St. Patrick’s Day 2023

Shamrocks, Leprechauns, and pots of gold are hard to find (except on St. Patrick’s Day), but the hunting is good in the patent collection:

One of the Novelty Displays in U.S. Patent No. 2,101,592 is this Leprechaun’s hat with a shamrock
U.S. Patent No. 7,530,893 on a Wagering Game with Dynamic Visual Gaming Indicia shows Leprechauns and pots of gold on the game display

U.S. Patent No. 8,273,441 on a Garage Door Display and Decorative Article features a pot of gold and a shamrock
U.S. Patent No. 5,487,924 on a Napkin Ring features a Leprechaun and a pot of gold
U.S. Patent No. 6,276,074 features an article of footwear with a leprechaun decoration
U.S. Patent No. D2348 covers a shamrock decoration for a collar

U.S. Patent No. D5777 covers a badge decorated with two springs of shamrocks (b)
U.S. Patent No. D12927 on a Design for an Emblem for the Ancient Order of Hibernians features shamrocks
U.S. Patent No. D19577 protects the design of a Bottle with a shamrock shape
U.S. Patent No. 21304 protects the design of a Spoon with a spray of shamrock
U.S. Patent No. D 22,226 protects the design of a Badge with a shamrock shape
U.S. Patent No. 31401 on a Match Box or Similar Article is decorated with shamrocks

While shamrocks, Leprechauns, and pots of gold are usually scarce in the real world (except on St. Patrick’s Day), they are pretty easy to find in the world of patents. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 8, 2023 – International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. In the field of inventions and patents, there are many important and prolific women inventors, but one worthy of remembrance on International Women’s Day is Elizabeth J. “Lizzie” Magie was born in Macomb, Illinois in 1866. She was a stenographer, short story and poetry writer, comedian, stage actress, feminist, and engineer. In 1893, at the age of 26, Lizzie received her first patent on an improvement in typewriters:

U.S. Patent No. 498129 issued May 23 1893 on a Type Writing Machine

Lizzie was a political activist, and invented a game called The Landlord’s Game to demonstrate the economic ill effects of land monopolism, and the use of taxes as a remedy for it. Lizzie applied for a patent on her board game, and was granted U.S. Patent 748,626 on January 5, 1904:

U.S. Patent No. 748626, Issued January 5, 1904.

As her first patent on the Landlord’s game was expiring, Lizziey, now married, invented and patented an updated version of the Landlord’s Game:

U.S. Patent No. 1,509,312 issued September 23, 1924.

If Lizzie’s game seems familiar, you may be thinking of C.B. Darrow’s Monopoly game, patented in 1935 and marketed by Parker Brothers.

U.S. Patent No. 2,026,082, issued December 31, 1935.

After the release of Monopoly, Lizzie gave in interview in which she was critical of Parker Brothers, and identified the similarities between Monopoly and The Landlord’s Game. Parker Brothers agreed to publish two more of her games, but continued to give Darrow the credit for inventing the game itself. Many years later, Ralp Anspach stumbled upon Lizzie’s patents while fighting his own legal battle with Parker Brothers over Anspach’s Anti-Monopoly game, which resulted in increase appreciate for Lizzie’s contribution to the game.

Wikipedia reports that Lizzie believed that women were as capable as men in inventing, business, and other professional areas. She was correct then, and for that, worthy of remembrance now.