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October 11, 2001
#01-44

Contact:
Brigid Quinn
703-305-8341
brigid.quinn@uspto.gov

Press Release, 01-44

Kodak Film Patent Issued October 14, 1884

First Commercial Film Made “Snap Shot” Possible

George Eastman, who was born in Waterville, N.Y., received patent #306,594 on October 14, 1884 for photographic film. Eastman’s invention revolutionized photography by using coated paper and rollers, rather than heavy glass dry plates, to reproduce images. Eastman began looking for ways to “make the camera as convenient as the pencil,” after amassing the heavy, complicated, and expensive equipment he needed to keep a picture record of his vacation. This invention allowed him to mass produce a small hand-held box camera filled with rolls of film with 100 exposures. Millions of Americans recorded the first snap shots of their everyday lives using the Kodak camera, which was introduced in 1888. In 1977, George Eastman was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

In addition to an inventive spirit, Eastman also had a strong belief in the power of advertising. He first registered “KODAK®,” a term he created, as a trademark in 1888. Today the word “Kodak,” and the Eastman Kodak Company’s distinctive yellow trade dress, are well-known around the world.

Eastman’s patent and many of the Eastman Kodak trademarks, as well as the more than 6 million patents issued since the first in 1790 and the 2.3 million trademarks registered since 1870, can be seen on the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office website at www.uspto.gov.

Last year USPTO issued 182,223 patents and registered 127,794 trademarks.

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