1945 · Toledo, Ohio
This original patent artwork is two sheets showing different views of a juvenile vehicle by inventor William I. Smith of Goshen, Ind., assignor to The Hettrick Manufacturing Company. The Hettrick Manufacturing Company was founded in the late 1890's in Toledo as a manufacturer of canvas goods such as wagon covers and awnings. In the 1920's they expanded their product lines into hunting clothes and eventually into lawn chairs and even tricycles. This patent is for a child's vehicle, which appears designed to look like the Flying Tiger airplanes of WW2 - a highly relevant topic at the time this patent was applied for and issued. Hettrick was a major manufacturer of metal chairs and other items during this time period. William I. Smith no doubt worked for the company. An excellent item for toy car collectors, or anyone interested in the history of Ohio.
DESIGN PATENTS: what they are, how long they last, and records management
Design patents "protect the way an article looks." Historically important, they verify new design innovations, document changing cultural tastes, and establish valuable competitive business advantages. New patents preserve for seven years the inventor's sole ownership and use of the design.
The US Patent Office (USPTO) calls "the drawing disclosure ... the most important element of the application...As the drawing or photograph constitutes the entire visual disclosure of the claim, it is of utmost importance that the drawing or photograph be clear and complete, that nothing regarding the design sought to be patented is left to conjecture"
To obtain a Design patent, inventors submit an original black pen and ink drawing and a description of the innovation to the USPTO (typically with the assistance of a patent lawyer familiar with the process). The USPTO assigns the new application a "serial number" and "application date." USPTO patent examiners then vet the application to ensure it is unique and not already protected, often with additional communication between the USPTO, the inventor and their legal representation. This process can take months if not years. Only if determined to be a new invention will the USPTO issue the inventor a Design Patent number and patent date.
During the active term of the design patent, the USPTO retains the inventor's application and drawings for use in patent dispute cases and other inquiries. After the term of the patent, the USPTO may discard or return the materials if no longer relevant to their core mission. Today, most issued patents are digitized for preservation. Older paper records and patent models have been periodically discarded most often with little fanfare and to address space or fiscal management issues. (Inventory #: 28094)