Hispanic Heritage and Inventions

National Hispanic Heritage Month, held each year from September 15 - October 15, celebrates Hispanic cultures and heritage and recognizes the many contributions Hispanic Americans have made to this nation.

In conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month, the Department of Commerce's United States Patent and Trademark Office is recognizing some Hispanic Americans whose inventions contributed to the nation's social and economic well-being.

Guillermo González Camarena

Early color tv transmission system

Born in Guadalajara, México, Guillermo González Camarena was granted U.S. Patent 2,296,019 for a "Chromoscopic adapter for television equipment", an early color television transmission system. His invention was used in NASA's Voyager mission in 1979 to take pictures and video of Jupiter.

Miguel Angel Ondetti

Proline derivatives -medicine in shape of heart

Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Miguel Angel Ondetti has been granted more than 100 patents, including U.S. Patent 4,105,776 for "Proline Derivatives and Related Compounds" also known as angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors to treat hypertension. He was also inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2007.

Claudio Castillón Lévano

Neonatal artificial bubble

Born in Perú, Claudio Castillón Lévano was granted U.S. Patent 6,884,211 for a "Neonatal Artificial Bubble" that improves the intensive care of high-risk newborns.

William R. Cumpiano


Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, William R. Cumpiano was granted U.S. Patent 5,333,527 for a "Compression Molded Composite Guitar Soundboard."

Hoyma J. Mazara

Electrical switching apparatus

Born in the Dominican Republic, Hoyma J. Mazara was granted U.S. Patent 7,798,868 for "Electrical Switching Apparatus and Terminal Connector Assembly thereof" and U.S. Patent 7,695,313 for "Electrical Enclosure, and Panel Assembly and Mounting Assembly therefor."

Olga D. González-Sanabria

Alkaline battery

Born in Puerto Rico, Olga D. González-Sanabria was granted U.S. Patent 4,505,998 for "Alkaline Battery Containing a Separator of a Cross-Linked Polymer of Vinyl Alcohol and Unsaturated Carboxylic Acid." González-Sanabria became the highest ranking Hispanic at NASA's Glenn Research Center in 2002.

Graciela V.O. de Cuadros

Hammock overlooking the beach

Born in Ecuador, Graciela V.O. de Cuadros was granted U.S. Patents 4,229,845 and 5,046,203 for a "Collapsible Hammock Support."

Guanglou Cheng, Carlos A. Ramirez, and María Aponte


Born in Puerto Rico, Guanglou Cheng, Carlos A. Ramirez, and María Aponte were granted U.S. Patent 7,427,654 for "Degradable Polymides" for use in medical applications.

Luis Miramontes

Oral contraceptives medicine packet

Born in México, Luis Miramontes was granted U.S. Patent 2,744,122 for progestin norethindrone for use in oral contraceptives.

Julio C. Palmaz

Endoluminal stent

Born in Argentina, Julio C. Palmaz was granted over 40 patents, including his most recent - U.S. Patent 8,728,563 for "Endoluminal Implantable Surfaces, Stents, and Grafts and Method of Making Same." He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2006.

Miguel Forero

Polyolefin yarn for carpet

Born in Colombia, Miguel Forero was granted U.S. Patent 5,336,562 for "Polyolefin Yarns with Good Performance for Rugs and Carpets and Method of Producing the Same" and U.S. Patent 5,556,684 "Manufacturing Process for Synthetic Fiber Carpets Fixed by Fusion at Regular Intervals with Crests or Tufts, without Using Glues or Using Small Amounts of Glues, where Threads Do not Loosen and thus Obtaining the Carpets."

Jesus Maria Sanchez-Pérez

Circulatory system

Born in Spain, Jesus Maria Sanchez-Pérez is a neurosurgeon that was granted U.S. Patent 2,617,944 for "Serial Roentgenography" circulatory system x-rays.

Jacobo G. Maria

Machine for twisting and winding yarn

Born in El Salvador, Jacobo G. Maria was granted U.S. Patent 4,366,935 for a "Device and Process for Spinning or Twisting and Winding Yarn."

Elena Nuñez

Banana chips

Born in Honduras, Elena Nuñez was granted U.S. Patent 4,935,254 for a "Banana Flavoring Process" and three other related patents.

Ellen Ochoa

Optical background

Born in California, Ellen Ochoa was granted U.S. Patent 4,838,644 for "Position, Rotation, and Intensity Invariant Recognizing Method " and two other optical-related patents. Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the shuttle Discovery in 1993.

William Vásquez Ulate

Dracaena plant

Born in Costa Rica, William Vásquez Ulate was granted U.S. Plant Patent PP21,549 for a "Dracaena Plant named 'Lauren.'"

Alejandro Zaffaroni


Born in Uruguay, Alejandro Zaffaroni has been granted over 45 patents to date, including U.S. Patent 3,598,122 "Bandage for Administering Drugs." He was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2012.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff

DNA Molecule

Born in México, Lydia Villa-Komaroff has been granted U.S. Patent 4,565,785 for "Recombinant DNA Molecule" and U.S. Patent 4,411,994 for "Protein Synthesis." She was the third Mexican-American woman to earn a doctorate in the sciences in the U.S.

Fernando Torres

Multiple SIM cards

Born in Nicaragua, Fernando Torres has four patents, including U.S. Patent 8,478,341 for "Automatic Selection of SIM Cards in Mobile Devices."

Alberto P. Herrera and Sebastian A. Vieto

Oranges with dropper bottle

Born in Panamá, Alberto P. Herrera and Sebastian A. Vieto were granted U.S. Patent 4,195,080 for "Insecticidal Use of Orange Juice Essence Oil."

Luis Von Ahn

Catcha To be or not to be

Born in Guatemala City, Dr. Luis Von Ahn was granted U.S. Patent 8,555,353 for "Methods and Apparatuses for Controlling Access to Computer Systems and for Annotating Media Files" - or Captcha for distinguishing human from machine input to prevent spam and automated extraction of data from web sites.

Oscar Marty

Modular forms for casting reinforced concrete buildings

Born in Puerto Rico, Oscar Marty was granted U.S. Patent 7,185,467 for a "Modular system of forms for casting reinforced concrete buildings on site."

Hugo Terán Salguero

Rotary engine

Born in Bolivia, Hugo Terán Salguero was granted U.S. Patent 4,055,156 for a "Rotary Engine."

Luis Alejandro Cavallo Caroca


Born in Chile, Luis Alejandro Cavallo Caroca was granted U.S. Design Patent D582,231 for the "Ornamental Design of a Corkscrew" and also U.S. Design Patent D584,122 for the "Ornamental Design of Scissors."

Jozsef Biró Laszlo

Fountain pen

Born in Hungary and then later he migrated to Argentina, Jozsef Biró Laszlo was granted U.S. Patent 2,258,841 October 14, 1941 for a "Fountain Pen" - the father of the modern ballpoint pen.

Elena T. Medo

Manual breast pump

Born in California, Elena T. Medo has been granted nine U.S. Patents, including U.S. Patent 5,971,952 for a "Breast Pump System Using Wall Vacuum Source."

Humberto Fernandez-Moran Villalobos


The patent drawing showing a diamond scapel

A native of Venezuela, Dr. Humberto Fernandez-Moran Villalobos invented and patented the diamond scalpel. Dr. Villalobos would combine his highly precise scalpel with a microtome into a new device that enabled researchers to cut very thin slices of tissue, minerals or plant matter to be examined under the microscope.