I had a fascinating email from W Brown esq. recently, pointing out that the fairly well-known flapping bird has actually been patented! On August 1st 1928, Vernon B Smith of Chicago, Illinois, was approved as the owner of a “design for a paper bird puzzle”. It’s not totally clear whether the “design” refers to the pattern drawn on the model, or the design of the model itself.

If it’s the latter, there’s quite a few people around the world who have breached this patent and the estate of V Smith will be owed a large fortune! So think next time you fold a flapper, who owns it?

One Response

  1. er… surely if it is a Patent, it has already expired? They normally only last for 20 years, unlike Copyright, which lasts until 70 years after the creator has died in some cases!
    Personally I wish all origami was patented!

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