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Essential New Year’s Eve Innovations


Written by:
Gene Quinn (left) Patent Attorney & Founder, IPWatchdog
Angel Krippner (right), Executive Assistant, IPWatchdog
Posted: December 31, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

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Every year we all gather around and celebrate the new year. So that got us to thinking — what patents are there for devices that any self respecting raucous reveler ought to have on New Years Eve? As you might imagine, we found a few that seem appropriate to the occasion, proving that patented innovations are not only fun but they are everywhere!

Here is hoping that your night is safe and magical! Happy new year! See you in 2013!


Safety champagne cork

US Patent No. 4,474,302

October 2, 1984

This invention is a molded tethered safety closure device for use on bottles containing pressurized liquids such as champagne or sparkling wines comprising a cork or closure element and a retainer collar joined by an intercoupling section.

The problem this invention is intending to solve is explained in the patent: “The problem of premature or inadvertent explosive release of champagne corks is exacerbated by the fact that many lower priced champagnes and sparkling wines are closed by molded plastic corks.” You have to hate those problematic premature, inadvertent explosive releases!  Particularly on a festive occasion like New Years Eve!

In any event, the Background further explains: “Such plastic corks possess an even greater tendency than natural corks to become dislodged as a result of internal pressure in the bottle.”

There is an intercoupling section that is comprised of a tabbed tear strip and a tether strip that are integrally formed in a helical configuration extending in a plurality of turns from the cork to the collar. The tether strip and the tear strip are interconnected by a pair of grooved frangible webs that can be torn by pulling on the tear strip. This allows the tear strip to be manually removed from the intercoupling section. Following removal of the tear strip, the helical tether strip interconnects the cork and the retainer collar, thus enabling the cork to be released from the bottle without flying free.

 

Device for launching confetti

European Patent Application No. EP 1,163,942, A2

Published December 19, 2001

This invention relates to  invention relates to a device for launching confetti or other festive material such as coiled streamers into the air.

The confetti launching devices comprises a conical tube having a bottom plug in a lower portion to define a cavity above the plug to receive the confetti, coiled streamers and the like. An upper plug formed of a low density foam material is fitted within a top portion of the tube for holding ally confetti, coiled streamers or the like within the cavity, and the tube forms a handle portion below the lower plug for grasping by a user. The upper plug is adapted upon quick motion of the handle portion by the user to fly outwardly by centrifugal force and permit the confetti, roller streamers or the like to fly from the tube to fall in an attractive shower. When used with confetti, the confetti is preferably arranged face to face in a plurality of bundles arranged in layers within the cavity. Each layer of bundled confetti is arranged adjacent another in side-by-side relation with the individual elements of confetti in substantially vertical alignment within the cavity.

So how does this innovation differ from other known confetti launchers? The patent application explains that prior art devices are often unduly complex, or cannot propel confetti or elongate coiled streamers appreciable distances or with any great accuracy.  Hence, we have here an improved and presumably more accurate confetti launcher. Who doesn’t need one of these on New Years Eve?

 

Noisemaker to be worn on the foot

US Patent No. 3,757,466

Issued September 11, 1973

This invention relates to a sound producing device, and more specifically to a noise maker that can be worn on the foot in a manner such that noise may be controllably produced by placement of the foot upon a surface.  The patent specifically says that the invention relates to a child’s noisemaker and that “children are fond of producing a controlled sound with a device…”

Presumably certain adults might also be fond of making noise in such fashion, but the claims do seem to contain a limitation making the devices specifically relate to children.  The preamble of claim 1 reads: “A sound producing device adapted to be worn on a shoe on a child’s foot comprising…” While the “child” limitation is in the preamble it would seem to be a limitation and the specification seems to only provide support for children wearing and using this device. Thus, it would seem that the patent has been unnecessarily limited, or at the very least doing this and then later trying to say “a child” was not a limitation would easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in litigation. Beware inventors! The words you do use have consequences!

In any event, the noise maker has a heel well with a leaf spring containing housing attached to it. The spring is of the type producing a sound upon being bent and extends beyond the underside of the heel well. The noise maker is worn on the heel portion of the shoe of a child and held secure by an ankle strap. Upon walking a sound is produced as a result of the spring being compressed and released due to contact with the ground.

 

Wacky pop noise maker

US Patent No. 5,820,437

Issued October 13, 1998

This invention relates to a combination noise maker and candy sucker holder. Parents will appreciate that this is the type of invention that children ought to be allowed to play with rarely, perhaps once a year at midnight on New Years Eve. Other suitable times for playing with this device would include when the child is visiting grandparents, or you have hired a babysitter for the evening!

Seriously, if that is possible with a fun invention like this, the wacky pop noise maker is a novelty toy and candy holding device designed to hold a sucker type candy and to make noise. But can novelty items be patentable? Absolutely! And so can human amusement devices and games as well.  For example see Improved human slingshot machine and Patenting Board Games 101.

The wacky pop comprises a hollow main housing with plastic rings with a noise maker in the housing between an upper end cap and a bottom end of the housing. The upper end includes an aperture and a sucker type candy. The sucker type candy is inserted into the aperture at the top of the upper end cap of the hollow main housing. The upper end cap also has small apertures around the top end of the cap to allow passage of air. The outside of the hollow main housing has plastic rings and the lower end of the housing is open with a plastic rod across the bottom. Inside the hollow main housing the noise maker slides freely when the holding device is shaken or when the air is pushed back and forth through the apertures in the top edge of the upper end cap producing a variety of noises. This combination of candy and a toy noise maker gives children twice the fun. The candy can be replaced.

About the Authors

Gene Quinn is a US Patent Attorney, law professor and the founder of IPWatchdog.com. He is also a principal lecturer in the top patent bar review course in the nation, which helps aspiring patent attorneys and patent agents prepare themselves to pass the patent bar exam. Gene started the widely popular intellectual property website IPWatchdog.com in 1999, and since that time the site has had many millions of unique visitors. Gene has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, the LA Times, USA Today, CNN Money, NPR and various other newspapers and magazines worldwide. He represents individuals, small businesses and start-up corporations. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

Angel Krippner is an Executive Assistant for IPWatchdog, Inc. In this role she provides administrative assistance, researches articles, coordinates our social media presence, networks with law firms and various other functions. She is the glue that holds everything together behind the scenes.


3 comments
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  1. Dear Gene and Angel, thank you for your posts and for providing a forum to occasionally disagree with each other. Always interesting. Very nice photos, especially of Gene. If my aging eyes serve me, I do believe I see less of you(?). I wish you the best for 2013.

  2. Agi-

    Thanks for the comment, and for noticing. You hopefully are seeing less of me. It has been a struggle, but over the last 11 months I have dropped from a 3X to a 1X in most things. I’m down about 50 pounds from my heaviest, but over the last 6 months specifically I have been more interested in losing inches than losing weight. My plan is to continue in 2013, although I have been bad between Christmas and New Year!

    Happy new year to you!

    -Gene

  3. Congrats on the achievement. I completely agree about the inches, keep your belt, I kept mine. It’s wonderful to have to punch a new hole – in the opposite direction, reassuring, tangible reminder. Best – Agi