March 2014

Patent applications covering fundamental tech have been pending before the US PTO for 43 years

According to the Chicago Tribune, inventor Glibert Hyatt is awaiting approval for a patent filed 43 years ago for "electronic signal control of machinery". It took 20 years for Hyatt to be awarded a patent covering "single chip integrated circuit computer architecture," effectively granting to Hyatt a royalty claim to most microprocessors in use (making Hyatt an already wealthy man).  He's also waiting for the grant of a patent application on liquid crystal displays. That application has been pending for 35 years.

Technology historian Ross Bassett is quoted in the Tribune article above as follows (emphasis added):

I respect Gilbert Hyatt's work — the process of engineering is difficult. But innovations are more than ideas. The broader context matters. If Gilbert Hyatt had never existed, I believe the microprocessor would have developed in the same way that it did.

Of course it would have.

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