This year, on the 30th anniversary of the Post-it Notes invention, publishers are now courting its original inventor to tell the real story of how this little item has become an indispensable part of modern society.
Going back to the year 1974, inventor Alan Amron was selling and giving away samples of his newest creation at a trade show held at the Americana Hotel in New York City. Amron called this item “Press-on Memos,” the same sticky notes the world has since come to know as “Post-it Notes”. The world has been told this is a product straight from the innovative minds of the 3M company; it says so in their television ads. “Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth,” says Amron.
Amron says 3M executives were impressed with his sticky notes product when they saw it. He had worked out the technical details, including, but not limited to, the formulation of the rubber cement — both adhesive enough to stick, but not so adhesive as to leave a mess. Amron gave 3M executives samples and documentation of his Press-on Memos. They gave him their business cards and told him he would soon be contacted. No such contact was made, so he called them. He was then told that after careful review, the creative 3M engineers felt the product could not be made without gumming up the machinery and that it would be too expensive. Amron thought the deal with 3M was dead in the water.
But apparently, as Amron observed, 3M was more impressed than they let on or “some extra creativity was infused upon the already creative minds at 3M in the intervening years. 3M employed their ingenuity and corporate might to not only solve the formerly-insurmountable technical and cost problems, but also to claim the product was their own.”
All this has been laid out in court documentation, Amron vs 3M entire original Federal complaint click here:
Federal Case Index #97-CV-7281-TCP/MLO, Amron vs. 3M, Minn, Mining. But because Amron was just one man with very limited resources up against a corporate giant, Amron ended up settling out of court for a fraction of what Post-it Notes have made 3M to this date.
Amron has since invented numerous products and he feels the time has come to set the record straight for his invention “that almost every civilized person on the planet has used to make life a little more convenient.”
Closer examination of the settlement reveals that Amron is free to claim that he invented “Press-on Memos”, and he is also free to license or manufacture his invention as he made it 37 years earlier, though he is not entitled to any of the money 3M has made from “Post-it Notes.”
There is nothing in writing preventing 3M from claiming they invented Post-it Notes, so 3M continues to publicly claim they invented Amron’s invention. This is what Amron finds disturbing. “Life continues as normal for 3M, and they continue to be the mythological company of innovation they portray on television and glossy ads, and saying it often enough makes it true in the eyes of an information-overloaded culture.”
So now the 62-year-old New York inventor is coming out as the “original inventor” of press on sticky memo. “Turns out, this corporate giant can’t legally prevent me from telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” And, apparently, publishing companies are finding Amron’s truth compelling. The interest he’s generating has publishers courting him. He hopes one day to see his story in book form, where it will trump what he calls “the great 3M marketing fiction.”