Are you looking for a unique gift idea or an interesting focal point for your home or office décor? Patent art – especially older patents – looks great as framed art, on a t-shirt, or on a tote bag! Inspired by art from United States issued patents, there are several sites on the internet that will turn patent art into gifts, décor, and more.
My fascination with patent art peaked when I worked at an intellectual property law firm. As a lifelong Disney fan, it was appropriate that some of my office décor included framed patents for Mickey Mouse and Disneyland’s Tea Cups.
The framed art in my office were custom pieces that I designed. First, I found a website online and ordered copies of the two patents on parchment paper. Then, I found some related photo images and printed them on photo paper. Next, I planned out the arrangement of the patent art and images and made a simple sketch. To save on some of the framing cost, I opted to purchase two black frames off-the-shelf at Michaels Craft Store. Finally, I had the mat board professionally cut to show the images and to fit the frames. The finished pieces turned out better than I had hoped.
While I chose to take the do-it-yourself approach to creating my office art, there are plenty of places online that will create patent art and other interesting pieces that you can display in your own home or office, turn into wearable art, and/or make great gifts. There are several websites like Etsy and eBay, along with others, that specialize in patent art. Let’s take a look!
A general search on Etsy for “patent art” returned several shops that feature patent art. Some of the finished pieces include framed art, t-shirts, throw pillows, coasters, and coffee mugs. Two shops that caught my eye were Visual Design and Patent Prints.
Another source for patent art items is eBay. A general search for “patent art” yielded many results. If you are not interested in items that are being auctioned, be sure to change the search filter to “Buy It Now” items only. One of the shops, Patent Earth, also has a dedicated website in addition to the shop on eBay. Some of the shops even feature shower curtains and cell phone cases with patent art.
Depending on what type of finished piece you are looking for, there are several websites that offer patent art. Some of them include Fine Art America, Frame a Patent, Patent Artwork, Patent Prints, and Zazzle.
If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that my husband and I have recently purchased a Harley-Davidson and have been going on weekend rides. Harley-Davidson (H-D) has been around since 1903 and is celebrating its 115th anniversary in 2018. I started looking at the Harley-Davidson patent art and found a t-shirt that features one of the H-D patents that I’ve added to my wish list for wearable art.
When I add this t-shirt to my wardrobe, it will be my second patent art t-shirt. A few years ago, I purchased a t-shirt at LEGOLAND that shows the patent for the LEGO brick. It’s a fun addition to my collection of “statement tees” and is a great conversation starter! I found some accessories on Etsy that are made from LEGO bricks and I enjoy wearing them with this LEGO patent shirt.
Fun Fact: The first United States patent for the LEGO brick was issued on October 24, 1961.
In April 1790, President George Washington signed the bill that laid the foundations of the modern United States patent system. The American patent system was unique because for the first time in history the intrinsic right of an inventor to profit from his/her invention was recognized by law. Prior to that, privileges granted to an inventor were dependent upon the prerogative of a monarch or upon a special act of a legislature (source: The Great Idea Finder website). The first U.S. patent was granted to Samuel Hopkins in 1790. In 1802, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) as we know it today was formed. As of 2017, over 9.5 million utility patents have issued in the United States. The USPTO has a Facebook page and regularly features unique patents, including especially creepy ones during the month of October under the hashtag #CreepyIP (intellectual property).
If you’re looking for patent art ideas, you may want to check out this “patent art” board on Pinterest or a topical search on Bing or alternate web browser. Some popular patent art topics or themes include:
What are your thoughts about using patent art for décor and wearable art?
Who are some of the people in your life that would enjoy patent art as a gift?
Looking forward to hearing from you in the comments!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”