Kia Silverbrook

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Kia Silverbrook
Born 1958
Residence Sydney, Australia
Nationality Australian
Occupation Inventor, scientist, businessman

Kia Silverbrook (born 1958) is an Australian inventor, scientist, and serial entrepreneur. He is the most prolific inventor in the world,[1] and has been granted 4,665[2] US utility patents as of 26 March 2014. Internationally, he has 9,874[3] patents or patent applications registered at the international patent document database (INPADOC).[a] Silverbrook has founded companies and developed products in a wide range of disciplines, including computer graphics, video and audio production, scientific computing, factory automation, digital printing, liquid crystal displays (LCDs), molecular electronics, internet software, content management, genetic analysis, MEMS devices, security inks, photovoltaic solar cells, and interactive paper.[4]

Silverbrook has made numerous inventions in the fields of digital music synthesis, digital video, digital printing, digital paper, internet commerce, computer graphics, liquid crystal displays, robotics, 3D printing, organic chemistry, DNA analysis, lab-on-a-chip, solar photovoltaics, software, image processing, microelectromechanical systems, mechanical engineering, cryptography, sensors, nanotechnology, microfluidics, polymers, fault tolerance, parallel processing, semiconductor fabrication, and integrated circuit (chip) architecture.[2][3][5]

Prolific inventor[edit]

Silverbrook became the world's most prolific inventor on 26 February 2008, when he passed Japanese inventor Shunpei Yamazaki.[6] Yamazaki had previously passed Thomas Edison, who had widely been known as the world's most prolific inventor.[7] The top five inventors, ranked by number of worldwide utility patent families, are shown in the following table:

Inventor # of Patent Families Country Ref
Kia Silverbrook 4711  Australia [1][2][8]
Shunpei Yamazaki 4063  Japan [8][9]
Paul Lapstun 1276  Australia [8][10]
Gurtej Sandhu 1170  India [11][12]
Lowell Wood 1094  United States [8]

This table was last updated on 7 July 2015.

Early life[edit]

Silverbrook was born in 1958 in Australia. In 1977 he started at Fairlight Instruments, the developers of the first polyphonic digital sampling synthesizer, the Fairlight CMI. While at Fairlight, he invented and developed the Fairlight CVI, a real-time video effects computer released in 1984.[13] He remained employed by Fairlight Instruments until 1985.

In 1985, Silverbrook founded Integrated Arts, a parallel processing and computer graphics company using the Inmos transputer. Silverbrook was Managing Director (Australian equivalent of US CEO) of Integrated Arts until 1990.

In 1990 an Australian research subsidiary of the Japanese electronics company Canon was formed, named Canon Information Systems Research Australia (CiSRA).[14] Silverbrook was Executive Director of CiSRA from its inception until 1994.


Main article: Netpage

Silverbrook is Founder and CEO of Netpage, a company based on technology originally patented by Silverbrook Research in 1999.[15] Netpage is a software system and infrastructure which makes printed paper interactive. It has multiple manifestations, including digital pens, digital paper, and augmented reality interfaces, such as the Netpage mobile app. The app uses image recognition technology to recognise content on Netpage-enabled printed pages, and then serves up a "digital twin" of the recognized page.[16] The digital twin contains enhanced functionality such as the ability to share the page via social media sites (e.g. Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter), the ability to purchase products, watch embedded videos, follow hyperlinks, translate text, download and attach files, and other functionality.[17]

Any iOS or Android smartphone acts as the mouse, and the printed surface acts as the screen. When in use, the Netpage universal print browser app looks like the smartphone is displaying a camera view of the printed page, but is actually displaying a digital web page (the digital twin) styled to mimic the printed page and rendered in real time. The digital twin can have as many web links and features as required, allowing the printed surface to have identical functionality to that possible on a web page displayed on a touch screen device.

The technology launched in Esquire magazine, which is published by Hearst, in the December 2012 edition as reported by the Wall Street Journal[18] and Mashable.[19] The research project is conducted in Australia by Australian researchers and with Australian funding.


