Unfortunately, we will never know how many women inventors were there before the 20th century. Women were not able to own property – not just in the U.S., but also around the world – until after the turn of the 20th century. That not only applied to home ownership but also to owning intellectual property and patents.
The last decade was a boom time for patent trolls. Their names and lawsuits made the news; This American Life dedicated two hour-long episodes to them. The number of defendants in patent troll lawsuits increased sixfold from 2003 through last year. But now the tides seem to be turning for them: After growing very rapidly since 2009, the number of lawsuits filed by “non-practicing entities” will be significantly lower this year compared to 2013. Although the level of litigation will still be at a historic high, is this indicative that they are finally being reigned in?
Futurist Thomas Frey: When Thomas Edison died he left a gaping hole. He was credited with inventing everything from the electric light bulb, to the phonograph, to the movie projector, to the stock ticker, to the motion picture camera, to the entire movie industry.
Just because you worked hard and your perseverance led you to create something that changed the world, it doesn’t mean that you’ll get fame, fortune, or the slightest bit of recognition out of it. Some inventors get so little credit that we completely forget about them. Here are six of them.
The first-to-invent patent system will be replaced with what is often called a first-inventor-to-file system for patent applications.
President Obama signed the America Invents Act (AIA) into law in September 2011. Under one of the most important provisions of the AIA, the longstanding first-to-invent patent system will be replaced with what is often called a first-inventor-to-file system for patent applications with an effective filing date of March 16, 2013 or later. In the run-up to next March, there is likely to be significant attention in the press – and plenty of misinformation – regarding how first-inventor-to-file works and how it will impact entrepreneurs.
Futurist Thomas Frey: Working with many early stage inventors, I often have the privilege of seeing some truly remarkable inventions and innovations. A few days ago I was shown a technology that snugly fits into that remarkable category, one that has the potential to radically transform the way cars and other vehicles are powered. In fact, vehicles using this power source will never need to stop and refuel.
Patent trolls rack up legal and licensing bills.
The scourge of inventors everywhere are firms that collect and enforce patents of dubious value—with no intention of creating the invention described in those patents. They force large companies to rack up legal and licensing bills, and scare away startups from putting out novel products. These firms raise prices for all of us, and they generally slow down the future. Everyone hates them.
You probably think kids are only good at inventing excuses to avoid chores, but think again. These teens and tweens are the minds behind some revolutionary products from household staples, Philo Farnsworth’s electronic television to cool niche novelties magnetic locker wallpaper to an entire method of communicating braille.
“Get on the shelf” contest
Wal-Mart has launched an “American Idol”-like contest for entrepreneurs and inventors to find the best new products to win a spot on its store shelves.
Mom inventors growing trend.
Tamara Monosoff came up with an invention, eight years ago that she was sure mothers like herself would appreciate: a device that prevents children from unspooling toilet paper from the roll. But she had no idea how to transform the concept into a marketable product.
Ben Kaufman, founder of Quirky
There are a lot of young kids who want to be inventors. But, when most of the young kids grow up they either grow out of wanting to be an inventor or resign themselves to the excuse that it is the work of only dreamers. When we were younger, we had playful, creative lessons in school on famous inventors like Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, and Walt Disney.
Deadline for Exhibiting at the DaVinci Inventor Showcase is Friday, Oct 28th
It all starts with an epiphany. Every invention begins with a single “eureka moment” or some “brilliant revelation” that causes the inventor to take action.
These epiphanies become the idea seeds planted by inventors around the world. But we can only wish the process was as simple as adding water and fertilizer and waiting for the ideas to spring to life.
Inventions are not just patents to be hung on a wall. They are the starting point for a new business enterprise. So, not only does the inventor have to figure out how to create a working product or device, they also have to drive it forward, creating a business model that will enable it to survive. And that’s where the DaVinci Institute comes in.