Father of Patents: How Carl Bedingfield embraced the spirit of constant innovation

April 2, 2019

606 words 5 mins

For a man with over 150 granted U.S. patents under his belt, you’d have a hard time getting Carl Bedingfield to pick his favorite. “It’s like you have 100 children. You like them all.”

Carl is an engineer at the AT&T Foundry in Atlanta, a space dedicated to prototyping new and innovative technologies. But his patented tenure doesn’t start there. Throughout his 30 years at AT&T, Carl hasn’t stopped filing patents. That’s thanks, in part, to AT&T’s rich history of innovation.

AT&T Intellectual Property is one of the world’s largest intellectual property operations, supporting a heritage of innovation that dates back more than a century, all the way to Alexander Graham Bell. In fact, we receive an average of more than 5 patents per business day, and AT&T consistently ranks among the top 30 companies obtaining new U.S. patents.

That said, unique ideas don’t always translate into patent-worthy innovations. While the qualifying criteria may appear subjective, a patent idea or design must meet three specific criteria:

New patents also don’t happen overnight. The evaluation process can take 3-4 years. But that hasn’t slowed Carl down. A few of his most notable patents include:

And despite his love for all of his patents, there is one that holds a special place in his heart – he calls it the “Mom Patent.”

Like many in the pre-email era, Carl’s mother was an avid believer in voicemail, but rarely checked her email. So Carl developed his “Mom Patent” system, which works by sending automated voicemail alerts to users’ phones whenever a new email hits their inbox. Not only did this solution help his mother – and others like her – stay savvy with the latest and greatest in tech, it also ensured she was finally getting his email messages loud and clear. Literally.

Hear more about Carl’s history of patent innovation in the video above.

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