Already this month, the United State Patent and Trademark Office celebrated two incredible milestones.
On April 10, the USPTO turned 225, marking the number of years since the first patent act was passed in 1790.
The organization also granted its nine millionth patent on April 7.
Who was the lucky recipient? The product belongs to Matthew Carroll, an inventor from Jupiter, FL, whose product WiperFill filed for a patent in March 2013.
After more than two years to complete all the patent process steps, Carroll received his patent, which will be presented to him at a special event to mark the 225th anniversary of the Patent Act of 1790.
Although the U.S. Patent Act of 1790 was the first type of legislation of its kind in American history, other parts of the world have also protected intellectual property, according to Smithsonian Magazine.
The concept had existed in France and Italy before that time as guilds would exclusively practice a particular technique for their crafts. As far back as 500 BCE in Greece, historians have discovered a patent-like system that allow inventors to retain ownership of their ideas for up to a year.
In 1793, the first patent act was repealed and replaced with a more efficient system. It wasn’t until the later Patent Act of 1836, however, that the USPTO was established.
In recent years, the U.S. has altered its system to protect the first creator to file a patent, which is similar to the laws of other countries and helps to expedite the patent process.
It’s unclear whether the founding fathers would have foreseen nine million of such patents granted 225 years ago, but WiperFill’s patent is oddly appropriate for the times.
WiperFill is a “green” product that turns recycled rain, dew, melting snow and ice on a car’s windshield into windshield washer fluid. The inline-underhood device collects the water in a reservoir, then filters it and mixes it with concentrate pellets to make the cleaning fluid or deicer.
According to a WiperFill Holdings press release, Carroll designed the product with the goal of eliminating the need to manually fill the wiper fluid reservoir. The system consists of a cartridge with the concentrated fluids, which is designed to last up to a year and can be replaced during an oil change or other maintenance.
“We live in a world of advanced automotive technology and automated processes, but we still make drivers fill their own wiper fluid,” Carroll said. “WiperFill was designed to provide a convenient, more sustainable, hassle-free process to ensure your wiper fluid never runs out.”
WiperFill also offers several environmental benefits. It eliminates the need to filter hundreds of millions of gallons of water to manufacture windshield wiper fluid, it reduces carbon emissions by making shipments of the product 35 times more efficient than it is with traditional wiper fluid, and it replaces the plastic bottles used for wiper fluid with reusable and rechargeable cartridges.
Carroll, who is also president of WiperFill Holdings, is currently seeking a development partner to help market the product.