Today In History: Inventions, Patents and Copyrights

Things You Take for Granted All Have Their Day of Fame

Find out what famous patents, trademarks or copyrights happened on any given day in history. Choose a calendar month below and then select a day to discover interesting trivia, which might come in handy if you play Trivial Pursuit, which Americans have been playing since 1981.

Famous Events

You might think the history of business, like getting copyrights, patents and trademarks, is, well, like watching paint dry.

But you'd be surprised how many household names and things you are very familiar with can be found in this list.

In January there's Willy Wonka (1972), the Whopper burger (1965), Campbell's Soup (1906), Coca-Cola (1893) and "My Fair Lady" (1957).  March boasts the hula-hoop (1963), aspirin (1899), the movie "To Kill a Mockingbird" (1963) and maybe the granddaddy of them all, the telephone (1876). April has skates (1869), and May is a huge month, with patents for the first lawn mower (1831) and the helicopter (1943), and the first Barbie doll (1958) was registered as a trademark.

In June, the name New York Rangers (1969) was registered, and what would going to the movies be without Good and Plenty licorice (1928). The first two video games ever were copyrighted in June 1980. July saw the copyright of the name for that fun stuff known as Silly Putty (1952), the bane to all moms, and in July 1988, Bugs Bunny finally officially owned the phrase, "What's Up, Doc?"  In August 1941, the first Jeep ever rolled off the assembly line, and what would World War II have been without that?

In another car connection, the Ford trademark was registered in August 1909.  In August 1968, one of the greatest rock songs of all time, the Beatles' "Hey Jude," was copyrighted. What a month.

September was pretty quiet, except for one thing: The first book ever was published in 1452, the Guttenberg Bible.

October has some pretty big stuff: The Singer sewing machine was patented in 1855, the Pizza Hut name was registered as a trademark (1991), and "Happy Birthday to You," the song that marks everyone's annual passage around the sun, was copyrighted in 1893. Kermit the Frog celebrates his (copyrighted) birthday on Nov. 2, 1955; the first Schick razor was patented in November 1928; and Trivial Pursuit was born in November 1981. December can brag about Scrabble (1948), Chiclets gum (around 1900) and Volkswagen (1955).

Happenings, Month by Month