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A few years ago, I tried to sell my dad on the idea of having a scroll ball on top of a mouse, but he just laughed at me and said getting a patent isn't easy. He went on to show me the USPTO.gov website and said I would have to read every patent containing the word "scroll" and "mouse" and study them for prior art. I read about two pages of patents (about 100) and gave up. I pitched my idea to a few people I met at school, but even though some poeple thought it was interesting, most said it had no application and that the vertical scroll wheel was a better suited for scrolling in the only direction that mattered.

Well, now I can say, "I told you so."

(I now keep all my patent ideas in a text file on my desktop.)