In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, one of the departments in the Ministry of Magic referred to is the "Ludicrous Patents Office".

“Level seven, Department of Magical Games and Sports, incorporating the British and Irish Quidditch League Headquarters, Official Gobstones Club, and Ludicrous Patents Office.”
(Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - Chapter Seven)

What is the Ludicrous Patents Office? What does it do? Do we have any other uses of it in canon? Does the Ministry really need an office devoted to wacky ideas?

Rowling-canon is preferred, but other answers are still welcome.

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    If you invent something ludicrous, where do you go? – Valorum Dec 20 '16 at 9:06
  • @Valorum - Does ludicrous have a different connotation in British English? – ibid Dec 20 '16 at 9:12
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    The English word "ludicrous" comes from the Latin word for "play", and its oldest meaning (according to the OED) is "pertaining to play or sport". That sense of the word is obsolete in muggledom, but maybe it's still used in the wizarding world? Presumably the Ludicrous Patents Office is where you get a patent on sporting equipment. – user14111 Dec 20 '16 at 9:30
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    It's satire of gov bureaucracy – user68762 Dec 20 '16 at 9:34
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    "Does the Ministry really need an office devoted to wacky ideas?" - I thought that was the Ministry... – Kevin Jan 3 '17 at 21:15

We don't know...

It appears to be an office in the Ministry of Magic, but nobody knows what it actually does in canon. As far as I know (I searched), JKR has not said anything about this.

The name could be an Easter Egg, and the office deals with patenting 'ludicrous' things.

What is most likely

As @user14111 mentioned in the comments, the word comes from the Latin word for 'play', and its oldest know usage is as 'pertaining to play or sport'. So perhaps, since it's located in the Department of Magical Games and Sports, this is where you get patents on magical sports equipment.

From Online Etymology Dictionary (emphasis mine):

1610s, "pertaining to play or sport" (a sense now obsolete), from Latin ludicrus "sportive" (source of Old French ludicre), from ludicrum "amusement, game, toy, source of amusement, joke," from ludere "to play."

It doesn't mean 'ludicrous' in the modern sense. It's the place where you go to patent new magical things related to Games and Sports.

  • 5
    I suspect that the first name of "Ludo Bagman" was chosen because of its meaning in Latin, so JKR is likely aware of this connotation of "ludicrous". – Eric Lippert Dec 20 '16 at 14:37

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