The California condor makes an appearance in a number of successful US Patent applications. This post presents a handful of examples of inventions with a California condor connection.

US Patent 6,314,419

Methods and apparatus for generating query feedback based on co-occurrence patterns

In the application for this patent, “California Condor” appears simply as an example of a term that one might search for in a computer-based information retrieval system.

US Patent 6,739,941

Method and articles for providing education and support related to wildlife and wildlife conservation

Here are excerpts from the patent application:

A unique feature of the present invention is that it causes the child to focus on a specific wild animal, one which is symbolically “adopted” by the child and which the child comes to know on a very personal basis.

[The invention] could include announcements and details of significant wildlife conservation news items, especially those which involve endangered species, such as the recent successful breeding and release program for the endangered California condor.

US Patent 7,401,036

Free-market environmental management system having insured certification to a process standard

This patent application begins:

Environmental regulation by government is structurally incapable of satisfying its mandate. The present invention is an alternative, free-market management system designed to deliver a superior product, at lower cost, with an insured guarantee, and without regulatory oversight by government.

The California condor is considered as a case study:

What has it cost us to save the California Condor? This is a case where a hugely expensive, multi-decade preservation program had failed completely before a controversial captive-breeding program was begun. How many dollars were spent in lost resource and land use value during the preservation?… Is the information of how much time and effort that went into the restoration and reintroduction valuable as an indicator of the cost of the risk associated with the loss of other species?

None of these countervailing questions would come into play with a risk-based pricing system.

US Patent 8,186,277

Lead-free bullet for use in a wide range of impact velocities

As justification for this patent, the application explains that …

… there have been assertions that lead bullets present an issue of significant environmental contamination. There have also been claims that scavenger animals, such as the California condor, may have been subjected to lead poisoning from consuming animals shot with lead projectiles.

US Patent 8,909,370

Interactive systems employing robotic companions

The patent describes a robotic system “for interacting with a sentient being”. The application claims that …

… the principles of the techniques may be used to construct a system used by caregivers for an orphaned California condor chick …

Whatever the merits of the inventions covered by the 5 patents above, these patents are further evidence of the extent to which the California condor is more than a bird. This species is a part of present-day human culture.