There is a famous story (among patent attorneys, at least) about
a Donald Duck story being used as prior art against a patent. This
concerned an invention in which sunken ships can be raised by
pumping buoyant bodies into them, which eventually will provide
sufficient upward lift to bring the ship back to the surface. In a
1949 Donald Duck story, titled The Sunken Yacht a ship is
raised by stuffing it full of ping-pong balls. But whether the story
was actually used by a patent office to refuse the patent
application remains unclear.
from me, The
“Donald Duck as prior art” case
I think that's really neat, and even better, the story itself was written
and drawn by my favorite Disney cartoonist Carl Barks.
I also remember him doing an Uncle
Scrooge comic where the Ducks use old inner tubes to raise a riverboat
(a charming story about Scrooge McDuck raising a riverboat to finish a
riverboat race with a rival).
Heck, I remember another Carl Barks story which had a credible explaination
for the Flying Dutchman
myth. Heck, all the Carl Barks stories were great.
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