April 1st | Posted In Trivia

Trivia Tuesday!

By admin


A patent cover

Isn’t quizzo the greatest?  Whether you are a New Deck purist who spells it with just one ‘z’, or prefer to win “adult” toys at a round of Kinky Quizzo, you can’t help but to love the thrill of being the only person at your table who can name what year the Phillies became the first professional sports team in the world to lose 10,000 games‡.

To celebrate my love of quizzo (which is one of the reasons #whyilovephilly), I give you a Philly-focused trivia question every Tuesday.  Answers after the jump.

This week’s trivia question:  It’s my personal opinion (not necessarily the opinion of Young Involved Philadelphia) that we need patent reform in this country. Philadelphia has a long history with patents – after all, Art. I, Sec. 8, Cl. 8 of the Constitution was written here, providing that “The Congress shall have Power To…promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries….”  Philadelphia is also where Benjamin Franklin opted to not patent any of his many inventions. And Philadelphia is also where the answer to this week’s trivia question was patented by Hymen L. Lipman in 1858, U.S. Patent 19,783. Lipman later sold his patent to Joseph Reckendorfer, an early patent troll who sued Eberhard Faber for infringement. That case made it to the Supreme Court, which sided for Faber, the successor company of which still makes this product today. Hint: Lipman’s parents were Brits, so they probably called their son’s invention a “rubber” and then giggled about it, because they obviously had a 7th grader’s sense of humor to name their son Hymen Lipman.

Answer: Lipman patented the eraser on the end of a pencil. In Reckendorfer v. Faber, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Faber because Lipman merely combined two known objects without anything new being made.  

‡ 2007.  It was July 15, 2007 to be exact. Yes, our beloved Phils are the most losing team in professional sports history. But, hey, at least they won yesterday.

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