Patented: A Phone for Lonely Cats, Dogs, and Humans

The "Domestic Animal Telephone," a communication device for lonely dogs, cats, and humans.

Every year, the United States Patent and Trademark Office parses hundreds of thousands of patents from inventors seeking the intellectual property to their ideas. While their inventions may never see the light of day, these are their stories.

Patented: "Domestic Animal Telephone"

Inventor: Mark W. Kroll of Crystal Bay, Minnesota

Filed: April 7, 2011

Cat got your tongue: "A large number of individuals have mammalian pets in their homes," Kroll explains. "These are typically dogs or cats. When the pet owners are away at work they often would like to communicate with their pets. Similarly, the pets often would like to communicate with their owner." But "to this date there has been no practical means for this sort of communication," Kroll writes. Until now.

Lucky dog: "The gist of this invention is a practical telephone for mammalian pets," Kroll explains. The phone could either "be called by a human from a remote location in such a way that the animal can answer the phone." Alternately, "the pet can initiate the phone call." And that's not all: Kroll hopes to market a telephone that will either "release a human scent to the animal by remote command" or "release a small food treat to a pet."

Target audience: Cat ladies and dog people.

Why it will sell: For the obsessed pet owner, the domestic animal telephone could extend puppy love into the dog-unfriendly workplace. And for the scaredy cat, the phone would offer what Kroll calls "reassurance" by, among other things, blowing "the owner's scent through the door to the portal into the animal's face." And if your mammal can't figure out how to depress the "paw switch" to answer the phone within ten rings, it can always drool on the thing. The phone will include "soft fuzzy or soft pliable durable sections for pet licking or chewing," Kroll writes.

Why it won't: Call off the dogs. Do your really need a phone call every time your domesticated mammal wants to chat?

Status: Pending

via Jason S Campbell / Twitter

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