Silverbrook is Founder and Chairman of Australian company Geneasys[20] (Genetic Analysis Systems), which is developing "KeyLab" a new class of medical diagnostic device which analyses multiple diseases from DNA using a standard smartphone. The stated goal of Geneasys is "to equip medical professionals, primary care workers, aid workers, veterinarians, military personnel and private citizens with a simple to use, low cost, and highly accurate diagnostic devices".[21] Geneasys hopes that "through the proliferation of the KeyLab device, the spread of infectious diseases and deaths caused by preventable diseases will be reduced as the scope and reach of healthcare is universally increased". KeyLab is a low cost disposable device that plugs directly into the USB port of a smartphone or personal computer, and simultaneously detects up to 48 infectious or hereditary diseases from the genetic material in a sample. It has 12 channels of independent RNA or DNA amplification, each capable of amplifying 4 DNA or RNA sequences, and has 1080 DNA hybridization probes, sensed by a disposable CMOS image sensor included in the KeyLab. It uses ECL (Electrochemiluminescence) detection to eliminate the need for a laser or other light source, and has SNP (Single-nucleotide polymorphism) level discrimination between DNA sequences, which would allow it to, for example, determine which strain of influenza was present. It is fully self-contained, and requires no sample preparation or reading machine (other than a standard smartphone). It is intended to be sufficiently cheap, reliable and easy to use that it can transform medicine in developing, as well as developed, nations. The research project is conducted in Australia by Australian researchers and with Australian funding.

Silverbrook Research[edit]

In 1994 Silverbrook co-founded Silverbrook Research,[22] an Australian research and development and invention licensing company. He is chairman and CEO of Silverbrook Research, which is the developer of the Memjet[23] printer technology, the Hyperlabel[24] alternative to RFID, and the Netpage[25] viewer and digital pen technologies, among others. Since 2001, Silverbrook Research has appeared in the annual listings of the top 200 global companies, as ranked by US patents, climbing as high as the 28th rank in 2008.

On 16 April 2014 a liquidator was appointed to wind up Worldwide Specialty Property Services Pty Ltd (formerly trading as Silverbrook Research Pty Ltd).

Year Rank U.S. Patents
2001 142 117[26]
2002 145 121[27]
2003 149 122[28]
2004 109 172[29]
2005 71 247[30]
2006 42 510[31]
2007 37 533[32]
2008 28 608[33]
2009 45 474[34]
2010 34 752[35]
2011 31 812[36]

In 2011 Silverbrook Research was assigned 812 US utility patents, more than half of the total of 1,533[37] US utility patents assigned to Australian entities in that year.

Superlattice Solar[edit]

In 2011 Silverbrook founded Superlattice Solar,[20] a thin-film solar photovoltaic company targeting an installed cost-per-watt, including balance of systems, sufficiently low for new solar photovoltaic installations to undercut the cost of keeping existing fossil fuel or nuclear power plants operating.


Main article: Memjet

In 2002 Silverbrook co-founded Memjet,[23] a printer technology company. Prototype printers were demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2011),[38] and announced by such major companies as LG, Fuji Xerox, Canon, Toshiba, Lenovo, Océ and Medion. The Memjet technology has won various awards, including Popular Science's "Best of what's new - 2011" and the Edison Awards 2012 Gold Medal.[39][40]

In March 2012, the George Kaiser Family Foundation (principal investor in Memjet) filed a lawsuit against Silverbrook and Silverbrook Research, alleging fraud and seeking to gain control of the Memjet patent portfolio, numbering over 4,000 patents.[41] Silverbrook's response to the lawsuit characterized it as "part of a hardball commercial negotiation".[42] In May 2012, a settlement was announced under which Memjet acquired control of the technology and Silverbrook remained a special advisor to Memjet. All legal claims were withdrawn.[43]

International patents[edit]

A search of the international patent document database (INPADOC) reveals 9,874[3] patent documents. The INPADOC database includes patent applications that have not yet been granted, as well as some duplication of patents for different countries, so it gives an overestimate of the number of separate inventions.

Scientific publications[edit]

Silverbrook is co-author of a number of papers in the Journal of Chemical Physics, Chemical Physics Letters, and the Journal of Physical Chemistry B. These papers are in the area of carbon nanotubes and the electronic properties of molecular systems.

Media coverage[edit]

  • On 13 December 2005 USA Today published a list of "the top 10 living U.S. patent holders".[44] At the time, Silverbrook was ranked third, with 801 U.S. patents.
  • On 15 October 2007 Condé Nast Portfolio Magazine published an article about "the world's most prolific inventors alive".[45] At the time, Silverbrook was ranked second, with 1646 U.S. patents.
  • On 7 January 2011 The Washington Times published an article titled: "Inkjet, laser, Memjet? Fast color printers on tap".[46] This article discusses the announcement of Memjet printers for the office market at CES 2011.
  • On 10 January 2011 IFI Claims published an article: "Top Global Companies Ranked By 2010 U.S. Patents".[47] This article ranked Silverbrook Research at number 34 in U.S. patents for 2010, amongst all global companies.
  • On 6 May 2011, Business Insider published an article titled: "The Ten Greatest Inventors In The Modern Era".[8] At the time, Silverbrook was ranked first, with 3847 U.S. utility patents.
  • On 9 June 2011 PC Magazine published an article titled: "The Best Inventions of 2011 ... So Far".[48] One of Silverbrook's inventions ("Point and Print", US 7878646 ) is one of ten listed inventions.
  • has published a list of the top ten inventors for every week, month, and year since 2007. Silverbrook is listed first for each year.[49][50][51][52][53][54]
  • Silverbrook was invited by Singapore's A*Star to speak as the 5th Distinguished Technopreneur Speaker (DTS) on September 2012 [4][55]


