Jewish rituals and the U.S. Patent Office

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

A very amusing article by David Zvi Kalman on the hundreds—perhaps thousands, inasmuch as nobody knows for sure exactly how many there are—of patents covering devices or processes relating to Jewish ritual observance, from the KosherSwitch ("the clever brainchild of Rube Goldberg and Erwin Schrödinger," according to Kalman, which (ostensibly) allows observant Jews to flick switches without violating Shabbat by interposing a laser and laser detector, programmed to "malfunction" at random intervals, between hand and light bulb) to my personal favorite, "Elijah's cup" (a novelty cup that creates the illusion that the contents of the cup are slowly disappearing—perfect for your next Seder!). Great stuff for your inner intellectual property nerd.

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