Connecting Indiana and Kentucky Inventors with Pro Bono Patent Assistance

 

Our goal is to match Indiana and Kentucky inventors in need of pro bono services with patent attorneys.

This is a fundamental part of our overall mission to enhance Indiana’s and Kentucky’s innovation ecosystem, which is vital to the state’s economy.

PatentConnect is the designated “patent hub” for the State of Indiana and Kentucky. The Center for Intellectual Property Research at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington) operates PatentConnect. The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has assisted in creating patent hubs across the country for the benefit of early-stage entrepreneurs.

If you are an Indiana or Kentucky inventor interested in the services of PatentConnect or a patent attorney interested in volunteering, click the appropriate icon below.

Indiana and Kentucky Patents

To understand how the state of Indiana and Kentucky's rate of patent acquisition fares, below we've included some stats from last year. Moving forward, we hope you will join us to help increase these numbers by improving access to the patent system for local inventors.

Kentucky Patents

A history of Impact

In 1884, John “Bud” Hillerich, son of J. F. Hillerich, famously ditched work at his father’s woodshop to watch the Louisville Eclipse. During the game, the team’s star, Pete “Lousiville Slugger” Browning broke his bat. Bud invited Browning to visit his father’s shop to hand-craft him a new bat, which Browning accepted. In his first game with the new bad, Browning got three hits, which broke him out of his batting slump and began the surge of professional ball players to visit the Hillerich woodworking shop. The bats were originally sold under the name “Falls City Slugger” until 1894 when Bud took over the company and renamed it “Lousiville Slugger.” Despite the story claiming J. F. Hillerich created the Louisville Slugger, it was Bud who registered for a patent in 1902.

Wikipedia

Patent: https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/e1/3a/97/418a0c6adc98e8/US716541.pdf

In 1917, long before their ‘70s heyday, Louis Bernard Woeste of Newport, Kentucky filed a patent for a Myriad Reflector, a mirrored ball now commonly referred to as a “disco ball.” Woeste’s advertised his invention as a “magnificent globe” with 1200 specially made mirror to give off a dazzling light show. The Myriad Reflector became widely used in nightclubs in the 1920’s and while this early version became forgotten over time, its connection with Kentucky remained strong. During the disco craze, the Louisville company Omega National Products claims to have made 90% of the disco balls in the United States.

Patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US1214863

https://patents.google.com/patent/US1662554A/en?oq=1662554

The Thompson submachine gun, also known informally as the “Tommy Gun,” was invented in 1918 by Newport, Kentucky born John T. Thompson. Thompson’s goal was to design a gun that could operate safely without the complexity of a recoil or a gas operated mechanism. During development, the project developing the Thompson Submachine Gun was titled “Annihilator I” and John T. Thompson envisioned the gun as a “one-man, hand-help machine gun,” which could be used in the ongoing trench warfare of World War I. However, two days before the prototypes could be shipped off to Europe the war had ended. The Thompson Submachine Gun became infamous during the Prohibition era as the signature weapon of various organized crime syndicates in the United States.

Wikipedia

Patent

Garrett Morgan, who was born into slavery in Claysville, Kentucky, invented the first traffic light that included a third “warning” position. Morgan designed the warning light in response to the growing problem of traffic accidents after automobiles began to share the same roads as pedestrians, bicycles, and animal-drawn wagons. While Morgan’s design was not the first traffic light to include a warning, with previous systems using audible warnings, it was patented in 1923 and is standard today. Prior to his traffic light invention, Morgan had previously invented an early version of a gas mask called a smoke hood in 1912 and a chemical that was used in hair products for hair-straightening in 1910.

Wikipedia 

Patent

Arthur Fry is credited with the invention of 3M’s highly successful Post-it Notes. In an attempt to make a strong adhesive, 3M scientist Dr. Spencer Silver accidentally developed an adhesive that stuck lightly to surfaces. It was this invention that inspired Arthur Fry to create an adhesive bookmark, which he brought back to Silver. The idea was developed further by 3M which made an adhesive note made of yellow paper, another “accident” created due to the availability of yellow scrap paper in the lab.

