Can I put my pencils on the market? I want to know if i'm able to put my pencils on the market for sale without getting in trouble legally. Are there patents on the original pencils with erasers...

Can I put my pencils on the market?

I want to know if i'm able to put my pencils on the market for sale without getting in trouble legally. Are there patents on the original pencils with erasers attached?

Expert Answers
santari eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't think you would have any legal issue to worry about.  The Constitution only secures legal protections on patents for a limited time, currently 20 years.

The idea of attaching an eraser to a pencil is traced to Hyman W. Lipman, an American whose 1858 U.S. patent was bought by Joseph Rechendorfer in 1872 for a reported $100,000.  That patent would have expired long ago.

You would want to make sure, however, that any logo or design that you place on the pencils do not infringe any other pencil makers copyrights.  A patent covers inventions and discoveries, but copyright law covers original works of authorship, which can include things like a logo placed on a pencil.

As an aside, the pencil is a fascinating invention. My research on eNotes traces it all the way back to pre-historic times when chalky rocks and charred sticks were used to draw on surfaces as varied as animal hides and cave walls.

Good luck!

alexb2 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

According to the source below, someone tried to patent a pencil with an eraser (actually inside the pencil) and was successful-- however the pencil maker Faber took the patent all the way to the Supreme Court and won.

This all happened way back in the 1850's, so it seems safe that pencils with erasers are not patented. If your pencil has some sort of other specific innovation besides the basic pencil design, you would have to look into specific pencil-related patents.