Famous Patents Drafted by GW Alumni

This page seeks to honor the achievements of GW Law alums who have spent some or all of their careers in intellectual property law. Our first project has been to collect landmark patents written by GW Law alumni. The results -- encompassing many of the highlights of technological progress in the last 130 years -- are posted below. There are many other achievements we have yet to chronicle -- more recent patent prosecutions (more difficult to attribute to an individual due to the proliferation of large firms), and achievements in patent litigation, in the Patent and Trademark Office, and in trademark and copyright law. If you have any contributions -- either your own achievements or those of others -- please e-mail Professor Robert Brauneis at [email protected].


Landmark Patents Written by GW Law Alumni

Decade Invention Inventor Attorney Patent Number Date Issued
1870s Telephone Alexander Graham Bell Marcellus Bailey, Class of 1866 174,465 March 7, 1876
1880s Linotype Machine Ottmar Mergenthaler Philip Tell Dodge, Class of 1873 317,828 May 12, 1885
  Calculating Machine William S. Burroughs Frank Leslie Freeman, Class of 1877 388,116 August 21, 1888
  Roll Film Camera George Eastman

Melville Church, Class of 1879 (later professor at GW)

Frederick F. Church, Class of 1886

395,782 September 4, 1888
  Punch-Card Tabulator Herman Hollerith

Melville Church, Class of 1879 (later professor at GW)

Frederick F. Church, Class of 1886

395,782 January 8, 1889
1890s Process of Extracting Bromide Hermert Henry Dow Leverett Lyndon Leggett, Class of 1875 Reissue No. 11,232 Reissued April 12, 1892
  Carborundum Edward Goodrich Acheson Frank Leslie Freeman, Class of 1877 492,767 February 28, 1893
  Alternating Current Electric Distribution Charles Proteus Steinmetz George R. Blodgett, Class of 1887 533,244 January 29, 1895
  Dirigible (Zeppelin) Ferdinand Graf Zeppelin Hubert Howson, Class of 1877 621,195 March 14, 1899
1900s Flying Machine Orville Wright; Wilbur Wright Harry Aubrey Toulmin, Class of 1882 (National) 821,393 May 22, 1906
  Triode Vacuum Tube Lee DeForest George K. Woodworth, Class of 1901 (National) 841,387 January 16, 1907
  Space Telegraphy (Radio) Lee DeForest George K. Woodworth, Class of 1901 (National) 879,532 February 18, 1908
1910s Seaplane Glenn H. Curtiss Emerson Root Newell, LLM 1896; MPL 1897 1,156,215 October 12, 1915
1920s Improved Phonograph Thomas Alva Edison Henry Lanahan, Class of 1910 1,708,692 April 9, 1929
1930s Nylon Wallace Hume Carothers Ralph F. Miller, Class of 1924 2,071,250 February 16, 1937
  Negative Feedback Amplifier Harold Stephen Black Newton A. Burgess, Class of 1911 2,102,671 December 21, 1937
1940s Variable Frequency Oscillation Generator William R. Hewlett Paul D. Fleher, Class of 1925 2,268,872 January 6, 1942
  Control Mechanism for Rockets Robert Hutchings Goddard Charles Taft Hawley, Class of 1913 2,397,657 April 2, 1946
1950s Geodesic Dome

Richard Buckminster Fuller

Charles P. Pollard, Class of 1931; Albert C. Johnston, Class of 1934 2,682,235

December 12, 1951

  Nuclear Reactor Enrico Fermi, Leo Szilard Robert A. Lavender, Class of 1927 2,708,656 May 17, 1955
1960s Tunnel Diode Leo Ezaki Lewis Steadman, Class of 1951 3,033,714 May 8, 1962
  Astroturf James M. Faria, Robert T. Wright Roy H. Massengill, Class of 1963 3,332,828 July 25, 1967
1970s Computer Mouse Douglas C. Engelbart Arthur Freilich, Class of 1960 3,541,541 November 17, 1970
  Fiber Optics (Fused Silica Optical Waveguide) Robert D. Maurer, Peter C. Schultz Clarence R. Patty, Jr., Class of 1950 3,659,915

May 2, 1972


Miniature Electronic Calculator

Jack S. Kilby, Jerry D. Merryman, James H. Van Tassel Harold Levine, Class of 1958; Edward Connors, Jr., LLM 1962


June 25, 1974


Parallel Processing Supercomputer

Seymour Cray

Robert M. Angus, Class of 1966


September 3. 1974

  CAT-Scan Machine Robert S. Ledley Edward E. Dyson, Class of 1966 3,922,552 November 25, 1975
1980s Process for Producing Biologically Functional Molecular Chimeras Stanley N. Cohen, Herbert W. Boyer Bertram I. Rowland, Class of 1961 4,237,224

December 2, 1980

  Oil-Eating Bacteria (B. cepacia) Ananda Chakrabarty James C. Davis, Jr., Class of 1963 4,259,444 March 31, 1981

Prozac (Arloxyphenyl- propylamines)

Bryan B. Molloy, Klaus K. Schmiegel Arthur R. Whale, Class of 1956


February 2, 1982
  Medeco Biaxial Cylinder Lock Roy N. Oliver G. Franklin Rothwell, Class of 1956 4,635,455 January 13, 1987
  Multigrade Asphalt Anthony J. Kriech, Herbert L. Wissel Arthur R. Whale, Class of 1956 4,874,432 October 17, 1989
2000s Tissue Growth Technique ("Guided Development and Support of Hydrogel-Cell Compositions") Charles A. Vacanti, Joseph P. Vacanti, Martin P. Vacanti Peter J. Fasse, Class of 1987 6,171,610 January 9, 2001
2010s CRISPR-CAS Systems and Methods for Altering Expression of Gene Products Feng Zhang Smitha B. Uthaman, Class of 2017 8,697,359 April 15, 2014
Camera patent


CRISPR patent