Jerome "Jerry" Hal Lemelson (July 18, 1923 Staten Island, New York - October 1, 1997), famous for his submarine patents, was a prolific American engineer, inventor and patent holder. In 2004, Lemelson's most famous submarine patent was overturned in a notable court case involving Symbol Technologies and Cognex Corporation, which sought (and received) a ruling that 76 claims under Lemelson's machine vision patents were unenforceable. The ruling was upheld on September 9, 2005 by a three judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit because Lemelson appeared to have delayed the patent issuance intentionally or as the court put it, due to "unreasonably long … delays in prosecution."
Lemelson was an advocate for the rights of independent inventors; he served on a federal advisory committee on patent issues from 1976 to 1979. A series of patent litigations and subsequent licensing negotiations made him a controversial figure, seen as a champion by the community of independent inventors, while criticized by patent attorneys and directors of some of the companies with whom he was involved in litigation.
Visit the Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation at the Smithsonian Instutionsion.