Paul the octopus

Paul the pundit, prince of prediction. Paul the octopus, who made a name for himself during this year's football World Cup by correctly predicted the outcome of eight matches, passed away yesterday in an aquarium in Oberhausen, Germany.  He was two and a half years old [says Merpel, that's about 87 in human years].

An English octopus hailing from Weymouth on the south-west coast, Paul's talents were unrecognised in the land of his birth.  However, taking advantage of the European Court of Justice's Bosman ruling on freedom of labour within the European Community, he soon crossed the Channel to the Continent, where prospects for a predictive octopus are rosy. He settled into his new aquarium, out-musseled his rivals and was soon (s)quids-in.

Hmm, says the IPKat,
anyone can be an octopus
if they really want ...
Paul's particular technique for calculating the outcome of a football fixture involved selecting a mussel from one of two boxes bearing the flags of competing teams. This is not unlike the method employed by English national team manager Fabio Capello, whose team selection involved picking, from a box of chocolates, confections marked with the names of squad members.  Paul was however more successful, which is why he still had an interest in the tournament after Capello and the England team had crossed the Channel from the Continent, to a land where prospects for even failed footballers were rosy. Anyway, according to the BBC website,
"As the tournament progressed, the octopus's uncanny knack of selecting the correct box drew increasing interest from the world's media, culminating in his choice of Spain as the eventual winner.

He became an instant hero in Spain, prompting a request to have him put on display at Madrid zoo".
For the record, a documentary has been filmed, and books and toys are already planned for the Christmas market. A bachelor, he enjoyed the close company of his devoted keeper. A memorial is to be erected at the aquarium in his memory.

The IPKat's recommended reading:
Report in The Guardian on Paul's death and the conspiracy theory
Spanish recipes for octopus here and [not for the squeamish] here
Paul the octopus in search of a trade mark in happier days: see Class 46 here, here and here
Paul the octopus Paul the octopus Reviewed by Jeremy on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 Rating: 5


  1. That cat has ten legs. Must be related to camel spiders:

  2. Kolpak rather than Bosman, surely? Unless Paul was already under contract to Weymouth Sea Life Park?

  3. @Tevildo: definitely Bosman -- ask Paul's agent!

  4. That's an octopuss, surely...

  5. “Now here's another clue for you all — the walrus was Paul.”

    However, Paul’s memory may live on. Surely there could be some good business method patents involving a method and apparatus for predicting soccer tournaments. If some patent offices reject the apparatus claims on the basis of an octopus being a higher life form, we could have some good litigation to sort out whether the objections to patenting mammals carry over to octopuses. Or maybe leave out the claim relating to the living octopus and cast it as a food ingredient.

    In any event, a pall falls over us all.

  6. Methods of doing business aren't patentable! I may not be a lawyer, but even I know that. :)


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