FACT CHECK: Did Bill Gates Patent A ‘CV19-N95’ Face Mask Design Years Before The COVID-19 Pandemic?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims a man named Christopher Harrington was denied a patent in 2015 for a face mask design with the serial number CV19-N95 because Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates had filed a similar patent six months earlier.

Verdict: False

Neither Gates nor Harrington filed a patent for a face mask under the Obama administration. The image derives from a satirical meme.

Fact Check:

The image being shared purports Gates filed a patent for a face mask design with a serial number related to COVID-19 in 2015, preventing Harrington from successfully filing a similar patent that same year. Below the text, there is a photo of a man dressed in a business suit who is presumably Harrington.

“In 2015, under the Obama Administration, Christopher Harrington attempted to file a patent for a new design of a face mask with a serial number CV19-N95,” the image states. “Do those numbers look familiar to you?”

The text in the image seemingly draws a connection between the alleged serial number, CV19-N95, and names that have been associated with the coronavirus pandemic: COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and N95, a type of protective mask worn by health care workers and first responders.

“The patent was denied because a similar one had been filed 6 months prior, by who??,” the post continues. “You guessed it, Bill Gates. We are being controlled, people. Was this planned years ago?”

Contrary to the post’s claim, no such patent exists in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) patent database under Gates‘ name or Harrington’s. The supposed serial number does not meet the requirements for a USPTO patent application, per the USPTO’s guidelines. Gates does not appear to hold any patents for mask designs.

The new coronavirus first emerged in late 2019, roughly four years after Harrington and Gates supposedly filed the patent application. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Bill Gates And Anthony Fauci Violating Social Distancing Guidelines)

Harrington appears to be a fabricated character, further adding to the post’s dubiousness. His name bears a close resemblance to popular “Game of Thrones” actor Kit Harington, whose given name is actually Christopher, though the image misspells the actor’s surname.

Through a reverse image search, the Daily Caller found a nearly identical meme on the popular meme-sharing website iFunny with additional text, in which someone named Brett Lofgreen takes credit for the entire story, characterizing it as “completely fake.”

“I made this whole thing up,” the text states. “That’s a stock photo I found when I googled old man in suit. Also, Christopher Harrington is the real name of the guy who played Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. Get it together people. Memes aren’t news sources.”

A reverse image search revealed that the photo in question is, in fact, a stock image of a businessman.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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