The requirements put forth by the US Patent and Trademark Office are surprisingly straightforward. Is it new? Is it useful? Is it already widely in use? If the answers are “yes,” “yes,” and “no,” then you’ve got yourself a patent.

But in practice, the patent process is far from simple. In the video below, we explain the USPTO’s stated requirements then explore some of the more, uh, idiosyncratic products that have made it through the patent process:

[Made in partnership with Explainer Music - Music by Andrew Bean, Video by David Holmes]

* The PandoDaily series “Patent Troll Smackdown” is brought to you by the Application Developers Alliance. To join the fight against patent trolls and tell Congress that innovators need patent reform please visit devsbuild.it/fightpatenttrolls. (Sponsored message.)