patents were registered in the United States last year; 875 were related to Aeronautics and Astronautics; surely not all were brilliant ideas. Among the top patent seekers were Samsung, Microsoft, Google, Panasonic, Apple, General Electric, Boeing, Honeywell and Amazon.
And in aviation, it seemed the patents on creative aircraft seating arrangements were the buzziest this year. Here are the zaniest of the lot:
Patent Title: Passenger Seat Arrangement for a Vehicle
Also Known As: Stack Seating, Mezzanine Seating, Two-Story Seating
By stacking middle-aisle seats on two levels, passengers could have lie-flat comfort.
Applicant: Airbus Operations GmbH | Date Published: Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2015
Patent Title: Seating Arrangements
Also Known As: Hexagonal or Beehive Seating
Seating capacity could be increased by arranging passengers face-to-face in a hexagonal pattern.
Applicant: Zodiac Seats France | Date Published: Jun. 11, 2015
Patent Title: Transport Vehicle Upright Sleep Support System
Also Known As: Cuddle Chair
Instead of reclining, passengers could sleep face down with a massage chair-like apparatus for head support.
Applicant: The Boeing Company | Date Published: Feb. 26, 2015
Patent Title: Sleeping Box, Sleeping Box Arrangement and Aircraft Area
Also Known As: Sleep Pods, Sleeping Boxes, Flying Bunk Beds
Sleep pods for passengers seeking some shut-eye that’s reminiscent of Japanese capsule hotels.
Applicant: Airbus Operations GmbH | Date Published: Sept. 24, 2015
Patent Title: Aircraft Seat With Taxi Takeoff and Landing Lie Flat Capability
Also Known As: Cubicle Class
A lie-flat seat that’s padded all around so passengers can sleep during takeoff and landing.
Applicant: B/E Aerospace | Date Published: May. 14, 2015
Patent Title: Aircraft and Method of Serving Passengers
Also Known As: Sushi Automat, Conveyor Belt
Food and duty-free orders delivered straight to your seat via an under-floor conveyor belt.
Applicant: SELL GMBH | Date Filed: Apr. 9, 2015