Wikipedia

Patent: https://patents.google.com/patent/US3691140 https://patents.google.com/patent/US5194299A/en?oq=5%2c194%2c299

While the original Chevrolet Corvette was designed and patented in Michigan, the Corvette has been manufactured in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is the official sports car of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Patents related to the design of the official sports car of the Commonwealth:

 Wikipedia

Indiana Patents

A history of Impact

In 1861, Indianapolis resident Richard Gatling invented the precursor to the modern machine gun, commonly known as the “Gatling Gun.” The Gatling Gun was developed by Gatling and first used by the Union Army during the American Civil War. The weapon was operated by a hand crank that rotated multiple barrels around a central axis that allowed it to be fired at a rapid rate. The Gatling Gun saw service in the Civil War and the Spanish-American War before being officially replaced by the U.S. Military. However, Gatling’s basic design was resurrected during WWII in the form of the M61 Vulcan gun, the progeny of which are still in service today.

Wikipedia

History.com

Gatling, Patent No. 36836 (1862)

Sylvanus Bowser of Fort Wayne, IN invented the first gas pump in 1885. Although Bowser’s invention predated the automobile by several years, his fuel pump was widely used to pump the fuel necessary to operate everyday household appliances such as stoves and kerosene lamps. After the advent of the automobile, Bowser’s fuel pump was quickly adopted by gasoline distributors worldwide. For many years, the term “Bowser” was a common nickname for all fuel pumps and the term is still used abroad in countries such as Australia and New Zealand.

Wikipedia

Bowser & Bowser, Patent No. 372250 (1887)

Josephine Cochrane, who was raised in Valparaiso, IN, invented the first commercially successful dishwasher, patenting her washer in 1894. Cochrane’s dishwasher was the first to use water pressure instead of scrubbers to clean the dishes. Although not patented until 1894, Cochrane displayed her invention in the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago. Cochrane’s dishwasher won the prize for “best mechanical construction, durability, and adaption to its line of work,” beating out newly introduced inventions such as the zipper, the Ferris Wheel, spray paint, and the moving walkway.

Wikipedia

Cochrane, Patent No. 512683 (1894)

Elwood McGuire of Richmond, IN patented a hand-push mower in 1870. Elwood improved greatly upon the horse-drawn mowers that predated his patented invention. Though Elwood’s mower was not the first lawn mower in the United States, it was his design that became the first commercially successful mower as it was lighter and easier to push than previous models.

McGuire, Patent No. 554081 (1896)

Elwood Haynes (aka the “Grandsire of Gasoline Cars”) from Portland, IN conducted one of the first successful automobile road tests in the United States, which predated Henry Ford’s Quadricycle by two years. On July 4, 1894, Haynes’ car traveled from Pumpkinvine Pike to Kokomo, IN at only about 6-7 mph but, according to Haynes, the voyage signaled “a new era . . . for highway travel.” Haynes was also the first person to drive 1000 miles in 1899 and started his own car company, the Haynes Automotive Company.

Haynes & Apperson, Patent No. 673619 (1901)

Wikipedia

History.com

Automobile pioneer Elwood Haynes also was an accomplished metallurgist, obtaining a patent on stainless steel in 1913. In attempting to create corrosion-resistant metals for his own line of automobiles, Haynes created several important metal alloys; the most significant of which was stainless steel. At the urging of his wife, Haynes commissioned the forging of the first stainless steel silverware set. Haynes would later say that he created stainless steel because he was tired of polishing his family’s silver tableware.

Haynes, Patent No. 1057828 (1913)

Wikipedia

In 1928, Majorie Joyner received a patent for a hair straightener. At the time, Joyner was working for Madame C.J. Walker—an African-American entrepreneur, philanthropist, and “the first female self-made millionaire in America.” Walker operated a successful chain of hair salons and beauty schools and based her operations in Indianapolis. Although Joyner assigned her patent to Walker, Joyner and Walker’s professional relationship proved valuable to both women. Walker was able to commercialize Joyner’s invention as the device was later discovered to be a useful tool for treating a wide variety of hair types while Joyner went on to enjoy a full career with Walker’s company, eventually being named vice president of the company’s salon division.

Joyner, Patent No. 1693515 (1928)

Wikipedia

Am. Comes Alive

Television pioneer Philo Farnsworth was instrumental in bringing television to the masses. In 1921, when he was only fifteen years old, Farnsworth worked out the basic principles of the electric television and illustrated them on a classroom chalkboard for his high school teacher. Six years later, in 1926, Farnsworth received a patent on that invention and went on to establish the Farnsworth Television and Radio Corporation in Fort Wayne, IN. The RCA corporation challenged several of Farnsworth’s TV patents, claiming an employee of theirs had invented the innovations first. Farnsworth eventually succeeded however, when his high school teacher described the 1921 chalkboard drawings to the Patent Office. Farnsworth later licensed his invention to RCA, which went on to establish a major TV manufacturing plant in Bloomington, IN.

