#IPBday – The kevlar patent is over 50 years old!

Stephanie KWOLEK, the inventor of the kevlar, symbolizes women in the post-war scientific community having to make considerable efforts in comparison with her (male) peers, having to leave the lot significantly to be kept in office.

Born in New Kensington, Pennsylvania, in 1923, from Polish parents in the United States, Stephanie KWOLEK early became much interested in science and medicine. She graduated in chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University near Pittsburgh in 1946.

She will take up a position in research at DuPont’s textile fiber laboratory in Buffalo, New York, orriginally to finance her studies. In such an environment, she provided considerable effort and determination to try not to lose her job as it was for women in men’s work environments in post-war America. She was then hired at DuPont Pioneering Research Laboratory in Wilmington, Delaware.

As is often the case, the invention of Kevlar was a happy coincidence. Stéphanie KWOLEK was working on tire reinforcing fibers, with tests on strands of carbon-based molecules to be polymerized. She got a thin, opaque liquid while she was expecting a limpid, syrupy liquid.

Her colleagues were convinced that it is unlikely that this polymer can be transformed into fibers, but Stéphanie KWOLEK maintains her determination and persuades another scientist to spin the liquid through a laboratory “spinneret”. This type of machine makes it possible to eliminate the liquid solvent to obtain fibers. It was a success.

Kevlar is essentially a super fiber that is 5 times stronger than steel and much lighter. It is still used today in the aeropace as well as construction of aircraft and bulletproof vests. This material has saved the lives of many people

This shows that determination in Research or R&D can lead to scientific breakthroughs.


#IPBday – The setbacks of the mobile phone between the first patent and the placing on the market.

The pioneer patent on mobile phone technologies is that of Mr. Martin COOPER (MOTOROLA) filed on October 17, 1973 in the USA and issued September 16, 1975.

The patent had been extended interaallia to Germany and the United Kingdom, but surprisingly does not seem to have been extended to France. Would France have been a less interesting market than Denmark or Spain at that time?

The inventor Martin COOPER was the first to make a mobile phone call on April 3, 1973 in New York at 6th Avenue, which today seems like a trivial thing. (The experts would immediately ask the question of disclosure before filing that is legally problematic, but this is not the subject). For the anecdote, he called his competitor Joel Engel of BELL LABS, to show him who was the most advanced.

MOTOROLA (COOPER’s employer and patentee) is known for having a multitude of pioneering patents that have been at the basis of the evolution of mobile communications technologies. Many subsequent patents were dependent on Motorolla patents.

Hoowever, the technology took a long time to be available on the market, and more time to be in mass production.
In the US, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulated frequency usage in 1983. On September 21, 1983, the FCC approved the first commercially available Motorola DynaTAC 8000X. It weighed 800 g and measured 33 cm long. His price was about $ 4,000 and his memory was limited to 30 phone numbers. Its communication autonomy was less than an hour and its loading time was 10 hours.
Ten more years were needed to arrive at a mass production of the phone.

The size, weight and performance of the phone have of course evolved considerably since then.

In the same way, you may have a breakthrough innovation that will change the paradigms so much that we will wonder later how could we do without this invention. It is crutial not to make a destructive disclosure of novelty and to protect your innovation in order to reap the fruits thereof.


#IPBday – The seat belt is 60 years old …

On August 29, 1958 Mr. Nils BOHLIN (or rather his employer VOLVO) filed a Swedish patent application for a so-called 3 ponits safety belt. Today the safety seatbelt is so commonplace that one has the impression that it has always existed, while despite its simplicity a posteriori, it is undeniably an invention that has given a considerable advance. By 1961, more than three quarters of new cars were equipped with seatbelts. The same belt is found in cars manufactured every day.

It may also be the case for some of the solutions you have imagined, but which would difficult to market without a patent.

Nils BOHLIN was already inventor nominated in more than fifteen patent applications at the time of the patent application on the safety seat belt. He was previously an avionics engineer for the company SAAB (SVENSKA AEROPLAN AKTIEBOLAGET), applicant of the aforementioned patent applications. After working on ejector seats and their belts, Nils BOHLIN would have been hired by VOLVO to work on car seatbelts, which turned out to be a great success. Nils BOHLIN wanted to provide a belt that would “hold the upper and lower body in a physiologically favourable manner and is easy to connect and disconnect”.

The seat belt, however, took a long time to be accepted.

BOHLIN had to demonstrate the effectiveness of his seatbelt in a study of 28,000 accidents in Sweden. He presented a paper at the 11th Stapp Car Crash Convention. The unattached occupants sustained fatal injuries throughout the speed scale, while none of the occupants with a seat belt were fatally injured at a speed below 60 mph. In addition, no occupants fastened to the belt were fatally injured when the cockpit remained intact.

This study resulted in the US Department of Transportation requiring three-point seat belts being mandatory in American cars. And it was not until 1976 that the use of the seatbelt was made mandatory in Germany.

This is how a little idea turns the world around…