A Quick Shout-Out to Justice Scalia

Justice Scalia, in the Bilski oral arguments, wondered why there were no patents on methods of training horses, since we used to be a horse-based economy.

As usual, you can almost always be sure that there’ll be at least one issued patent about anything:

U.S. Patent No. 3,543,724, issued December, 1970:  Monitored and Controlled Conditioning and Exercise Method For Animals

An exemplary claim:

1. In a method of controllably conditioning an animal for periods of sustained optimum physical effort such as racing, the steps of exercising said animal by swimming during periods that are spaced by nonswimming recovery intervals during which the heart rate of the animal is allowed to reduce toward but not to normal, and monitoring the heart action of said animal continually during said periods and intervals, said monitoring step comprising continually observing the instantaneous heart rate of said animal during said periods and intervals to prevent rise of said heart rate above a predetermined safe maximum range during said periods and to start each succeeding period substantially immediately following a recovery interval at a point where the heart rate of the animal is in a relative high range as compared to normal but safely below said predetermined maximum range so that during the exercise periods following the initial period the animal exercises in a relatively high above normal heart rate condition.