U.S. Pat. No. D675886: Snack Chip Eating Utensil

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Speaking of patents, I haven't yet gotten around to posting this one, which was tweeted by Prof. Sarah Burstein (@design_law):

Chip utensilThe inventor claims "the ornamental design for a snack chip eating utensil, as shown and described." The description notes only that each image provides a different view of the snack chip eating utensil, except for the last line of the description, which helpfully states that "[t]he broken line showing … in FIG. 1 is included for the purpose of illustration only and forms no part of the claimed design."

A design patent application, it appears, does not have to include the stuff you'd normally see about the shortcomings in the prior art that the claimed invention is intended to overcome. I can only think of three reasons for this one:

  1. Novelty item
  2. Maximizes amount of dip that can be consumed on each individual chip
  3. Very slightly increases caloric expenditure associated with chip/dip consumption

I have no problem with any novelty item, really. Number 2 solves a "problem" Americans really don't need solved, and I seriously doubt that Number 3 would meaningfully offset the inevitable increase in dip consumption (whether that is intended or not). Maybe I should leave that to the experts, but I don't think a snack chip eating utensil is going to make us collectively any smaller.