Nebraska Patent

In 2007 This Guy Tried To Patent A Marriage Proposal


Nebraska Man, Robert Thomas Grace, Tried To Patent The Marriage Proposal

Marriage Proposal Patent

Valentine’s Day was yesterday and thousands of couples got engaged. It all began with a marriage proposal. If Robert Thomas Grace would have had his way, then you would have been violating his patent. Good news though, the United States Patent and Trademark Office denied the patent.

The legitimate patent application was published on April 5, 2007. It is identified on the application as a “Method and instrument for proposing marriage to an individual”.

We have to hand it to Mr. Grace though as there was no existing patent for marriage proposals. Grace is actually a patent attorney and the marriage proposal patent was actually the way he proposed to the future Mrs. Grace.

The abstract reads:

The purpose of this invention is to provide an improved method of proposing marriage to an individual. The method of proposing to an individual generally comprising the steps of meeting the individual; exchanging names with the individual; dating the individual (not necessary); drafting a government document having a proposal to marry the individual incorporated therein; and showing the government document to the individual. The government document may be a patent application. The patent application may claim the method by which the proposor will make a marriage proposal to the individual. The proposor could then use the method claimed in the patent application to propose to the individual. The patent application could be the actual marriage proposal
As you can see by reading the verbiage carefully the intention was to propose to his then girlfriend.
This wasn’t the first patent for Mr. Grace, he also wrote a patent directed at his parents as “method and instrument for expressing gratitude for a scholastic experience”.  The gratitude patent reads even better:
The method of claim 1 wherein at least one of said claims of the expression of gratitude document recites: “I have no idea where to begin in thanking you two for all you have done for me over the last twenty six years. Your support throughout high school, college and law school has allowed me to pursue many of my interests that would have been set aside if it was not for your help. This time and education you two have given me are irreplaceable. The example you two have set has driven me in more ways then I care to express in a patent application, and the manner in which you two have approached life has given me a whole new outlook on my own fixture. I hope someday, in some way, I can repay you two for all you have done. However corny this may be, I know of no other way to express the sincerity of my gratitude. Thank you….”

The method of claim 1 further comprising signing the expression of gratitude document and depositing the expression of gratitude document with the United States Postal Service…. The method of claim 1 further comprising sending the expression of gratitude document to the United States Patent and Trademark Office….

[In the diagram] Reference numeral 12 generally refers to the step of providing a beneficiary and at least one benefactor. In many situations, step 12 will include a second benefactor. In such a situation, the first benefactor is preferably named Ted Grace (hereinafter “Ted”), the second benefactor is preferably named Irene Grace (hereinafter “Irene”), and the beneficiary is preferably named Ryan Grace (hereinafter “Ryan”). Ted and Irene might also be the father and mother of Ryan. Preferably, Ted and Irene are supportive parents who have been a significant influence on Ryan.

At some point during the relationship between Ted, Irene and Ryan, it might be desirable for Ryan to express gratitude to Ted and Irene for a benefit. Such situations might include Ted and Irene supporting Ryan throughout high school, college, the patent bar, and law school. In the situation where Ryan decides to express gratitude to Ted and Irene, Ryan drafts the expression of gratitude in a government document as generally defined by drafting step 14. Preferably, the government document is a patent application. Where the government document is a patent application, the patent application may have the expression of gratitude disclosed and claimed therein. The patent application may also disclose and claim the method by which an expression of gratitude may occur. Such a method disclosed and claimed in the patent application might also be the very method by which the expression of gratitude did occur. The patent application could be the actual expression of gratitude.

Both patents were officially abandoned in 2008 so anyone is free to propose or thank their parents for a scholastic experience, but as you can see Mr. Grace got some real creative practice in filing patents.

About the author

Andrea Baker