IP Goes Pop! – Intellectual Property and a ‘Wacky’ Professor – Brands and Inventions in the Springfield Universe, Part II

IP Goes Pop!This week on IP Goes Pop! co-hosts Michael Snyder and Joseph Gushue are joined by fellow intellectual property attorney and Volpe Koenig Shareholder, Randy Huis, to once again visit the town of Springfield in the fictional, but full of real fun, world of The Simpsons. Patents on candy, robots, and other inventions that may sound more like they are out of a writer’s room rather than based on an inventor’s technical notebook get filed with the Patent Office every day.

In this episode listeners will get a taste of just how much intellectual property can come out of, or be inspired by, popular culture.

As many are aware, The Simpsons has a long history of accurately predicting future events and technologies. During IP Goes Pop!’s  last trip to the town of Springfield, Michael, Joe and Randy scratched the surface on some of the inventions and technologies of the legendary cartoon “inventor” Homer Simpson. This time their journey focuses on the inventions of everyone’s favorite “wacky” professor, John I.Q. Nerdelbaum Frink Jr. (aka Professor Frink).

So, is The Simpsons truly prophetic or does the show borrow inventions and technology from the real world? IP Goes Pop! is here to settle the score of “who did what first” – Professor Frink and The Simpsons or a humble human inventor in real life.

Listen in as Michael, Joe and Randy look at eight popular inventions concocted by Professor Frink and their real-world manifestations, or possibly inspirations. From the sports betting apps now flooding the airways with commercials, to acid shooting projectiles, the line between fiction and reality may be thinner than you think. If you’ve ever thought something as outrageous as a “Sarcasm Detector,” made by a yellow cartoon character, could become a reality, then this episode will have you asking “is there a patent for that?”


1:39 Professor John I.Q. Nerdelbaum Frink Jr.

4:15 The Simpsons Predicts

  • Events and Inventions

5:44  77X42 Super Sour Ball

8:53 Acid Shooting Ray

  • 1940 – Projectile Shooting Firearm – US2737889A

13:37 Floyd – Robot

  • The Fly (1986)
  • Real World examples
    • Roomba
    • Tesla
    • 2022 Publication (Autonomous mobile robot control system, control method thereof, a non-transitory computer readable medium storing control program thereof, and autonomous mobile robot control device) – US20220066454A1
  • Issaac Asimov
  • The Jetsons, Rosey the Robot

18:52 Robot Dog

24:56 Frinkosonic MHV – Soundwave powered vehicle

26:42 Quinn Greenhaus – Producer

27:01 Gamble-Tron 2000 – Sports Betting

  • Real World examples
    • sports betting apps
    • ‘having a bookie’
    • machine learning
    • IBM big blue
    • Sports data information patents – 2015 Korean Patent
      • Game result predicting method using sports data information – KR101585399B1

30:44 The Frink Hover Bike

  • Real world examples
    • “Iron Man” type suits
    • ‘over-sized’ drone technology
      • Method of controlling an actuator system and aircraft using said method – US20210072771A1

32:47 Sarcasm Detector

  • Real World example
    • Compassion, variety and cohesion for methods of text analytics, writing, search, user interfaces – US9213687B2

34:10 Final Thoughts – Role of Inventions in Real and Make-Believe Worlds

  • Does fiction lead science?



Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author as of the time of publication and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com.

Join the Discussion

No comments yet.

Varsity Sponsors

IPWatchdog Events

Patent Portfolio Management Masters™ 2024
June 24 @ 1:00 pm - June 26 @ 2:00 pm EDT
Webinar – Sponsored by LexisNexis
August 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT
Women’s IP Forum
August 26 @ 11:00 am - August 27 @ 5:00 pm EDT
IP Solutions, Services & Platforms Expo
September 9 @ 1:00 pm - September 10 @ 2:00 pm EDT

Industry Events

Bayh-Dole Act March In Webinar
May 31 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm EDT

From IPWatchdog