This Week in Intellectual Property History

On June 1, 1869, the United States Patent Office issued U.S. Patent No. 90,646 entitled, “Electrographic Vote Recorder” to Thomas Edison of Boston, Mass.

The most notable aspect of this patent was that it was the first of the 1, 093 U.S. patents obtained by Edison.

The device was the first of its kind, and would enable a legislator to register a vote either for or against an issue by turning a switch to the right or left. However, because the invention was way ahead of its time, it was heartily rejected by politicians.  Thereafter, Edison became much more oriented towards making certain there was a strong public demand and associated market for anything he tried to invent.

Edison was twice married and had six children.  Although none of them lived up to the success of their father, two of them (his two youngest) were rather successful in their own right.  Charles Edison (1890–1969) took over and successfully operated Edison’s company located in Menlo Park, NJ upon his father’s death and later was elected Governor of New Jersey.

Theodore Edison (1898–1992), the youngest child, was the only family member to get a college degree (MIT Physics 1923), and had over 80 patents to his credit.

Thomas Edison was awarded 1,368 separate and distinct patents during his lifetime including the 1,093 U.S. patents mentioned above. He passed away at age 84 on October 18th, 1931 – on the anniversary date of his invention of the incandescent light bulb.

Make some intellectual property history this week!

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