  1. ^ Difference between numbers of US patents and INPADOC patents is often related to the same invention being patented in several countries, see also patent families

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kia Silverbrook Accumulates his 4,573rd patent on 6 February 2013 Patent Rank, 29 April 2013
  2. ^ a b c Issued US Utility Patents of Kia Silverbrook
  3. ^ a b c Kia Silverbrook Patents registered at INPADOC
  4. ^ a b Meet Kia Silverbrook, one of the most prolific inventors in history, on "The Essence of Disruptive Technologies" SGE, 27 August 2012
  5. ^ US Patent Applications of Kia Silverbrook
  6. ^ The True Inventor Basson-Booyens website
  7. ^ Thomas Alva Edison Biography at Rutgers University
  8. ^ a b c d e The Ten Greatest Inventors In The Modern Era Business Insider, 6 May 2011
  9. ^ USPTO Utility Patent Search for Shunpei/Shumpei Yamazaki
  10. ^ USPTO Utility Patent Search for Paul Lapstun
  11. ^ USPTO Utility Patent Search for Gurtej Sandhu
  12. ^ Worldwide Patent Search for Gurtej Sandhu
  13. ^ 1984 Billboard magazine article on Fairlight CVI
  14. ^ CiSRA web site
  15. ^ Silverbrook's US patents relating to Netpage
  16. ^ Hagey, Keach. "Esquire To Make Print Magazine Interactive Through Netpage App". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  17. ^ Ward, David. "Netpage's Digital Twin could be a boost for printed magazines". PrintWeek. Retrieved 8 January 2013. 
  18. ^ Netpage video interview on WSJ Live
  19. ^ Netpage article on Mashable
  20. ^ a b Silverbrook's LinkedIn profile
  21. ^ Stated goal of Geneasys
  22. ^ Silverbrook Research web site
  23. ^ a b Memjet web site
  24. ^ Hyperlabel web site
  25. ^ Netpage web site
  26. ^ Top 300 Organizations Receiving U.S. Patents in 2001
  27. ^ Top 300 Organizations Receiving U.S. Patents in 2002
  28. ^ 2003 Top Patent Owners
  29. ^ 2004 Top Patent Owners
  30. ^ Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2005
  31. ^ Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2006
  32. ^ Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2007
  33. ^ Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2008
  34. ^ Top 300 Organizations Granted U.S. Patents in 2009
  35. ^ Top Global Companies Ranked By 2010 U.S. Patents
  36. ^ IFI CLAIMS® 2011 Top 50 US Patent Assignees
  37. ^ US Utility Patents assigned to Australian entities in 2011
  38. ^ Memjet: ink-on with the world's fastest printer Engadget 6 January 2011
  39. ^ Memjet website awards page
  40. ^ 2012 Edison Awards
  41. ^ Genius Or Scoundrel - Patently, Someone Is Wrong Sydney Morning Herald, 16 April 2012
  42. ^ "Silverbrook statement cites poor commercialization of Memjet technology in Kaiser lawsuit", Wirth Consulting, 20 April 2012]
  43. ^ Luke Hopewell, "Printing deal secures 300 research jobs", ZDNet, 7 May 2012.
  44. ^ You really can find identities of top patent holders USA Today, 13 December 2005
  45. ^ Masters of invention Portfolio, 15 October 2007
  46. ^ Inkjet, laser, Memjet? Fast color printers on tap The Washington Times, 7 January 2011
  47. ^ IFI CLAIMS Announces Top Global Companies Ranked By 2010 U.S. Patents IFI Claims Patent Services, 10 January 2011
  48. ^ The Best Inventions of 2011 ... So Far PC Magazine, 9 June 2011
  49. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2007 website
  50. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2008 website
  51. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2009 website
  52. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2010 website
  53. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2011 website
  54. ^ List of the top ten US patent grantees for 2012 website
  55. ^ 'Economies, scale' key traits of disruptive tech ZDNET, 13 September 2012

External links[edit]