As women have expanded their footprint in the business world and in the sciences, their patent application numbers have also increased. However, it’s critically important to note that women have been applying for and receiving patents since the turn of the 19th century. The first woman to file an American patent was milliner Mary Kies. Her patent for improved hat construction that combined straw with silk was awarded on May 5, 1809.
She Patented Her Process
One of the most remarkable factors when considering the patent awarded to Mary Kies relates to the limitations of her time. She was not allowed to own property. Had she tried to open a factory, purchase machinery or open a shop for her hats, she would likely not have been able to own the manufacturing space, tools or the retail facility where she could sell her hats.
Kies, instead, applied for a patent for the process she developed combining silk and straw. Once her process had its own patented protection, her work could not be copied and her hat construction was unique.
Celebration Led to Capitalization
Mary’s patent and design success came at an ideal time. Trade embargoes tied to the Napoleonic Wars from 1799 to 1815 limited access to many products, including finished ladies hats from Europe. Kies not only received a patent signed by James Madison but garnered praise from First Lady Dolly Madison.
First Lady Madison was well-known as a fashion-conscious trend setter. Her vocal and vigorous support of Kies greatly helped the milliner to promote her hats as uniquely American.
Great Ideas Deserve Attention
A simple change in weaving materials and a market vacuum caused by embargo gave Mary Kies the title of first American woman to receive a patent. While the application and award process has changed a great deal, the need to celebrate these events cannot be overstated.
If your firm is in the business of putting new products into the marketplace, developing new procedures or creating unique improvements to your current processes, then a patent review is critical. For firms already in the business of applying for patents, it’s critical that those applications and subsequent patent awards be celebrated and promoted.
Mary Kies’ method of combining straw and silk created a market for women to create their own hats and even allowed them the chance to build a private business. Prior to Kies’ patent application, other straw weavers such as Betsy Metcalf also encouraged women to make and market hats privately. These small home-based businesses were easier to manage than factory work and helped women increase both their own hat options and generate income.
Create a Record
Sadly, Mary Kies’ patent history was lost in a fire in 1836. Fortunately, today you are protected from the potential, catastrophic loss of your data and patent history. With tools such as electronic record systems, your patent and intellectual property records are secure and easily accessible.
In addition to having easy access to your patent status and records, you can also celebrate the patents applied for and awarded to members of your firm with visible celebrations such as patent plaques. Patent recognition ensures that your team’s innovation, persistence, and achievements are never forgotten.
With the right display, you can create a patent plaque system that is poised for growth. New patents can be easily incorporated into the rail system. This structure can be easily mounted for display to the public and offer you the chance to celebrate the accomplishments of everyone involved with your patent process.
It’s important to note that patent applications and awards must be maintained. When working to promote the patents in work by your firm, make sure to keep this celebration and display in view for everyone from legal to support staff, so your patent milestones can be celebrated by everyone keeping them current.
As Dolly Madison spoke up for Mary Kies’ hats, you will want to celebrate and promote the contributions of everyone on your patent team. Simple but personalized desktop awards can help support and celebrate everyone assisting in patent submittal.
In addition to the clear hexagon structure, cube desktop awards in classic black are an excellent option for team members. These pieces will also provide you with space to etch a special message to celebrate their patent success.
Mary Kies had a great idea that she put to work at the right time. Her patent was awarded at a time when she was legally prevented from owning property that would have enabled her to build a manufacturing facility. However, as she had patented the process, she could put her weaving technique to work for herself and other women with a strong entrepreneurial spirit.
The ability to come up with processes and products is a skill that will enable your business to grow into the future. Celebrate the accomplishments of the employees in your firm with great patent displays and award commemorations from Stellar Kent. Your creative team deserves to have their accomplishments placed front and center!