MMWV employs 12 awesome women who perform on every level of our Firm. From Managing Partner to Firm Administrator, the women of MMWV help diligently move us forward and keep us running efficiently.
Over the course of 2019, MMWV will be doing an employee spotlight to showcase each of our employees, so stay tuned to find out about the women and men of MMWV. In the meantime, let’s look at some of history’s greatest inventors, that also happen to be women.
The USPTO recently released their report entitled, Progress and Potential: A profile of women inventors on U.S. patents. One of the key findings was that the number of women inventors has increased from 7% in the 1980s to 21% in 2016. Growth in patenting by women is sluggish, but it is steadily increasing; and it is certainly a marked increase from the early 19th century when the first U.S. patent was awarded to Mary Kies. While the Patent Act of 1790 allowed anyone to patent their invention regardless of gender, in many states, women could not legally own property separately from their husbands. Kies became the first woman to receive a U.S. patent for her method of weaving straw with silk, like the one pictured to the right. Thanks to her patent, Kies could create unique, stylish hats for the fashionable woman.
From then on, women started protecting their intellectual property more and more, some holding multiple patents, like Margaret Knight. She was inventing solutions to common manufacturing problems at the age of 12 but did not start patenting her inventions until she created the flat-bottomed brown paper bag as we know it today. She went on to start the Easter Paper Bag Company and worked on 89 inventions by her 70th birthday.
In 1911, Beulah Louise Henry patented her first invention, a vacuum ice cream freezer, while she was in college. She would go on to create 110 inventions and receive 49 patents. Throughout her inventing career, she invented multiple improvements to the typewriter including the ability to create multiple copies without the use of carbon paper. In her later years she served as a consultant for companies that manufactured her inventions, and of her motivations she said, “I invent because I cannot help it.”
Women continue to thrive in creating new and useful tools for the benefit of humans every day. We as an intellectual property law firm strive to foster these opportunities for creation, protect them on behalf of the inventor, and generate growth in the patent community at large.