The newest in a string of controversial patents is Ultimate Universal Technology Corporation (UUTC) application for a patent on the sphere. While the patent has not yet been granted, the application itself causes difficulties for a wide number of sphere users, both industrial and recreational. In particular, a number of sphere-manipulating sports would find themselves paying royalties on a shape they have been using for approximately 1.39*1012 years. Also at risk are the many industrial uses of ball bearings. However, some sports, most notably football, hockey, rugby, surfing, shuffleboard, and half-rubber, would be unaffected by this patent, as would users of roller and needle bearings.
Political opposition to this patent has been led by Citizens Against Ridiculous Patents and The Society for a Fat America (which claims that the sphere, as the most natural human shape, is ineligible for a patent).
Barbara W. Pulliam, Director of Offensive Litigation for UUTC, however, claims that:
If Apple™ Corporation™ can patent, not only naturally occurring pieces of fruit, but also shapes, there is no reason why we can’t patent the sphere. Just because other people are using it, is no reason why we can’t turn it into a major source of revenue for our company and have fun suing other people for patent infringement. Our eventual aim is for everything in the world to be covered by either a patent, a trademark, or a copyright owned by UUTC. Of course, we are only pursuing this noble goal as a means for the betterment of the human race and for the benefit of the universe and of all life. Anyone who doesn’t believe us ought to have his head examined by his psychiatrist or psychologist, and then ought to contact his lawyer to prepare for a substantial lawsuit.
By Geek3 (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.