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R. William Wray & Associates provides comprehensive services for inventors, companies, and legal associates on all aspects of intellectual property.

Young Inventors Club in Ottawa

R. William Wray & Associates is proud of its past innovators and always tries to support the emerging ones. Our Young Inventors Club in Ottawa tries to inspire young and creative minds to explore their potential. We are actively involved in the community and have made presentations on intellectual property for local schools, inventors’ workshops, and through local media.

Canadian Inventors

Canada has had its fair share of inventors and discoverers. You may have heard of Dr. James A. Naismith of Almonte, who was at the International YMCA Training School at Springfield, Massachusetts, when he was asked to create an indoor winter training game with no body contact. Using peach baskets hung up at each end of the gymnasium, he came up with a team game relying upon skill but not strength - basketball.

Bell’s Telephone

While in Canada in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell developed his “speaking telegraphs” or, as they are called now, telephones. He was one of several men who were working on the same idea.

Nobel Prize

Many Canadians have won the Nobel Prize since they were begun in 1900 by Alfred Nobel to honour those who have enriched human life in the fields of chemistry, physics, medicine, literature, economics, and peace. Recent winners since 1985 have included John Polanyi, Sydney Altman, Rudolph Marcus, and Michael Smith for chemistry; and Richard Taylor and Bertram Brockhouse for physics. In 1999, the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel was awarded to Robert A. Mundell for his analysis of monetary and fiscal policy under different exchange rate regimes and his analysis of optimum currency areas.

Be the Inventor

In most cases the inventions that you see every day came about because someone was faced with a problem and said to himself, “There must be a better way to do this!” They then went about trying to come up with a solution.

Grocery Carts

Next time you go shopping for groceries, give some thought to the simple grocery cart. Did you know that there were no grocery carts until around 1925 when a man by the name of Goldman introduced them? Prior to that time, shoppers used their own baskets to pick up a few items from their neighbourhood store. Obviously, they needed to make many trips during the week to pick up all the food for their family. Mr. Goldman thought that there must be a way for people to buy more groceries at a time, and in turn, spend more money in the store. Hence, the simple grocery cart, a large wire basket in a frame on wheels, was born.

Test Your Knowledge

Famous Canadian Inventors

Can you name the Canadians who invented or discovered the following?

  1. Insulin
  2. Marquis Wheat
  3. The IXAX Projector
  4. Trivial Pursuit
  5. Puzz-3D

Inventions and Discoveries

What did the following Canadians invent or discover?

  1. Tim Collings
  2. Peter L. Robertson
  3. John McIntosh
  4. Charles Coll
  5. Joseph-Armand Bombardier
  6. Wallace Turnbull


Famous Canadian Inventors

  1. Frederick Banting, Charles Best and James Collip
  2. Sir Charles Saunders
  3. Grahame Ferguson, Roman Kroiter and Robert Kerr
  4. Chris Haney and Scott Abbott
  5. Paul Gallant

Inventions and Discoveries

  1. V-chip
  2. Robertsons screwdriver with a square-shaped protrusion
  3. McIntosh red apple
  4. Muskol
  5. Snowmobile
  6. Variable pitch propeller

Added Improvements

But that's not the end of the story. No one used the carts because it was such a great change from what they had always done. This was until Mr. Goldman hired some actors to pretend to be shoppers and they went up and down the aisles showing what a great idea this was. The grocery cart has come a long way. There are now carts of different sizes and with different sized baskets. Some carts have a divider within the basket to keep items separate. Others have two tiers of wire shelves for the same purpose. And of course, there is usually a bottom rung to put your case of pop.

New Solutions

Most carts have a seat for a child near the handle bar. Some also include seat belts. Still others have a car seat attached to the cart for very small infants. But they are still not perfect. What problems do grocery carts still have? Can you come up with a solution?

Name the Brand

We are surrounded by trademarks, but what are they and what do they do? Trademarks can be a word - like Kodak™ or Pokémon. Or a series of words, like "Bet you can't eat just one!" or "Just Do It!" Trademarks can be a design, like the Tommy Hilfiger flag or McDonald's famous golden arches. Or some combination, like the words "Snap! Crackle! Pop!" with the drawing of the three characters and a bowl full of Rice Krispies® cereal.

Genuine Products

What they all have in common is that they are used by a person or a company to distinguish their products or services from those of others. This means that when you buy a pair of running shoes having a Nike trademark on them, you know that they are genuine shoes from Nike Inc., not imitations.

Millennium Trademark

When the new millennium began in 2000, it was big news. Many companies attempted to tie their product to this event by registering the word “millennium” for their products. For example, the Eveready Battery Company, Inc. registered it for batteries, while Rand McNally & Company registered it for maps. Meanwhile General Mills used the phrase "Cereal of the Millennium" on its boxes of Cheerios.

If you want to make a presentation for your group, you can give us your details using the e-form here.

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