Judy W. Reed, of Washington, D.C., and Sarah E. Goode, of Chicago, were the first African American women inventors to receive patents. Reed may not have been able to sign her name, but she may be the first African American woman to receive a patent. Signed with an "X," patent no. 305,474, granted September 23, 1884, is for a dough kneader and roller. Goode's patent for a cabinet bed, patent no. 322,177, was issued on July 14, 1885. Goode, the owner of a Chicago furniture store at the time of her invention, invented a folding bed that could be formed into a desk when not in use. It was a great space-saving idea!
These patents, as well as the more than six million patents issued since the first in 1790 and the 2.3 million trademarks registered since 1870, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site at www.uspto.gov. Last year USPTO issued 187,824 patents and registered 102,314 trademarks.
Born a slave, Goode gained her freedom after the American Civil War and moved to Chicago, Illinois. She soon opened a furniture store that was modestly successful. Due to the limited living spaces of urban life, many of her customers complained about not having enough room to place full-size beds in their apartments. Goode was inspired to design and construct what is known today as the Folding Bed. Sarah E. Goode died in Chicago c1909
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This applies to the United States, where Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF. Works published before 1923, in this case 1885, are now in the public domain.
and also in countries that figure copyright from the date of death of the artist (post mortem auctoris) in this case (Sarah E. Goode c1909 ) and that most commonly run for a period of 50 to 70 years from december 31 of that date.
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