Patents in Everyday Products: Spotting Innovation in the Things You Use 

Patents in Everyday Products Spotting Innovation in the Things You Use blog baner


World Intellectual Property Day, celebrated on April 26th each year, serves as a global acknowledgment of the critical role intellectual property (IP) plays in fostering innovation and creativity across various industries. From the latest technological advancements to everyday household items, intellectual property rights, particularly patents, serve as the cornerstone of protecting and incentivizing innovation. 

In our daily lives, we often interact with countless products that incorporate patented technologies, yet we may not always recognize the innovative features hidden within them. From the smartphone in our pocket to the kitchen appliances we use, patents exist in the everyday items that make our lives easier. 

In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of patents in everyday products, exploring how these legal protections spur innovation and shape the products we rely on daily.  

What are patents? 

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. They provide the inventor with the legal authority to prevent others from making, using, selling, or distributing their invention without permission. 

The primary purpose of patents is to encourage innovation by offering inventors protection for their creations, thus providing them with a competitive advantage in the market. By granting exclusive rights, patents incentivize inventors to disclose their inventions to the public, contributing to the advancement of knowledge and technology. 

Patents cover a wide range of inventions, including products, processes, methods, and compositions of matter, as long as they meet the criteria of novelty, utility, and non-obviousness. They play a crucial role in various industries, from technology and healthcare to manufacturing and consumer goods, driving innovation and fostering economic growth. 

In essence, patents serve as a catalyst for innovation, providing inventors with the incentive and protection needed to transform their ideas into tangible products and technologies that benefit society. 

Examples of patented innovations in everyday products 

Innovations protected by patents are ubiquitous in the everyday products we use, enriching our lives in countless ways. Here are some examples across different categories: 

A. Household items 

  • Kitchen appliances: Patented advancements in kitchen appliances range from efficient cooking methods to safety features and ergonomic designs. For example, the microwave oven invented by Percy Spencer and the dishwasher with multiple wash cycles invented by Josephine Cochrane have improved the lives of millions of people around the world.  
  • Cleaning products: Patented formulations and technologies enhance the effectiveness and convenience of cleaning products, making household chores easier and more efficient. A widely known cleaning device that was invented by Hubert Cecil Booth, a British engineer is the vacuum cleaner. Booth received a British patent for the vacuum cleaner in 1901.  
  • Furniture and home decor: Innovations in furniture design, materials, and functionality are protected by patents, ensuring comfort, durability, and aesthetic appeal. For example, the venetian blinds that exist in numerous households around the world had their first version patented in 1976 by the Englishman Edward Bevan. 

B. Personal care products 

  • Cosmetics and skincare: Patented formulations and delivery systems improve the efficacy and performance of cosmetics and skincare products, addressing various beauty and skincare concerns. The first commercial mascara was developed by the French perfumer, Eugene Rimmel in the 1830s, while the first modern sunscreen was developed by Swisschemist Franz Greiter in 1946. 
  • Haircare products: Innovations in haircare products include patented ingredients, formulations, and styling tools that cater to different hair types and styling preferences. Lyda D. Newman invented an “Improved Hairbrush”, which allowed for easy cleaning and had bristles separated to allow easy combing. She was awarded U.S. patent 614,335. 
  • Dental hygiene products: Patented technologies in dental hygiene products enhance oral health through advanced toothbrush designs, toothpaste formulations, and dental care devices. The first tube of toothpaste was invented by Dr. Lucius Sheffield in 1886 while The first patent on a collapsible toothpaste tube, US 152,098, was granted on June 16, 1874, to a dentist, Thomas Forster of Pennsylvania. 

C. Electronic devices 

  • Smartphones and tablets: Patents protect innovations in smartphone and tablet technology, including features such as touchscreens, biometric authentication, camera technologies, and user interface designs. The first touchscreen mobile phone was invented by engineers at the computer company IBM in 1992. 
  • Wearable technology: Innovations in wearable devices, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, are protected by patents, covering aspects like sensor technology, data processing algorithms, and user interface interactions. It’s notable that the first smartwatch was designed in 1998 by Steve Mann, a Canadian inventor.  
  • Home automation devices: Patented technologies enable smart home devices to automate and control various household functions, enhancing convenience, energy efficiency, and security. For example, one of the patents for a smart thermostat is the “Smart thermostat hub” with patent number US10825273B2 and was awarded to Dave Marcinkowski and Thomas Mandry. 

