I ate my wafer...


Patent Law Historical Note:

Some nameless patent attorney unknowingly prevented nerve gas usage in the second world war. Or at least helped.

The standard high school history version of events credits Hitler's personal experience with poison gas as the deciding factor in his decision not to use Germany's Sarin/GA stockpile against the allies. This is not completely untrue, but Hitler was likely concerned only about allied reprisals, not the suffering of allied troops. In other words, if he thought he could have gotten away with it, he would have tried it.

I.G. Farben chemists developed the first nerve gases, known as G-series gases in the 1930's in a search for improved pesticides. As THE chemical company of the day, I.G. Farben obviously wanted to protect their potential new pesticide from the likes of duPont, and hired some nameless (since pre 1976 patents are only searchable by # and class) American attorney to patent the nerve agents SA (talbun) and SB (Sarin) in the late 1930's.

Since the chemical compounds had published U.S. patents, I.G. Farben assumed that they were common knowledge in the field...which lead to Hitler himself thinking that the U.S. had nerve agents. In reality, none of the allies developed G-Series nerve agents until after the war.

So, some random patent attorney, in 1937 or 1938, saved thousands of lives by filing all of the paperwork for a patent on time.


Post a Comment

<< Home