What Are some Interesting Facts About Patents?
Interesting facts about patents abound but while many people are familiar with the term, they do not know what a patent is and why someone needs it. Interesting facts cover a variety of issues such as why you should hire a patent attorney and when a patent expires.
Q. How long have patents been in existence?
A. Patents date back to the ancient Greeks. In 1474, the first patent law was put into effect in the Venetian Republic.
Q. When was the first U.S. patent issued?
A. The first U.S. patent was assigned to Joseph Winslow in 1633.
Q. I have an invention, but some might feel it’s not useful or silly. Can I still get a patent?
A. Since patents have been issued, there have been inventions that are considered silly such as a bicycle with its own sail, a face-mask that prohibits the wearer from eating, even a shirt for gerbils. None of these inventions were disqualified for a patent.
Q. I have an interesting invention for that could be used by major retailers. Should I approach the company directly?
A. Probably not. An example of what can happen dates to 1963 when a big box department store was approached by an individual offering the patent for their invention. The company rejected the invention noting it had no value but paid the individual $10,000 for the research. The company then proceeded to manufacture the invention that ultimately earned the business over $40 million in sales.
Q. Is the polio vaccine patented?
A. No. Jonas Salk did not patent the vaccine. It’s estimated the worth of the vaccine would have netted Salk around $7 billion.
Q. What about insulin? Was that patented?
A. No. The researchers involved in discovering insulin made the decision not to apply for a patent. They did this so the treatment of diabetes would remain inexpensive.
Q. Did Benjamin Franklin patent his many inventions?
A. No. He felt it was important to give back to those whose inventions he had had access to and that anything he invented should be shared with the world.
Q. I realize there are a lot of questionable patents that make no sense. Is there one that stands out?
A. Yes. One that didn’t stand a chance was when the Halliburton Company attempted to get a patent for patenting.
Article by Upcounsel
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