Farnsworth, Patent No. 1773980 (1930)

Wikipedia

Biography

Indiana-based pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Company first gained FDA approval to Prozac—the first of a new breed of pharmaceutical designed to fight depression—in 1987. Several years before, Indianapolis residents Bryan B. Mooloy and Klaus K. Schmiegel, who were both employed by Eli Lilly, were granted a patent on the drug. Within a year of receiving FDA approval, annual sales in the U.S. alone reached $350m. In the subsequent years, Prozac went on to help millions of Americans suffering through depression and paved the way of other successful anti-depressants.

Molloy & Schmiegel, Patent No. 4194009 (1980)

Wikipedia

Starting in the 1950s, Procter and Gamble began funneling millions of dollars to scientists at Indiana University – Bloomington to develop fluoride toothpaste. Through the work of three Hoosier scientists, Harry Day, Joseph C. Muhler, and William Nebergall, a prototype was developed in only two years and a patent was granted to the for the invention the next year in 1953. In 1956, after successful market testing, Procter and Gamble, to whom IU had licensed the patent, launched the new product, which it branded as Crest Toothpaste.

Nebergall, Patent No. 2876166 (1959)

Wikipedia

IN Public Media

Disposible diaper inventor Marion Donovan was born in Fort Wayne, IN in 1917. Donovan’s first foray into the diaper industry came in the late 1940s when she invented a waterproof cover for diapers, the first embodiment of which was fashioned by Donovan at home with her own shower curtain. After patenting her invention in 1951, she sold her patent rights for $1,000,000. Donovan then went on to develop a fully disposable diaper that inspired Pampers to create a commercial version of the innovation.

Donovan, Patent No. 2556800 (1951)

Wikipedia

In 1944, Andrew J. Moyer—born in 1899 in the small farming community of Van Buren Township in Pulaski County, IN—received a patent for a method for producing penicillin. Though discovery of penicillin is widely credited to Alexander Fleming, neither Fleming nor any other scientist was able to mass-produce the mold. In 1941, Moyer suggested adding corn steep liquor to the growth medium, which led to significant increases in yield. After three years of refining, Moyer’s improvements were ready for patenting and mass production as the first commercial plant for penicillin was opened that year. As a result of Moyer’s work, 2.3 million doses of penicillin were delivered to Allied soldiers during WWII which saved an estimated 12%-15% of wounded Allied soldiers during and after the invasion of Normandy.

Coghill & Moyer, Patent No. 2423873 (1947)

Wikipedia

IN Public Media

Walter Teague, known as the “Dean of Industrial Design,” was born in Decatur, IN in 1840. Some of Teague’s greatest professional successes came from his work with Kodak in the late 1920s and into the 1930, including the Art Deco Gift camera, the Baby Brownie, and the Bantam Special. Teague received dozens of patents on his camera designs, bringing him wide recognition.

Teague & Crumrine, Patent No. D99906 (1936)

Wikipedia

IDSA

Industrial design pioneer Donald Roscoe Dohner was born and raised in Indiana and studied at the John Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis. Dohner oversaw the design of all Westinghouse products beginning in 1930, including the company’s line of home refrigerators. Through his work with the Carnegie Institute for Technology (now Carnegie Mellon) and the Pratt Institute, Dohner revolutionized industrial design education in the United States and was posthumously recognized by the Industrial Designers Society of America as the “Father of American Industrial Design Education.”

Dohner, Patent No. D86878 (1932)

IDSA

Bloomington, IN-based Cook Medical Inc. has been designing novel stent assemblies for treatment of cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, and other health ailments since filing its first patent for the Gianturo Expandanble Wire Stent in 1986; which was a full two years before the stent was first used successfully in a human patient. Dr. Cesare Gianturo’s most recent improvement on the stent resulted in another patent being granted in 1996 for a self-expanding version.

Gianturo, Patent No. 4580568 (1986)

Wikipedia

Indianapolis native Michael Graves designed a stainless steel tea kettle in 1985, which went on to become a cultural icon. While it is widely remembered for its whistling, bird-shaped spout, Graves’ postmodern tea kettle is still Alessi’s most popular product to date. Although Alessi and Graves never applied for a design patent on the tea kettle, below we’ve included a more recent patent granted to Graves in 2005 for another tea kettle. In addition to his highly successful household product lines, Graves was also a remarkably gifted architect. Arguably most well-known for the work he did for Disney, many Hoosiers know him for his work on the NCAA’s Hall of Champions.

Graves, Patent No. D501355 (2005)

Wikipedia

Alessi