How many times have you heard, “Don’t reinvent the wheel”? Why is it then that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued over 30,000 wheel patents since 1790? Moreover, as patent attorney, Lawrence Ebert, indicates, they’re approving about three hundred new ones a year. However, even Lawrence doesn’t tell the whole story.
You see, he only quoted figures from Patent Class 295 (Railway Wheels and Axles) and Class 301 (Land Vehicles: Wheels & Axles). He didn’t include wheels from Class D21 (Games, Toys, and Sports Equipment) which includes the following:
- Subclass 375: Roulette wheels
- Subclass 175-177: Steering wheels
- Subclass 204-213: Toy wheels
- Subclass 458: Pinwheel
- Subclass 477: Toys with steering wheels
- Subclass 543: Paddle wheels
- Subclass 779: Skating wheels for roller skates and skateboards
- Subclass 667: Fly Wheels
- Subclass 763: Rollers
- Subclass 563: Wheels for toy vehicles
- Subclass 829: Ferris wheel
Furthermore, he didn’t include Class 472 which contains crank wheels such as those powering our bicycles. He also didn’t include pulleys which fall under Class 474 and various kinds of tires (Class 152) and wheels that fit around other wheels (Class D12)
Now, just imagine if no one “reinvented the wheel.” We wouldn’t have all these wonderful wheels not to mention many folks wouldn’t have jobs and businesses. In short, many people wouldn’t be making the money they’re making now. Technological advancement has come because we like to reinvent things, always making them better and more adaptable to a need.
So, when people say, “Don’t reinvent the wheel,” take them up on the challenge and show them how you can make the “wheel” better and more profitable. Don’t let their lack of creativity chain your creativity and innovativeness to the ground.