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RestaurantIamA former Cold Stone Creamery employee of 2 years at one of the top stores in the country. AMA!

Nov 5th 2017 by calilexie • 15 Questions • 1451 Points

Every year since 2011, the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has shared intellectual property (IP) found in the deepest and darkest corners of our 200+ year old archives. This Halloween, join our social media team to talk all about #CreepyIP -- from how it got started, to the magic of searching for old patents and trademarks, to what invention artwork gives us the heebie jeebies.

The late Laura Larrimore – senior digital strategist

Liz ChuuuuUUUUUuuuuuUUUU – social media specialist

Paul “Freak Show” Fucito – press secretary

Paul “Redrum” Rosenthal – acting chief communications officer

Proof: AMA announcement from the official @USPTO account on Twitter

Send us your queries! We'll start answering questions at 9:30am ET.

UPDATE: Bats all, folks! Thanks so much for all your questions today, and have a safe and happy Halloween.

Want to suggest content for #CreepyIP? You can email us anytime at [email protected] with the subject line "#CreepyIP". Make sure to include the issued Patent or Trademark registration number so we can find the item in our archives.

Q:

I worked at The Stone for 4 years. Do you still have wrist problems? Lol I do!

A:

Has anyone ever recognized their (or their great-granddad's) invention that was used in Creepy IP?


Q:

i actually never got a cold stone related wrist problem but i did sprain my wrist from cheerleading towards the end of my stone career and was out for two weeks, still living with that pain lol

A:

Laura: No one on social media has told us they’ve recognized a family members’ patents during #CreepyIP yet. But among the staff, most of us will admit to doing a quick search of the archives to see if any of our relatives are listed there. Anyone can search them -- you can search by the inventors first and last name, and limit by date, so that’s one way to find out if “Uncle So-and-So who had a patent” actually did, and what the patent claimed to do.

In my office I have several copies of patents issued to my husband’s maternal grandfather. He worked for DuPont on fiber technology/science. He also invented something he called the “wrinkle-o-matic”, which was a device to scientifically measure how much natural fabrics wrinkled versus some of the new “wonder” fabrics of the time, like polyester!

Sometimes you also find weird things, like this hairdressing patent by “L.Larrimore” [Note: not me and not related to me] which are just neat. I printed out a copy and have it taped to my office door, next to my nameplate.


Q:

How did you feel about singing for tips?

A:

That's not weird at all. A similar design is employed in practically every hairdressing salon in the UK and probably elsewhere... Prevents water dripping down your neck.


Q:

my store went all out. it was go big or go home for anything a dollar or more. i was embarrassed at first but after a while it's second nature and i would come home after making $10/hr with $30+ in tips a night after a shift with 5 other people. not too shabby.

A:

Laura: That's cool to know! I don't think this design is as popular in the US -- the ones I've seen use a u-shaped dip in the sink bowl, where you rest your head.

I think the invention itself is totally practical -- what I found slightly eerie was finding a patent that looks like I was the inventor, even though it was patented decades before I was born. :::cue spooky music:::


Q:

Is it hard to maintain a healthy weight when you have ice cream open and in front of you available to eat any time you want to?

A:

I've always found the TESS interface pretty creepy - any plans to do a refresh?


Q:

i didn't witness any major weight gains from co-workers while i was there but i can imagine some people with slow metabolisms had trouble if they got a take home after every shift.

we used to have a milkshake called the PB&C that had to be taken off the menu because it had 2,000 calories in it so that could really send you down the shitter

A:

Paul F: We're always working to upgrade our IT tools, including TESS, which is part of our Trademarks Next Generation project. You can tune in to today's TPAC livestream for updates from CIO John Owens, starting at 10:50 am ET.


Q:

How much free ice cream did you give away during that promotion ?

A:

On Valentine's Day does the USPTO hold a Reddit_AMA on sexy tech: vibrators, contraceptives, toys, edible panties, etc.?


Q:

Corporate paid for $1,000 worth of ice cream and the franchise owners paid for another $1,000 of it. The free ice cream had to be a like it create your own which was like $4 at the time so around 500 cups of ice cream

A:

Nope. But you are welcome to search our patent archive --"Patent Full Text and Image Database" or trademark archive -- "TESS" in the privacy of your own home.


Q:

You know how to math.

A:

Favorite Halloween candy?


Q:

thank you, i try my hardest

A:

Laura: A favorite (trademarked!) candy of mine is Butterfinger®.


Q:

do you now hate ice cream?

A:

Favorite Halloween candy?


