I thought we were finished with Greg Fischer’s invention fallacy. Guess not.
Let’s a take a trip down memory lane, wherein we’ll remember that Greg once called himself the inventor of an ice and beverage machine. We’ll learn all about how he actually wasn’t the inventor and how he changes tune over the years. And how, maybe, the entire mess is just an embarrassment.
- Greg Fischer And That Fancy Ice Machine [March 30, 2010]
- More On Fischer “Inventing” An Ice Machine [April 9, 2010]
- Greg Fischer And The Ice Machine Invention [April 26, 2010]
- Definitive End To The Ice Machine & Award Stories? [April 26, 2010]
- Greg Fischer’s New Jobs “Plan” Released [August 31, 2010]
Just a couple weeks ago, Greg decided it was best to revive this ridiculous issue for the general election:
- Greg Fischer’s Got A New Ice Machine Ad [October 6, 2010]
And last week he released this ad, again claiming to be the inventor (with a friend) of the ice and beverage dispenser:
I believe Greg Fischer is exaggerating his accomplishment of co-inventing an ice and beverage machine. I also believe he was potentially less than honest when filing a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. He claimed he invented the ice and beverage machines you see in convenience stores today. As I’ve pointed out, he used to claim he invented the machines – but all of those videos and claims have mysteriously vanished from his campaign website and YouTube account. (There are videos on my accounts, however, backing this up.) His new ad, as you saw above, now claims that he’s a co-inventor.
If you’re interested in the truth at all, I think you’ll want to read the rest of this story after the jump…
In the ad, Fischer claims to have invented “this” – an ice and beverage dispenser. Reality is, however, that ice and beverage dispensers existed long before Greg Fischer was born. The device he’s pointing to is a machine that contains multiple inventions and multiple patented devices.
As I have reported in the past – here on The ‘Ville Voice and on Page One – the device does have a patent. U.S. Patent No. 4,641,763, which was filed on May 18, 1984. Greg Fischer was 26.4 years of age at that time, not 25 as he claims in the television spot. The patent was officially issued on February 10, 1987 and was titled “Ice and Beverage Dispensing Apparatus and Method with Dual Purpose Line.” Since ice and beverage dispensers existed long before, it seems the patent is actually just for a “dual purpose line.” Fischer’s company, SerVend, actually later referred to it simply as a “bin liner.” You may review the patent yourself.
Fischer didn’t actually invent the machine. His company only owned one patent for one device in the machine for which his name appeared. You can verify it yourself by examining one of the actual machines. In order to maintain patent protection, inventions have to be marked. And on Fischer’s devices are labels listing all patented inventions contained therein.
What, exactly, was it that Fischer co-invented? A plate with holes in it. And as I’ve reported previously, that device was actually invented by Jerry Landers, Fischer was listed as the secondary. Take a look at the patent’s cover page. It’s assigned to/owned by SerVend International of Jeffersonville, Indiana. Later sold it to The Manitowok Company of Wisconsin more than ten years ago. Prior to the plate with holes in it, Jerry Landers obtained another patent (No. 4,512,502, filed on March 30, 1982, also assigned to SerVend International).
At the time, Fischer was just 24 years, 2.5 months. Meaning if Fischer actually founded the company (daddy bought it for him), as he claims, he would have been 24. Not 25. On his campaign website he says he graduated from Vanderbilt in 1980 and spent the following year in Europe. Meaning he couldn’t have started work for SerVend any earlier than June 1981. Between June 1981 and the patent application’s filing on March 30, 1982 – a span of nine months – Greg founded the company and “invented” a machine.
So I think it’s a total exaggeration for Fischer to claim to be the inventor/co-inventor.
Look at the patent. Figures 3 and 5. See the curved plate with holes in it? Numbered as Item 70. A curved plate with holes actually existed previously. The patent was merely for a plate with a different number of holes. One had 14 holes and the new one had three.
Here’s one machine from SerVend International in Sellersberg, IN, lacking Patent No. 4,641,763:
Here’s another label from SerVend in Louisville, KY containing that patent:
As you can see, it’s for a device containing a plate with 14 holes:
They invented a plate with a different number of holes in it. Fischer and Landers told the Patent Office that. And Fischer is now telling the public he and a friend co-invented the ice and beverage dispenser. After, of course, initially claiming to have been the inventor. Keep in mind that the Patent Office depends on inventors to tell the truth.
Since then, Landers has obtained a number of patents for improvement on the device and other dispensing equipment. He’s got a 35 year career bringing innovation to the ice and beverage industry. And we’re supposed to believe he couldn’t create something with a different number of holes in it without Greg’s help – right after returning from Europe.
I don’t see how Fischer can claim to have invented the ice and beverage dispenser. No way, no how. The facts just don’t back that up. For him to claim such is not based in reality.
And the device he has co-inventor rights to? It’s merely an improvement on an already existent device. A metal plate with a different number of holes in it.