Underwear Patents:

When I teach Intellectual Property, I always have a lot of fun with the important early patent case of Egbert v. Lippmann (104 US 333(1881)). In Egbert, the inventor of a new kind of corset-spring gave one of them to his then-girlfriend (who later became his wife) for use in her corset -- and the Supreme Court held that his patent was barred because this constituted a "public use" of the new spring design.
It's a very neat case -- aside from allowing a good discussion of the contours of the "public use" doctrine in patent law (as the dissent puts it, "if this is a 'public' use, then I cannot imagine what would not be"), there are all sorts of opportunities for good jokes; the Court opinion itself has the best double entendre in Supreme Court history (where the Court notes that the inventor "slept on his rights for eleven years"). I've even written a pretty decent song about the case (from the point of view of some guy trying to, um, convince Ms. Barnes to take off her corset and show him her springs . . .).
In any event, that's my excuse for noting this recently-filed patent infringement lawsuit against Victoria's Secret and their "Very Sexy 100-Way Strapless Convertible Bra." [A copy of the complaint, and the allegedly infringed bra patent, can be found here).