Intellectual Property Attorney

Gideon Sunback – Inventor of the Zipper – Celebrated Today on Google Doodle.

Today would have been the birthday of Gideon Sunback, the Swedish American engineer who received a patent in 1917 for an invention he called a “Separable Fastener”:

Sunback’s invention later became better known by the name “Zipper” – a term coined by B.F. Goodrich when it began using Sunback’s “Separable Fastener” in connection with its boots and galoshes in 1923.

At the time, Goodrich successfully registered “Zipper” as a trademark, but its efforts to try to stop others from using the name in connection with Sunback’s invention came “unzipped” on the grounds that the term was a generic name derived from the word “zip.”

While Goodrich was quick to see the benefits of the Zipper, several decades passed before the garment industry embraced the Zipper as a clothing fastener.

Goodrich maintained trademark rights in connection with the “ZIPPER” mark for “CONVEYOR OR TRANSMISSION BELTING COMPOSED CHIEFLY OF FABRIC AND/OR NATURAL RUBBER OR SYNTHETIC COMPOUNDS HAVING THE CHARACTERISTICS OF RUBBER” until 1986, when it gave up its registration (U.S. Reg. No. 399503, Issued January 12, 1943).

Gideon Sunback died in 1954.

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