Ten Facts about Patents

Written by Mark Terry

Patents grant you the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing a patented product or process. Without a patent, others can typically use your ideas and monetize them without any recourse. Patents can be used to protect many different things including products or innovative new ways of doing things, i.e., a process that offers a new solution to a complex problem. It is highly recommended that you enlist the services of a legal professional who will help you through the patent process. I, Mark Terry, am a patent lawyer located in Miami, Florida. In the UK, I recommend Baron Warren Redfern Patent lawyers in London.

With this in mind let’s have a look at some interesting facts about Patents.

1. In 1963, a teenager invented a special ratchet and asked Sears if they would be interested in buying the patent. After telling him that the patent has no real value, Sears gave him $10,000 and eventually made $44 million from selling the ratchets.

2. We still don’t know who actually invented fire hydrants – as the patent itself was destroyed in a fire.

3. The product WD-40 is not protected by a patent. It is protected using trade secrets.

4. Jonas Salk did not patent his polio vaccine for reasons of morality. He would have made $7 billion from it if he had decided to protect it.

5. The people who discovered insulin did not patent their discovery for similar reasons. This has led to millions of people being successfully treated for diabetes.

6. A photography patent was given to the world for free by France in the 19th century. However, Britain were excluded from this and forced to pay.

7. Benjamin Franklin never patented any of his inventions, again believing it was immoral to do so. He famously said “as we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours and this we should do freely and generously.”

8. An attempt to patent “patent trolling” itself was once made by the Halliburton Company. This was not successful.

9. 1-click buying was patented by Amazon. This later led to a backlash and the patent has not been asserted.

10. Multiple patents are in place for a surgical procedure involving semiconductors being implanted into eyes. This innovation will apparently give humans night vision.

Patents can protect us in a variety of ways. It is unwise to go ahead with a patent application without help from a legal professional but when a great idea is protected, you can expect to receive a significant sum of money from it – particularly if you license it out to others or go onto sell it. Patent infringement has led to pay-outs of millions of dollars, with Apple and Samsung having been involved in many disputes due to it. A patent attorney can help you if you’re considering in applying for legal protection for your product or idea.

Mark Terry is a Board-Certified Specialist in the area of Intellectual Property Law and operates a patent and trademark practice in the City of Miami. Contact Mark Terry if you have any questions regarding enforcement of patents, trademarks and copyrights.


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