Did Disney patent the light sabre?
Despite Star Wars: The Last Jedit having now earned more than 1.2 billion in the box office since its recent release, it looks like Disney are looking to maximise the revenue of associated merchandise as well, including a light sabre. To this end in January 2016 they filed US patent application US 2017/0206709 for Systems And Methods For Augmenting An Appearance Of A Hilt To Simulate A Bladed Weapon - or in other words, a light sabre (or a conventional sword for fans of Pirates of the Caribbean, and the like).
But did they invent the concept first? One way of answering this question is via a patent search. There are many ways of doing a patent search, but among the easiest is enter the above patent number into Ambercite, and ask for a list of similar patents.
By searching in this way, no assumptions are required about which keywords or class codes should be searched upon, and many hours of time can be saved.
Ten* of the most similar patents are shown below, in predicted order of similarity:
*Up to 2000 results can be obtained if requested.
This table allows all of the results to be visualised. The above image is a PDF, but in the HTML version, available to registered users, you can also select any of the images or abstracts to open up a greater level of detail
Not surprisingly, Disney are not the only company to have thought about patenting a light sabre or similar toy, but course the patentability of the Disney patent application will depend on their exact improvement.
Putting this aside, this is a great example of how simple patent searching can be with Ambercite.