Levi Strauss buys revolutionary denim patent

In the early 70’s an American tailor called Jacob Davies realised that he could use metal rivets on jeans to make them more durable. It may have been a seemingly tiny alteration in the clothing market but would end up evolving into a huge worldwide success. Davies was unfortunately unable to afford the patent office fees in order to adequately protect the idea so approached an unknown store owner called Levi Strauss to pay for the patent. The rest was history.

Real light bulb inventors lose place in history

Everyone thinks that Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, but in truth its real inventors and patent-holders were Henry Woodward and Matthew Evans, who sold their IP to Edison who then changed some of the design elements and launched one of the most successful products to have ever been created.

General Electric sells ‘silly putty’ patent for $147

In 1949 an inventor called Peter Hodgson purchased a patent to produce a product called ‘Nutty Putty’ from General Electric. Despite only charging him $147 for the patent, Hodgson went on to make an estimate $140 million marketing the product as a popular children’s toy.

Inventor of wind-up radio faces bankruptcy

Last year an inventor called Trevor Baylis was forced to the point of near bankruptcy despite being the original inventor the wind-up radio, which was recently named as one of the 50 greatest inventions in British history. This is because the company that Baylis went into business with was able to make a tiny tweak to his original designs so that winding it up also charged a battery, causing him to lose control over the product.

Google gets taken to the cleaners over Adwords patents

Google is often cited as having been preyed upon by patent trolls after being ordered to pay 1.36 percent of its revenue from its Adwords platform to a tiny company in Virginia. The company in question purchased a series of patents from Lycos which included a targeted online advertising patent. The same company has also successfully sued Microsoft on similar grounds.