Ultrapod patent (expired)

by Matthew Gast

After reading Gifts for Geeks on the Cheap earlier this holiday season, I asked for a Pedco Ultrapod-II to hold my digital camera. (Note: the Ultrapod-II lists for $22, but REI sells it for only $15.)

I've had some fun with it since opening the package a few days ago. Last night, I noticed a U.S. patent number on the main leg (4,439,032), so I checked it out.

One of the things that surprised me was how old the patent was. The patent application was filed in late 1982 along with the founding of the company; because the application was allowed in 1984, the patent expired almost two years ago in March 2001.

Also interesting were a few of the patent references cited by the examiner. Patent number 1,170,096 from 1916 is a tripod that has sharp legs that can be mounted on a variety of surfaces. Patent number
, a clamp from 1967, looks a bit like Pedco's Ultraclamp. Finally, there's a car mount for a camera from 1977, described in patent number