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Stranger Things: 3 of the Weirdest Patents Google Owns

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Over the last two decades, patent lawsuits have increased from an average of 500 to over 3,000 annually, and to patent lawyers and civilians alike, it's no question why. New patents are filed every day, and each one is more innovative or strange than the last.

However, no patents are stranger than Google's. The titan tech company has enough money and influence to patent pretty much anything they want, and as fate would have it, they have. If you're wondering just how strange patents can get, here are three of the weirdest patents that Google currently owns.

Image-Capturing Walking Stick

Believe it or not, a 2013 patent owned by Google proposes a 360-degree camera inside your typical walking stick. One of Google Maps's most popular functions is to give users a 360-degree, panoramic view of the area they're looking at, and hikers originally started taking 360-degree portraits of hiking trails to emulate the street view function in the wilderness, but with heavy, backpack-mounted cameras. This patent would allow that technology to be transformed and shrunk to fit inside a walking stick.

Environmentally Based Advertising

It's pretty normal to receive advertisements based on your phone's location, but what if you could receive them based on factors like weather, sound, and light? Google thought the same thing, and in 2008, they filed a patent for what they call "Advertising Based on Environmental Conditions." For example, if it was hot and sunny, Google ads would alert you of nearby ice cream shops or venues with air conditioning in them.

The Heart-Hand Gesture

The patent attorneys must have had fun with this one. The gesture of making a heart with both of your hands - popularized in part by pop sensation Taylor Swift - became patented by Google in 2011. The patent, titled "Hand Gestures to Signify What is Important" seeks to lay claim to the action of "a hand gesture forming an area bounded by two hands in a shape of a symbolic heart." By performing the hand gesture while using Google Glass, users can signify what objects are important, such as coffee, clothing, or any other number of things.

Patent law is a complex thing, but intellectual property law is too important to big companies like Google to pass up weird patents like these. Patent attorneys service strange requests all the time, but it's usually their expertise that results in patents like these being granted.

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