As we all may have noticed at some point there is a list of references cited adorning the face of every US patent. Utilizing these lists of references cited, patents can be connected to other patents through the references cited on their own face, as well as the instances where the patent is cited on a subsequent patent’s face. By connecting patents in this manner a network begins to form and begs the question: How many steps would it take to connect any patent with any other patent?
So, starting with any patent where would we find ourselves after 6 steps through the references cited network? Today our examination of the patent network takes note of the Post-It Note.
Start: US 3,691,140 A, 3M’s adhesive that was applied to the back of yellow squares of paper to create the Post-It Note
First Degree: US 6,637,124 B2, an adhesive backed measuring tape
Second Degree: US 7,469,481 B2, a laser line intersection generating device for aligning objects
Third Degree: US 6,188,228 B1, a hammer with integrated electronics to sense studs and AC power lines in a wall
Fourth Degree: US 7,489,111 B2, a holstered cordless power tool
Fifth Degree: US 4,827,534 A, a vest covered in photovoltaic cells for recharging the battery of a power tool when working outside
Sixth Degree: US 4,697,360 A, a ski boot with electronic control devices powered by a plurality of solar cells covering the boot’s surface
So there you have it, in 6 steps you can connect the famous sticky yellow notes and a ski boot powered by the sun.
While this journey represents one connection path for the Post-It Note patent, feel free to follow your own path of patent connection intrigue and share it in the comments section below.
Have a suggestion for an inventor or invention you would like to see in the Six Degrees post? Share that in the comments too!