Christmas is upon us, and most of the world celebrating this holiday have either settled into a comfortable state of waiting for Jolly Old Saint Nicolas (a.k.a. Kris Kingle) to arrive, or are growing ever more anxious to find the last few stocking stuffers, Christmas gifts or dinner items they need. Roast Beast anyone?
Although the snow and ice come and go every year, as the tale of Frosty the Snowman reminds us, the radio always seems to play the same, familiar music every Christmas. While much of the Christmas season is familiar and clad with tradition, every new Christmas season will have its own series of hot new gifts, especially toys for the littlest members of the family.
Since America’s earliest days, there have been a lot of fun toys that have come through the consumer marketplace in the United States and globally. Many of these have become so iconic that their brands have become household names and have become synonymous with a moment in time for America’s youth. Some of the most popular of these eternal toy brands continue to show up year after year under Christmas trees.
It is the time of year where we gather around the Christmas tree, exchange presents, spend time with family and friends and make merry. So what better way to be merry than to read about patents?
Frequent readers of IPWatchdog know that we look for any excuse to talk about patents and holidays provide an opportunity to discus thematically relevant patents for interesting innovations. This year we are focusing on Christmas lights. Some of these patents are for Christmas tree lighting, some are for outdoor decorative lighting and we have one from the era that just caught our eye as we were researching. So sit back and enjoy the wonderful world of patents, Christmas style. And be sure and check out our other Christmas patent articles.
It is that time of the year where when we prepare to spend time with family and friends celebrating the holiday season. No other holiday is quite like Christmas in terms of the anticipation, not to mention the colossal magnitude of the commercialization of the holiday. In any event, last night children all over the world were “nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.” As the kids were in bed many adults might have tried to catch a glimpse of “a miniature sleigh and eight tinny reindeer;” or perhaps nine if Rudolph was along for the trip!
As I contemplated Twas the Night Before Christmas it started getting me to think about sleighs and then I wondered what kind of patents I might find on various state-of-the-art sleigh technologies from Christmases past. So without further ado, and to celebrate the season, I present a look at a variety of sleigh related patents from the 1880s and 1890s.
My review of the state-of-the-art sleigh technologies shows that during the early 1880s more comfortable sleigh rides were on the minds of many an inventor, and by the mid to late 1890s improvements evolved to include additional features, such as removable seats, steps to assist one to enter and disembark from the sleigh and various steering mechanisms. Like virtually all reviews of patented technology, even such low tech inventions as sleighs, the ongoing evolution of improvement is apparent, which is the hallmark of innovation. Make things safer, faster, cheaper or stronger. Innovate to make operational improvements the users will greatly appreciate, such a smoother riding sleigh. Such a review of sleigh technology also gives us a glimpse into life of the day by showing us the problems that creative members of society were working to solve.
From US Patent No. 4,113,020, titled "Fire safety Christmas ornament."
It is that time of the year where when we prepare our homes for the arrival a jolly old magical chief elf who despite his enormous girth is still able to make his way down our narrow chimneys lickedy-split, while somehow managing not to get any soot on his pristine red and white trousers and overcoat.
In order to celebrate holidays I always like to profile some patents relative to the festivities, proving once and for all that the entire world does revolve around and can be answered by the creative and awe inspiring power of the patent system! Okay, maybe a touch of hyperbole there, but what do you expect? In any event, feel free to visit our growing list of Holiday Patents.
This year I asked Glen Kotapish of Planet Patent if he could provide me some examples of interesting or bizarre US patents that somehow relate to “Christmas trees.” I figured that Glen, the owner of a patent search firm, probably had come across an interesting Christmas tree patent or two over the years. Glen did not disappoint! Incidentally, if you are into bizarre patents I highly recommend visiting his Bizarre Inventions Weird Inventions page.
It is hard to believe that this year is almost over, and it is Christmas 2009! It seems the older I get the faster the years pass, just like my parents always warned me would be the case some day. I still remember how the minutes would drag on forever on Christmas morning waiting for my parents to get moving, make sure the lights were on and film was in the camera. Those were the days! In any event, we at IPWatchdog wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and hope you all make some wonderful memories to cherish for a lifetime!
Without further ado, to help facilitate the spirit in a patent sort-of way, here are some patents that fit the season, and don’t forget to check out my all-time favorite – the Santa Claus Detector, which I profiled last Christmas.
Structural improvement of toy Christmas tree US Patent No. 6,053,798
Filing date: August 26, 1998
Issue date: April 25, 2000
I don’t have the box handy, it seems pretty clear that this device is the famous (or infamous) Dancing Douglas Fir (see YouTube Video), or an improvement thereof. The device is explained to be a structural improvement of toy Christmas tree. The lower part of the foundation unit has a motor with intermittent off-and-on rotation controlled by a control circuit board installed in the base. The motor being linked with a reduction gear and a spring to drive a toy lower jaw part at the lower part of the foundation unit, and a driving rod to activate a toy eyebrow. According to the patent “the control circuit board will play happy music and flash LED light… while the motor will drive the eyebrows and mouth of the Christmas tree to flip up and down and open and close, to create a fun image…” My parents have a Dancing Douglas Fir, so I will have to take a look and see if there is, in fact, a patent number when I visit next week.
There were 21 US patents issued with the word “Christmas” in the title during 2008, with 7 being utility patents and 14 being design patents. Without further ado, here are some of the better Christmas patents for 2008, and a few that just kinda made me scratch my head.
Tis the season to be jolly, so why not search for some patents with the word “Santa” in the title? This Santa patent is one of my altime favorites, and one of the more ingenious holiday patents that I have ever seen. In addition to some very cool patent art, the invention is explained as including a christmas stocking having illumination means that light up upon the arrival of Santa Claus. According to the invention, the Christmas stocking has a light source on the extreior of the stocking and a power source with a switching mechanism, which is preferably contained in the stocking itself. The toe of the stocking has a hole that will allow for a slide pin. The stocking is hung by the chiminey with care, and a decorative pull cord is tied to the ring at the toe of the stocking. The other end of the decorative pull cord is tied to either another stocking hung opposite or secured to a decoration on the other side of the fire place. This should then create a scene much like the one pictured below.
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Without hesitation I recommend One Simple Idea and think it should be required reading for any motivated inventor. There is so much to like about the book and so much that I think author Stephen Key nails dead on accurate. The book is educational, information and inspirational. For the $14 cover price it is essential reading.
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