Were you looking forward to the robot sex revolution? I’ve got some bad news: a nasty patent troll is on the prowl. The patent in question is US6368268B1 – aka, sex toy connected to a computer network. It’s a wide reaching patent that pretty much covers any sex toy that connects to a computer, and it’s absolutely ludicrous. The full patent title is “Method and Device for Interactive Virtual Control of Sexual Aids Using Digital Computer Networks”, now owned by Tzu Technologies.
The patent was previously owned by HASSEX Inc, and was in fact licensed to a number of sex toy manufacturers such as Kiiroo and makers of the Shockspot. Having changed hands, the new owners of the patent are going after companies who previously failed to licence the nearly 20 year old patent.
The trolling doesn’t end with the absurd generality of the patent claimed though: they also sued Kickstarter, for enabling another company to raise funds for their remote hand holding product.
Want to learn more? Read EFF and Metafetish, who are far more knowledgeable about these things than me.