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The official newsletter of the Inventors Awareness Group, Inc., 1533 East Mountain Rd, Suite B, Westfield, MA 01085-1458 TEL: 413-568-5561 FAX: 413-568-5325

Volume #11; January 1996

National Inventors Hall of Fame

By Robert Lougher

AKRON, OH -- What exactly is the criteria for selection and induction into the National Inventors Hall of Fame? According to its own selection committee, the Hall of Fame is dedicated to the individuals who conceived the great technological advances which this nation fosters through its patent system. The purpose of The Hall is to honor these inventors and bring public recognition to them and their contributions to the nation's welfare. Inventors are selected for the Hall of Fame by the Selection Committee of The National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation. The Selection Committee is composed of representatives from national scientific and technical organizations. Each year the members vote to select the most qualified inventors from those who are nominated for induction. In its voting, the Selection Committee considers whether the invention of the nominee is covered by a US patent, the contribution of the invention to the nation's welfare, and the extent to which it promotes the progress of science and useful arts.

Based on this criteria, how can one of America's most prolific independent inventors be continually overlooked for induction? As America's "master inventor," Jerome H. Lemelson has averaged one patent a month for more than 40 years -- all on his own, developing his ideas independently, without support from established research institutions or corporate research and development departments.

Today, Lemelson's more than 500 patented inventions -- the fourth largest patent portfolio in the nation's history -- touch nearly every aspect of modern life. When we listen to a Walkman. When we watch a VCR. When we use a computer. When the clerk scans our groceries at the check-out stand. Ideas from Jerry Lemelson's fertile mind made these devices possible and helped drive the high-tech industrial revolution that has swept the globe since the end of World War II. Jerry Lemelson's incredible drive and ingenuity led to a range of inventions, many of which have gone on to affect the world dramatically: computer-controlled machine tools used in automated, flexible manufacturing systems; talking electronic systems to warn pilots of dangerous flying conditions; computer-controlled tourniquets used by surgeons; and the communication system used in the ubiquitous FAX machine.

Without the support of big business, the Hall of Fame would have never become a reality. In all fairness, the Selection Committee has selected a good portion of inventors that represent the corporate world. We are hoping that the Hall of Fame has not, and will not, become a clique of "good old boys" looking out for the best interest of corporate giants. We feel that the contributions of the independent inventor have far over shadowed the contributions of corporate sponsored inventors and Jerry Lemelson is the epitome of the independent inventor. Jerry Lemelson's contributions to our nation's welfare goes far beyond the impact of his inventions. His concern for the future of innovation in the United States has led him to devote much of his energy to the Lemelson National Program in Invention, Innovation and Creativity. Through this philanthropic program, the Lemelson family is reinvesting earnings from Jerry's patent portfolio in projects that redevelop the American economy by stimulating invention and innovation. We don't feel anyone has gone further to promote the progress of science and useful arts. We encourage all of our members to nominate Jerome H. Lemelson by writing to: National Inventors Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., P.O. Box 1553, Akron, OH 44309-1553. Since Mr. Lemelson does not have the sponsorship of Corporate America, just maybe we can initiate a grass roots movement to have his name at least placed on the ballot.

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