Since its creation in the Constitution, the American intellectual property system has promoted “the Progress of Science and the useful Arts”. The protection it grants to inventors through patents and trademarks is integral to our economy and culture of innovation.
SX-70 Land Camera
Inventor Edwin Land introduced the first Polaroid® instant camera in 1948.
Many refinements throughout the next two decades developed into this fully automatic, motorized, folding camera the Life magazine called "the most amazing camera ever produced."
Patent No. 2543181
Granted February 27, 1951
Sasson Digital Camera
This is the world's first digital camera and its inventor, Steve Sasson.
While at Kodak, Sasson designed and built this digital camera using a CCD and parts scavenged from other devices and took a giant leap in the evolution of photography.
Patent No. 4131919
Granted December 26, 1978
The Kodak Ecam merged the familiarity and functions of a standard film single-lens reflex (SLR) camera with the benefits of rapidly-advancing digital technology.
All modern DSLR cameras use features originated in this camera, including the use of JPEGs for image storage.
Patent No. 5016107
Granted May 14, 1991
CMOS Image Sensor
Eric R. Fossum (pictured) led the team at NASA that created this miniaturized, low-power, camera technology intended for interplanetary spacecraft. This camera-on-a-chip might travel through space, but it is probably in your pocket too - over 90% of camera phones use one.
The CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) technology used in this and most microchips today was patented in 1967 by Frank Wanlass.
Patent No. 5471515
Granted November 28, 1995
Patent No. 119,231
Patented September 26, 1871
The Bolt Cutters model was taken from the debris of the United States Patent and Trademark Office fire Sept. 24, 1877. This fire destroyed more than 80,000 patent models, making the Bolt Cutters model one of the rare survivors.
Carpet Beater and Cleaner
Patent No. 27780
Patented April 10,1860
These patent models were donated in loving memory of Leonard I. Bloom, Esq. Patent Attorney
A History of Patent Designs
1X to 10 Million
The United States Patent and Trademark Office issued patent number 10 million on June 19, 2018. In conjunction, a new patent cover design was unveiled, first bound to utility patent number 10 million.
This abridged timeline features patent cover designs from the last 228, dating back to 1790.
The Power of Trademarks
How can consumers educate themselves about trademarks and protect themselves from counterfeit goods?
This interactive exhibit — “The Power of Trademarks,” sponsored by the International Trademark Association (INTA) — is designed to help visitors recognize authentic consumer products. Companies such as Bose Corp., Crocs Inc., Michael Kors, NBA Properties Inc., Pfizer Inc., and The Procter & Gamble Co. contributed to the exhibit’s design and content.
What a Character!
Some of the most well-known and long-lived trademarked advertising icons are on display from the collection of Warren Dotz.
Thank you to Qualcomm, Ford, INTA and the George Eastman Museum for making this exhibit possible.