D. Transportation 

  • Automobiles: Patents in the automotive industry cover advancements in engine technology, safety features, infotainment systems, and autonomous driving technologies. The modern three-point safety belt was perfected by Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin in 1959 with patent number US3043625A and has saved millions of lives. 
  • Bicycles and scooters: Innovations in bicycle and scooter design, materials, and functionality are protected by patents, improving performance, comfort, and safety for riders. The scooter with a safety folding mechanism patent was awarded to Ching Chiuan Chen in 2000.  
  • Public transportation systems: Patented technologies in public transportation systems include innovations in vehicle design, propulsion systems, ticketing systems, and passenger amenities, enhancing efficiency and passenger experience. One of the patents for the automated fare collection system was awarded to Julie Green, Lawrence Chickola, E. Steven Emanuel and Alan Cruickshank in 2000.  

These examples illustrate how patents drive innovation across diverse product categories, shaping the everyday products we rely on and enhancing our quality of life. 

How to spot patented innovations in everyday products 

Identifying patented innovations in everyday products can be an enlightening and rewarding experience. Here are some key steps to help you spot patents in the products you use: 

A. Understanding patent markings and numbers: 

  1. Look for patent markings: Many products include markings such as “Pat.” or “Patent” along with a patent number, indicating that the product or a component of it is patented. 
  1. Decode patent numbers: Patent numbers typically consist of a combination of numbers and letters. Understanding the format of patent numbers can help you interpret and search for patents more effectively. 

B. Using online patent databases for research: 

  1. Utilize patent search engines: Online patent databases such as Google Patents or IamIP allow you to search for patents by keywords, patent numbers, inventors, or assignees. 
  1. Narrow down your search: Refine your search criteria to focus on relevant patents related to the specific product or technology you’re interested in. Use filters such as publication date, patent classification, and assignee to narrow down your results. 

C. Recognizing patented features and functionalities in products: 

  1. Analyze product design and functionality: Pay attention to unique features, components, or functionalities of the product that may indicate patented innovations. 
  1. Compare with patent descriptions: Once you’ve identified potential patented features, compare them with the descriptions and claims of relevant patents to confirm their patented status. 

By following these steps, you can become adept at spotting patented innovations in everyday products and gain a deeper appreciation for the ingenuity and creativity behind them. Keep in mind that patents are valuable assets that protect and incentivize innovation, contributing to the advancement of technology and society as a whole. 

The impact of patents on consumer choices and purchasing decisions 

Patents play a significant role in shaping consumer choices and influencing purchasing decisions in various ways: 

A. Product differentiation: 

Unique features and functionalities protected by patents set products apart from competitors, offering consumers distinct benefits and value propositions. 

Patented innovations contribute to brand differentiation, helping companies establish a competitive edge in the market and build brand loyalty among consumers. 

B. Consumer awareness and brand perception: 

Consumers are increasingly aware of patented features and technologies in products, influencing their perception of brands and products. 

Brands that invest in innovation and hold a significant number of patents are often perceived as leaders in their respective industries, garnering trust and credibility among consumers. 

C. Influence on purchasing decisions: 

Consumers may prioritize products with patented innovations over alternatives without such protection, perceiving them as higher quality, more innovative, or offering superior performance. 

Patented technologies that address specific consumer needs or pain points may drive purchasing decisions, as consumers seek products that offer innovative solutions to their problems. 

D. Market competition and innovation: 

Patents create barriers to entry for competitors, giving patent holders a competitive advantage and incentivizing them to invest in further innovation. 

Competition among companies to secure patents and develop innovative products fuels technological advancements and drives market innovation, ultimately benefiting consumers with a wider range of choices and improved products. 

Overall, patents exert a profound influence on consumer behavior and purchasing decisions, shaping market dynamics and driving innovation in various industries. As consumers become increasingly discerning and value-driven, the presence of patented innovations can significantly impact their perceptions and choices in the marketplace. 


In conclusion, patents serve as vital instruments in driving innovation, protecting intellectual property, and shaping the products we use in our daily lives. From the kitchen appliances that streamline our cooking routines to the cutting-edge technologies in our smartphones, patented innovations enrich our experiences and enhance our quality of life. 

As we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day, it’s important to recognize the significant contributions of patents to society and the economy. Patents not only incentivize inventors and businesses to invest in research and development but also foster competition, stimulate economic growth, and promote technological progress. 

By uncovering the hidden innovations behind everyday products and understanding the role of patents in shaping consumer choices, we gain a deeper appreciation for the ingenuity and creativity that drive progress. As consumers, entrepreneurs, and innovators, let us continue to support and advocate for the protection of intellectual property rights, ensuring a thriving ecosystem of innovation for generations to come. 

Sign Up

Give us a call or fill in the form below and we will contact you. We endeavor to answer all inquiries within 24 hours on business days.