Thanks to a patent troll, dildos won't be allowed to have sex with fleshlights! Annalee Newitz at Gizmodo delivers the bad news:
[I]f you have a sex toy that can be remotely-controlled using “existing computer networks” (that’s how stupidly broad this thing is) OR controlled by a video on your computer, then it is supposedly covered by this foolish, foolish patent.
And that’s why patent trolling company TZU recently bought it, and promptly tried to sue a bunch of sex toy startups for infringement.
Twenty years ago, the US Patent and Trademark Office granted patent number 6,368,268: "Method and device for interactive virtual control of sexual aids using digital computer networks," a minor classic of a majorly fucked-up genre, the bullshit tech patent that simply adds "with a computer" to some absolutely obvious and existing technology or technique.
The rush to put networked sensors and controllers into sex toys is grounded in foolish, convenient untruths, like the idea that the incredibly sensitive data generated by these systems can be anonymized and then analyzed for insights without exposing users to risk.
Subtle Dildo is a collection of photographs wherein dildos may be found by observant viewers. [via]
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