Innovation Asset Blog

Patented Screens That Changed the World

It is somewhat hard to believe given the influx of high-definition touchscreens today, but there was in fact a time when the world was void of any digital screens. Nevermind high-definition, plasma or fiber optics, much less handhelds, touchscreens and flexible screens. The digital screen may actually be one of the greatest contributors to human technology advancement, as without screens we wouldn’t have had the personal computer movement, the mobile revolution, e-readers, modern health care delivery systems, handheld gaming devices, and much more. The impact that screens have had on media, communications, transportation, entertainment, and education, among other areas, is truly remarkable.

All of this was made possible by the power of free-flowing ideas, proactive inventors and innovative environments. And it was commercially enabled by the legal and intellectual property teams that recorded and organized the inventions, secured the patents, and ultimately allowed for the inventions to be mass produced and marketed. Without the incentives for innovation afforded by intellectual property, and an appreciation for the importance of managing it well,  some of the most famous screens might never have been released.

The following are just some of the iconic screens that changed the world:

The Kindle

Amazon’s entrance into the e-reader market revolutionized how the world reads books. Although e-readers had been around for a while by the time the Kindle hit the market in 2007, the Kindle “set fire” to the market, effectively moving e-reading past the “fad” phase and into a universally accepted form of reading. Though its six inch, four color greyscale screen was not revolutionary by itself, the Kindle in its entirety revolutionized a market.

The GameBoy

Nintendo and their handheld gaming device, GameBoy, forever changed the video game landscape. Children and teenagers (and likely many adults) of the early 90s were infatuated with the ability to play games on the go. GameBoy paved the way for many other handheld gaming devices through the 1990s and early 2000s, effectively carving out its place as an iconic piece of culture. Although the screen technology itself was quite spectacular for the time, the games displayed on the GameBoy’s screen truly made it special in the eyes of its users.


The iPhone

Apple’s iPhone revolutionized the touch screen phone game. Although they were not the first mobile phone manufacturer with a touchscreen (IBM did this with their “Simon” in 1992), Apple hit the smartphone jackpot with the iPhone through the late 2000s. This made touchscreens available to the masses, and sparked a movement that has led to a variety of touch sensitive screens (laptops, TVs, kiosks, etc.)


The Television

TVs have changed in so many ways over the past 60 years or so - they’ve been made bigger, smaller, wider, thinner, rounder, flatter, and pretty much everything in between. Screens have played an important part in the innovation of the television, incorporating features such as touch sensitivity and myriad display improvements.

Each one of these screens had a substantial impact on the marketplace, the culture, and potentially even the evolution of the human race. Though the ideas likely originated in the innovation, engineering and invention departments, the successful management and protection of the intellectual property is what ultimately led to the products hitting the market and achieving monumental success.

Whether you’re working on culture changing innovations like the ones listed above, or creating a niche software product specifically for a small segment of a market, effectively managing and protecting your intellectual property is one of the first steps toward success. There is never a bad time to start thinking about adjusting (or creating) your intellectual property management process to better leverage your organization’s inventions.

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