Q:

I actually loved it more after working there for two years than before I started. It became kind of an obsession.

A:

Liz: Kit Kats, always. I also wish more people handed out fun-sized bars of Skor.


Q:

How much did your arms grow?

A:

For example, what about "A non-transitory computer-readable medium, spooookily possessed with program code comprising..." ?


Q:

so much. i blame the chocolate ice cream aka rock hard hell.

A:

Liz: Any of the coffin patents, especially US 901,407, which is for a grave attachment. This patent is for an invention that provided a way to observe or watch a body after it’s been interred. It reminds me of the time I visited one of the historic cemeteries in New Orleans and learned about how some people were buried prematurely. There was definitely a need for this kind of invention.


Q:

What’s your favorite ice cream?

A:

This one creeps me out.


Q:

in general i've always been a die hard mint chip fan but i almost never got that at cold stone because the mint is like stretchy? at cold stone i would go through phases but my last one i was obsessed with was cheesecake ice cream with graham cracker crust and chocolate chips. a lot of people say the cheesecake tastes like sour milk though

A:

That's technically not a question, but it IS pretty creepy!


Q:

Did they just sell ice cream or could I get a greasy burger ?

What kind of cone options were there ?

Any non dairy ice cream served there for the vegans and lacos intolerant?

A:

This one creeps me out?


Q:

just ice cream and ice cream-related things, like milkshakes and these things we called "hot stones" which were like warm stuff with ice cream on top.

we had homemade waffle cones that we made out where everyone could see, those came dipped in chocolate with various toppings. we also had sugar cones.

sorbets are non-dairy and would be prepared in a sanitized container instead of the stone for any allergies or specialized diets. smoothies can be made non-dairy upon request but would be icier than normal because the yogurt smoothie base had powdered milk in it.

A:

Paul F: I have always been fascinated by technology and innovation, and getting to meet the people behind the inventions is simply amazing. As a former radio personality, being able to meet people like National Inventor’s Hall of Fame inductees James West, co-inventor of the Electret Microphone, or Garrett Brown, inventor of the Steadicam (who also happened to film the uber creepy tricycle scene in “The Shining”) is about as cool as it gets. I’m also fortunate enough to work with a great group of colleagues who share a similar sense of humor and tend to geek out over all the same things I do.


Q:

This one creeps me out?

A:

Sharon (our colleague in Human Resources):Thanks for your interest! The best way for us to understand your qualifications is by doing what you already know to do: apply via USAJOBS. But here’s something you might not already know: you can apply to more than one vacancy announcement for different engineering disciplines.  It’s the best way to increase your chances of landing an interview. 

For more info on jobs at the USPTO and to stay connected with us outside of Reddit, check us out on (LinkedIn) [https://www.linkedin.com/company/uspto] and at [@USPTOJobs on Twitter](http://www.twitter.com/uspto]!  

And if you have any additional questions, contact us at [email protected]!


Q:

Where can I go to view these creepy IPs?


Q:

How do you guys get paid, and do you guys get paid?

A:

Paul F: Yes, yes we do get paid. Today, it is strictly in bags of candy however, but for the rest of the year, you can see the OPM salary and wage breakdowns for federal employees here: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/2017/general-schedule/


Q:

For microentity fee purposes for a new application, if an inventor had previously filed a provisional and then a nonprovisional based on that same provisional, do they count as two previous filings or just one? If two, does that mean that an inventor who did that twice (two provs and two nonprovs based on said two provs) can no longer file another new application as a microentity?

A:

Since June 8, 1995, the USPTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for a patent which was designed to provide a lower-cost first patent filing in the United States. For more information on provisional versus nonprovisional patent applications, please refer to https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/provisional-application-patent. For your specific question, I’d recommend you talk to our Help Center. Phone: 800-786-9199.


Q:

Awesome. Thanks!

A:

Laura: Do medical devices count as torture devices? Even though we’ve made major advances in dentistry, anything related to going to the dentist is creepy to me. The patents for various old-time ‘advancements’ like this dental tool, are pretty horrific. I’m sure one day we’ll be saying the same thing about today’s high-tech tools and methods.


Q:

Are there any #CreepyIP's that one person on the team thought was REALLY creepy and another was like, "meh, that's not so creepy at all"? :-)

A:

Liz: I think we’ve all generally agreed that the patents and trademarks we’ve selected for #CreepyIP have been creepy or strange. I personally think that anything with clowns is extra creepy, but I’m sure there’s been someone on the team who views them as a piece of nostalgia from their childhood. Not. Me.