We are little behind because they issued it a few days ago, but congratulations to Raytheon the patent assignee of patent no. 10,000,0000. The ‘000 patent is titled “Coherent Ladar Using Intra-Pixel Quadrature Detection.” The USPTO states that “[t]his milestone of human ingenuity perhaps exceeds even the Founding Fathers’ expectations when they called for a patent system in the Constitution to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” Lets take a little look into the history of patents in the United States.
In 1790, the first Patent Board, composed of Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of War Henry Knox, and Attorney General Edmund Randolph met to examine patent applications. Patent No. X0000001 was issued to Samuel Hopkins for improvements in “the making of pot ash and pearl ash.”
The Patent Act of 1793 shifts patent examination to a simple but less-protective registration system. The key difference between this act and the one that it replaced was that patents could now be issued for improvements to existing products. In 1800, patents used typeset form filled in by a calligrapher but still signed by the president. In 1802, Dr. William Thornton, a polymath who also designed the U.S. Capitol, became the first superintendent of patents, later termed “commissioner of patents,” and serves for 26 years. In 1821, Thomas Jennings is the first African-American to received a U.S. patent for “Dry Scouring” which receives U.S. patent no. 3,306.
July 4, 1836 another patent act is passed and it rewrites patent law once again. Senator John Ruggles is the first person to hold the official title of “patent examiner,” and miniature models are now required when filing a patent application. In 1840, Samuel Morse receives U.S. patent No. 1,647 for the telegraph, and in 1842 the first Design patent is issued to George Bruce for new printing types. In 1872, Elijah J. McCoy, receives U.S. patent no. 129,843 for an automatic lubricating device for steam locomotives.
In 1880, Thomas Edison receives U.S. patent no 223,898 for the “Electric Lamp.” Edison goes on to be the inventor or co-inventor of over 1,000 patents! In 1891, one of the most important inventions of our time was patented….Seth Wheeler received patent no. 459,516 for the toilet paper roll.
In 1975, the patent office was renamed The United States Patent and Trademark Office. In 2007, Steve Jobs receives a patent for a “Graphical user interface and methods of use thereof in a multimedia player,” which allows users to navigate the Apple iPod.
On September 16, 2011, Congress passes the Leahy-Smith the America Invents Act changing the patent system from first to invent to first to file.