CHICAGO, APRIL 1 1996 (Business Wire) -
Playboy Enterprises Inc (NYSE:PYA) today announced that it has been awarded US Patent
6,969,696, "Method and Apparatus For The Reproduction of Homo Sapiens". The
inventor named in the patent is Hugh M. Hefner.
Analysts who have seen the patent say it covers essentially every known method of human
sexual reproduction, including "unsuccessful attempts thereat".
In a prepared statement, Playboy said "We're happy that after an unusually long
pendency period, the Patent Office has finally recognized our pioneering role in this
field. We are today announcing that we will license our patent on reasonable and
nondiscriminatory terms on a per-use basis. To simplify royalty accounting, we will
install a small video camera in every bedroom at licensee expense. Licensees need not keep
records, as we will automatically send a bill every month. A detailed royalty schedule,
including liberal quantity discounts and discounts for Playboy magazine and TV subscribers
will be announced at a later date. Playboy Enterprises Incorporated hereby places the
public on notice that we will aggressively defend our intellectual property rights."
Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill applauded Playboy's announcement, citing both the
need to enforce the nation's intellectual property laws and the need to control
"rampant indecent" behavior. "We must not let a radical, un-American and
ultra-liberal notion like 'privacy', which appears nowhere in the Constitution, interfere
with the rule of law," said one Senator who declined to give his name or that of the
young woman with him.
Justice Department officials agreed, arguing that privacy concerns were
"groundless'' and ''overblown'' because the videotapes would be stored securely at
two separate ''escrow'' sites and would be released to law enforcement only on court
order. ''Law-abiding citizens who have nothing to hide will have nothing to fear under
this program'' said Attorney General Janet Reno through a spokesman.
Critics charged that the Patent Office erred in granting the patent because of ''prior
art''. But Patent Commissioner Bruce Lehman defended his office's action, saying ''As far
as we were concerned, the Hefner invention was novel and deserving of a patent. At least
none of us had ever heard of this stuff. But our prior art search may have been hampered
by incomplete databases even though Jesse Helms has contributed heavily to it over the
years. Somebody from Senator Exon's office came by a while back and deleted much of what
we did have on this subject. Maybe if Congress could only throw a few more billion dollars
our way, we could solve all these problems.''
In related news, US Trade Representative Mickey Kantor was on his way to Beijing to
open talks with Chinese government officials over alleged piracy of this new US
intellectual property. ''With a population of over one billion the Chinese have obviously
been infringing this particular patent quite a bit'', Kantor said, ''and we'd like to
press the Chinese government to do something about it.''
Playboy Enterprises stock shot up 1000% or 100 points in very heavy trading on the NYSE
before trading was suspended for the day.