Earlier this week, we heard of the passing of world-famous guitarist Eddie van Halen, lead singer and guitarist of the American rock band Van Halen.
Eddie was considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time and is known for popularising the tapping-guitar solo technique. This technique allowed Eddie to play rapid arpeggios with two hands on the fretboard of his guitar.
However, did you know that his passion for music also made him an inventor? In order to refine his tapping technique, Eddie invented and filed US Patent No. 4,656,917 for a supporting device for stringed musical instruments. The patent was granted in 1987 and was upheld throughout its lifetime.
In the patent, the supporting device was described as “providing total freedom for the musician’s hands to play the instrument in a completely new way, thus allowing the musician to create new techniques and sounds previously unknown to any musician”.
This sounds like the perfect product for any aspiring guitarist wanting to improve their game. However, has any one of you actually seen this product in use? We thought as much, and neither have we. So why didn’t Eddie Van Halen use his exclusive right to sell his product? Maybe the strategic value of the patent for Eddie van Halen was to keep his guitar playing skills to himself.
How do you use your intellectual property rights?