Inventors and Patents From the City of Portland

InventOR, Jerome Lemelson, John P. Thompson, Cornell University, and InventOR are just a few names to be familiar with. Each contributed to the advancement of technology and society. These inventors helped the City of Portland become a global center for innovation.


The InventOR program provides a variety of resources for young inventors who are seeking funding for their business ideas. Its sponsors include the Lemelson Foundation, which supports programs that increase access to innovation and entrepreneurship. The Lemelson Foundation was one of the first sponsors of InventOR, helping launch the program in 2016. The Lemelson Foundation continues to provide financial and programmatic support to the program. Other sponsors include Business Oregon, the Oregon Community Foundation, Stoel Rives, Wells Fare, and Portland State University. Additionally, local businesses in the region provide sponsorship for the InventOR state final competition.

The state of Oregon has a strong entrepreneurial community. In 2010, Corvallis, Oregon, was named the nation’s most innovative city, with 314 patents filed. The city of Portland also outperformed similar-sized cities when it comes to patent activity. Most of the state’s innovative activity, however, is centered on larger corporations. This trend may be due to the fact that most patents in Oregon are filed by multinational companies, which prefer the first-to-file system.

The city is also home to some of the state’s most successful inventors. During the industrial revolution, most patent inventors were blue-collar workers. Today, however, the role of formal STEM training has increased, and metropolitan areas that have a high proportion of STEM-educated workers are notably more likely to produce new patents.

Helen Augusta Blanchard was born in Portland and later went on to patent a number of sewing machine inventions. Her inventions included the zig-zag stitch, the pencil sharpener, and the hat sewing machine. Although she lived outside of Maine for most of her life, she eventually moved back to the state. Today, 95% of all blueberries in the United States come from Maine.

Jerome Lemelson

Jerome Lemelson is a Portland-born inventor whose many patented inventions are now widely used in everyday life. His inventions include a crying doll, a jumping toy dog, a tape-recorder drive, a fax machine, a VCR, and a magnetic fishing game. He is also the inventor of the talking thermometer for blind people. His life has been largely defined by his patents.

After leaving his job as a safety engineer in 1959, Jerome Lemelson became a full-time inventor. He died in 1997, having received more than 550 patents from the U.S. Patent Office. Although he didn’t bring his inventions to market himself, he left that to others. In some ways, his patents amounted to legalized extortion.

His methods were also controversial, as many of his targets had no idea he existed. The Patent Office eventually published his applications about 18 months after he filed them, to cut down on such abusive practices. While his supporters argue that Lemelson was an exceptionally brilliant inventor, his tactics struck many as extortion. In some cases, his actions threatened to shut down production of devices he claimed to be the inventor of. In other instances, his tactics were a means of obtaining lucrative settlements.

Lemelson also owns a gravity flow winery, completed just in time for the 1999 harvest. It has a capacity of 12,000 cases. Lemelson consulted noted winemaker Eric Hamacher, as well as Portland architect Larry Ferar. The building materials used were sustainably harvested. Collins Lumber, a family-owned timber producer in Oregon, supplied the building materials. In addition, Lemelson used oak flooring that was harvested from trees that surround the winery.

The Lemelson Foundation funds entrepreneurship and education initiatives. The goal of the foundation is to foster the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs. The foundation funds projects that have the potential to improve the lives of many people around the world.

John P. Thompson

In the early twentieth century, John P. Thompson was a pioneering figure in the field of mechanical engineering. A former bank cashier, auto mechanic, and laborer, Thompson set out to create a screw that would revolutionize manufacturing. His invention, which he patented, quickly found its way into the auto and rail industries. Thompson eventually transferred his patent rights to Henry Phillips, the director of a local mining company.

In 1977, Rob Nelson, a member of the Portland Mavericks, noticed a bat boy carrying chewing tobacco stuffed with black licorice. He later purchased a DIY bubblegum kit and sold his idea to the Wrigley company, which manufactured the shredded strips of gum. This allowed young children to pretend to be Major League Baseball players without the expense of a baseball glove or equipment.

The city of Portland is home to some of the country’s most influential inventors. The inventions made here have played a major role in the industrial development of the United States. The patents on United Shoe Machinery played a major role in this process and are described without cost to the patentee.

Cornell University

The Cornell University inventors and patents are known worldwide, and the city of Portland is proud to celebrate these contributions. While the school plays on the Andrew Dickson White Football Field, they are also known as “Cornellians.” Founded in 1848, Cornell is now the fifth largest university in the United States, and is one of the most popular places for students to visit in the area. The campus is home to over 1,000 student organizations, from kayaking to full-armor jousting. The Cornell University Mock Trial Association regularly sends teams to national championships, and the University’s traveling Model United Nations team has ranked in the top 20 in the nation.


An engineer from Hillsboro has been granted his 200th patent and has another 67 pending, making the city one of the nation’s top patent producers. Many of his innovations have been made into Intel processors. The state is home to some of the nation’s top tech companies, including Nike and Hewlett-Packard Co.

The technology has been used to improve computer systems, smartphones, and more. As a result, Intel has been awarded a patent for it. This patent covers a technology known as “simultaneous multi-voltage rail voltage regulation messages” and was developed by Hung-Piao Ma, Ram Huggahalli, Xia Zhu, and Fedor G. Pikus. The patent will continue to serve as an important tool in the field of computer communications.

The patented technology can be used by many companies, including Intel. Despite HP’s recent layoffs, it is still central to the company’s printer and other innovations. While this may not seem like much, it is possible to monitor the research that employees are doing. By ensuring the company has the right legal protections, it can ensure that the technology is protected.

As an example, the patents ‘206 and ‘254 cover the use of a protocol engine to process transactions. While the term is used in the claims, both sides argue that this term is too broad and does not reflect the details of how the processors manage transactions.

Intel asserts that a cache access request is identical to a request to access data stored on a local processor. The patent also refers to the method of assessing whether a cache access request is speculatively probed. In ‘409, a cache access request is sent to a non-local cache coherence controller.