Inspire. Invent. Innovate. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan established February 11 as National Inventor’s Day. February 11 was chosen because it is Thomas Edison’s Birthday. Born in New Jersey, Edison held patents in the US, France, England and Germany. While mainly known for inventing the electric light bulb, Thomas Edison also invented motion picture projector phonograph, transmitors, among others.
Mostly, we love him for inventing the world’s first Industrial Research Laboratory. Thomas Edison’s home and laboratory in West Orange, NJ is now part of the US National Park System.
Out of Edison’s 1092 patents issued in the United States, most were were utility patents. In the United States, patents are issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) . A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. There are three types of patents:
- Utility patents are granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement
- Design patents are granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
- Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.
The Constitution of the US gives Congress the power to enact patent laws. The first patent law was enacted in 1790 and gives people the right to “invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent,” subject to the conditions and requirements of the law.
So, go out and innovate ad invent for as Thomas Edison says “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”