Cathy Hettinger, who has been prominently featured in recent media stories as the supposed inventor of fidget spinners, actually applied for a patent that likely wouldn’t cover the incredibly popular toys, a Bloomberg News investigation revealed on Thursday.
Hettinger claimed in recent interviews that she had been inspired to invent a toy to give Palestinian children something to do besides throw rocks at Israeli soldiers, and that she allowed her patent to expire after major toy companies passed on buying her idea from her. But patent experts interviewed by Bloomberg said that the currently-popular toys rely on a different moving mechanism than her patent.
“In reading it, it doesn’t appear to cover the products that people are selling now,” intellectual property lawyer Jeffrey Blake told Bloomberg. Hettinger seemed to agree: “Let’s just say that I’m claimed to be the inventor,” she told Bloomberg. “You know, ‘Wikipedia claims,’ or something like that.”
Bloomberg added that it’s unclear whether any person or group owns a patent on the fidget spinner.
Nonetheless, Hettinger has created a Kickstarter page to raise money to manufacture spinners of her own.