Once far more intricate and impressive, the sketches that accompany patent applications have gotten less and less specific over the years, partially to broaden the scope of the patent. The vagueness reaches a whole new level when internet-based products are factored in, as these 33 images compiled by developer and reporter Noah Veltman prove.
Most of the sketches imagine the internet as a cloud. Others are more literal, like the sketch that visualizes the internet as a spider’s web and labels it “WEB (INTERNET).” In keeping with the 1990s internet euphemism, “information superhighway”, a patent drawing for a greeting card printer renders the internet as an actual two-lane highway. All are delightfully abstract, which doesn’t help solve the patent wars, but does make for some entertaining perusing.