Inventors and Patents From the City of Norfolk
In a week that ended on July 30, the city of Norfolk recorded the longest time between a patent application and the grant of a patent. This occurred in the case of Shanlynn Chanel Bejae Love Vaughn, whose patent application was filed on June 12, 2020, and approved on July 26, 2022. While patents are necessary to protect an inventor’s inventions, they’re not a guarantee of success.
Inventors and Patents
The City of Norfolk is home to many successful inventors and patents. One such inventor was Clarissa Britain, who secured seven patents within 18 months. Born into a comfortable middle-class family in 1816, Britain was fortunate to receive a good education. She attended Emma Willard’s Troy Female Seminary in Troy, New York, and graduated in 1839. After attending the seminary, Britain worked as an inventor.
The city of Norfolk is located in the Eastern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The city was named after the city of Norfolk in England. The Library of Virginia houses a large collection of digitized records about African Americans. This collection includes records about the city’s early history.
While Harvard and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth failed to honor Arefolov as a named inventor on the relevant patents, the lawsuit names the two former graduate students and postdoc from Shair’s lab as co-inventors. Harvard declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Chain of transfer of rights
When transferring a patent or inventor’s rights, it is important to follow the chain of transfer of rights. Typically, this process will start with the inventor or the legal applicant identifying themselves. Sometimes, these rights may be automatically transferred to an employer or university based on legislation or an employment contract. While undergraduate status does not trigger legislative automatic transfer, a student may be able to name themselves as the applicant.
Identifying named inventors
The US Patent and Trademark Office publishes data on inventors and their inventions in many forms. These records may contain the full or partial name of the inventor. The USPS also reports inventors’ places of residence. Often, inventors were associated with more than one place and may have been in different states or counties. This data can be helpful in determining the location of an inventor.
Although there are certain limitations to drill down reports, it can be helpful in assessing inventor activity associated with U.S. regional component areas. This method is not the only way to identify named inventors. In order to properly identify a named inventor, it is important to consider his or her contributions to the development of the invention.
Martha Coston secured a patent for three-colored pyrotechnics in 1859 on behalf of her deceased husband Franklin. The three-colored pyrotechnics she invented revolutionized naval communication. The United States Navy eventually adopted the three-colored pyrotechnics. Martha Coston also patented an improvement to the device in 1871. She went on to build a successful business. Her Coston Supply Company remained in business until the 1970s.
Slave owners taking credit for slaves’ inventions
During the early 17th century, Africans in the American colonies were forced into slavery by European settlers. This practice was not only detrimental to Africans’ rights, but it also resulted in a large amount of stolen intellectual property. In many cases, slave owners tried to take credit for inventions created by Black people.
One example is the invention of the corded bed. This bedstead was made from wooden rails that were connected to the headboard. It was so popular that Henry Boyd, who was born into slavery in Kentucky, was profiled by Carter G. Woodson in his book “The Mis-Education of the Negro.” The bedstead business employed 25 black and white employees.
The story of slave inventors has been a controversial one. The ideology of slavery promoted the belief that the slave owners owned all things produced by the slaves, including their inventions. This argument argued against the legal right of African-Americans to patent their ideas, even if they were made by slaves. The ideology also sought to rationalize slavery as humanitarianism. The existence of slave inventors “proved” that African-Americans had benefited from slavery.
Another example of a slave owner taking credit for a slave’s inventions is the story of Benjamin Davis, who invented a steamboat propeller in the 1850s. The angle entry of the blades made it more efficient to use power. Because Davis was a slave, his owners sought to patent it under his name. However, the patent office rejected the patent application, citing Montgomery’s status as a slave.
Awarding $400 to named inventors
In recognition of the important role played by innovators in the community, the City of Norfolk provides financial awards to named inventors and patent holders. These awards, depending on the level of achievement, can be as small as $400 or as substantial as $1000, depending on the local guidelines. A plaque is also presented to the first inventor of a patent. This award is given to both individuals and companies, and is presented during an annual dinner, typically held at one designated location. At this dinner, the first issued patent inventors are introduced by the VP of their area and are then presented with a plaque.