How to Overcome Patent Barriers for Black Inventors
How to Overcome Patent Barriers for Black Inventors
The black population was historically excluded from the patent system. This has lingering consequences for some people today. The Dred Scott ruling of 1857, which declared African Americans not U.S. citizens, effectively precluded them from patenting their own inventions. However, with the help of a few tips and tricks, Black inventors can now apply for patents and get the recognition they deserve. This article is written by Shontavia Johnson, an attorney, entrepreneur, and associate vice president of innovation at Clemson University.
One of the most famous black inventors, Elijah McCoy, developed a number of inventions. One of his most important inventions was a self-lubricating device for locomotives, which was a big hit during the industrial revolution. His invention was so revolutionary that engineers and conductors questioned it, and now there are several competing theories as to how it was created.
McCoy became a recognized innovator in his lifetime and was even recognized by Booker T. Washington, who was a patron. He had the distinction of being the only black inventor who produced more patents than any other black man. His name was attached to many of these inventions, and his name was even used as a catchphrase – “Real McCoy.”
In the early 1800s, McCoy’s parents fled to Canada from Kentucky. They eventually settled in Ontario, Canada. Elijah McCoy was born in Colchester, Ontario. As a child, he showed an interest in mechanics, and his parents sent him to study mechanical engineering in Scotland. In 1873, he returned to his home in Michigan, but was unable to find work there. He worked as an oilman and fireman for the Michigan Central Railroad.
As the United States entered the industrial age, the institutional environment for black inventions was very different. Black inventors were not able to get finance because they lived in the South. Yet, thanks to U.S. patents, their work became more widely publicized and became “the real McCoy” to distinguish themselves from the cheap copies. In addition to addressing this problem, Black inventors were rewarded with social status and the ability to pursue their dreams.
Despite the progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go. Developing a more inclusive work environment, fostering greater diversity in classrooms, and building networks for black inventors remains a major task. It is time to make progress on these fronts. Our country deserves more Black inventors. So, let’s do our part and overcome the barriers that keep Black inventors from getting a patent.
As a young woman, Gladys West overcame the obstacles that held her back from entering the field of science. She was a project manager for the first remotely sensing oceans satellite and published a guide for calculating geoid heights using the Geosat satellite. The geoid satellite was launched into orbit in 1984. West went on to become one of four African-American employees at Dahlgren Naval Base. As she became more successful, she met her future husband, a white man who was a member of Dahlgren’s engineering department. She also learned about the impact of GPS after her son-in-law bought one.
In 1962, Gladys West joined the U.S. Navy and worked as a computer programmer. She helped scientists analyze satellite data and build altimeter models of the Earth’s shape. She was recommended for a job as a project manager for the Seasat radar altimetry project, which was the first satellite to remotely sense the oceans. She then programmed an IBM 7030 “Stretch” computer to perform geoid calculations.
As a mathematician, West developed software that collected satellite data and helped develop the technology behind GPS, or the global positioning system. She matriculated at a historically Black college and was the second Black woman to be hired at the Naval Proving Ground in 1956. This position was in charge of programming massive machines. She was motivated by Dorothy Vaughan, another brilliant African-American woman.
While overcoming challenges, Dr. Patricia Bath overcame many barriers to become a world-class scientist. Growing up in a racially segregated neighborhood, she persevered despite many challenges. She went on to become the first African-American female ophthalmologist to receive a patent for a medical invention. Her achievement is an inspiration for other women who aspire to be the next great innovators.
George Washington Carver
Despite his African-American heritage, George Washington Carver’s early education was shaped by the racism of his surroundings. He attended a white-only elementary school and was later taken in by a black couple, the Watkins. While he was very interested in science, he found it very difficult to pursue it at the local black school. Eventually, he left his hometown for Kansas, where he attended Minneapolis High School. There, he developed an interest in nature, and he began working in his family’s garden.
In 1895, Carver earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Iowa. His professors encouraged him to continue his studies and earn a Master of Agriculture degree. He continued his research while working at the Iowa State Experimental Station, where he worked with renowned mycologist L.H. Pammel, a professor renowned for his work on plant diseases. He also became the first African-American to receive a patent for his invention in 1896.
The film includes interviews with people who knew Carver. Interviews took place at Iowa State University, Simpson College, and Tuskegee University. The film was broadcast by Iowa PBS. It is an excellent overview of Carver’s remarkable life. It is a must-see for anyone interested in history, science, or technology. There are many fascinating facts about this man and his inventions that you can learn from this fascinating documentary.
George Washington Carver was admitted to the Royal Society of Arts in England, where he became a Fellow. The society is a prestigious, multidisciplinary organization with many notable members. Its membership list includes authors such as Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Karl Marx, and Stephen Hawking. However, despite his ethnic background, Carver was not particularly politically inclined. However, his achievements helped make him one of the most famous black people in America during the Jim Crow era.
While he did not go on to develop patented products, George Washington Carver developed hundreds of products out of locally available resources. These products ranged from nutritious milk to flour to house paint to a variety of products made from peanuts. This led to high yields in cotton, but Carver was not content with just cotton. He also sought out alternative uses for surplus products like sweet potatoes. His innovations have led to a number of products, including peanut butter and chocolate-flavored ice cream.
Percy Lavon Julian
This book explains how a black inventor, Percy Lavon Julian, overcame racial barriers to become a successful innovator and obtain more than one hundred patents. As an African American, Julian was denied the opportunity to work for large corporations, despite a PhD and numerous honorary doctorates. His inventions, such as synthetic cortisone, revolutionized glaucoma treatments and helped him become the second black man elected to the National Academy of Sciences.
Julian was born in Montgomery, Alabama and attended DePauw University. After graduation, he studied chemistry at Harvard University and obtained a Ph.D. in chemistry. He worked on synthesis of prostaglandins and steroids, and also developed a synthetic cortisone substitute. His work on synthetic cortisone made it possible to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Julian was initially rejected for a professorship at DePauw University when his fellowship expired. After being denied a professorship, he was considered for the head of the chemistry department, but the board of trustees deemed it “inappropriate” to hire him. However, he pushed through, and was hired by DuPont as a chief chemist. Julian’s appointment to a top job at the company’s Appleton research institute was an important step in making black scientists and innovators more welcome in our society.
Born into a family of slaves, Julian was a trailblazer in the scientific world, achieving the status of doctor in chemistry and becoming one of the first Blacks to enter the National Academy of Sciences. Julian’s breakthrough in synthetic cortisone made him the first Black to be awarded a Ph.D. at a major university in the South. In fact, he was so successful that his patents have surpassed the number of people in his community – he now holds 130 patents in the chemical and pharmaceutical field!
Despite his success, the early years of his career were difficult. He had to face prejudice and racism, which meant he had to overcome the stigma of being a Black inventor. His career started at an early age, and he was born in Montgomery, Ala., during a time when Blacks were only allowed to go to eighth grade. He was also an activist in the community, and attended university, where he was accepted as a sub-freshman. His grandfather had been a slave and had no formal education.
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