For a magician, protecting yourventions is no easy task. In a small secret fellowship, magic tricks andventions are created, improved upon, and similar thinking pops up too. In addition to those difficulties, the magician inventor faces some serious questions:
Will they even have the money to sue?
Is the magician really protected even if they patent their invention?
Is it worth patenting a creation only to share that with the patent office and others who may find it?
Most magicians choose not to patent their creativeventions. This would make sense since most of them are small time operators and not making licenses off of theseventions. However, there are exceptions.
Some magicians, like Howard Thurston, decided to patent a good amount of his creative inventions. David Copperfield and Doug Henning, however, did not.
Mark Wilson (if you remember him from Magic Circus TV specials in the 1970's or Magic Land of Allakazam from the 1960's) did patent a few. Houdini has patents too, but not for magic – for toys!
Some states and situations make it more valuable and logical to seek a magic patent. For example, magic props that are technical in nature and require unique construction can be patented to avoid others from manufacturing and selling the exact same trick for less money or as a competitor when they did not originate the idea.
For magic that involves secret knowledge only, the magic patent becomes more difficult to protect and use when it comes time to be tested in court. For these reasons, for the most part, magic tricks are not patented unless they are a magic set or game.
What is interesting to me are the really old patents from the 1800's. They take a lot of research to compile, but it is a fascinating looking into the magic thinking back then. Of course, the other neat thing is the way they write and the fact that every person in every illustration has a mustache and some have hats. That still brings a chuckle as I explore these.
Probably my favorite magic patents include Howard Thurston's classic magic illusions and his thoughtful contributions to the theater special effects. He even donated a patent on ship construction meant to avoid what happened to the Titanic. He was moved by the disaster to create a solution to that type of situation on the seas!
Modern magicians patent their magic too. This is especially valuable for higher priced items or items manufactured by larger companies where they market tricks to a broader audience. Magic patents make fascinating reading for magicians – both the older ones from a historical perspective, as well as the newer ones, from a practical perspective. For me, it's like opening a secret vault!
Magic has kept me fascinated for years and I have been doing magic since I was seven. Discovering magical patents is one more area of exploration that every magician should try. In fact, I offer you a FREE magic patent from the 1800's as a reader of this article! It's from 1890 and is a beheading illusion (magic reflects the times for sure in this case).
To get your free patent and read about my magic patent collection, please visit www.magicpatentbook.com . Enjoy!