Christmas Kissing Creativity: Mistletoe Innovations

By Gene Quinn
December 24, 2015

snowman-mistletoeIt is once again that time of the year where we welcome Santa Claus into our homes for the yearly overnight visit, having hung our stocking with care by the fireplace. Perhaps for the patent practitioners or inventors among us you might have tried to deploy a Santa Claus Detector, which is one of my all-time favorite holiday innovations. Regardless, however you choose to spend the holiday I hope you will find time to surround yourself with family and friends, making merry and and creating plenty of memories!

To make the holidays more fun one of the things we have always tried to do is profile interested, theme appropriate patents and/or innovations that go with the holiday at hand. In the past Christmas themed articles we have written about sleigh patents of the 1880s and 1890s, artificial Christmas tree patents from 1911 to 1928, the top 10 iconic, patented toy patents, Christmas lighting decorations and much more. To see all of our related articles visit our Christmas Archive.

Today I thought it might be interesting to take a look at one of more fun holiday traditions — kissing under mistletoe. According to History.com, mistletoe is a symbolic herb that has been used in one form or another for thousands of years, but when and how kissing under mistletoe became associated with the Christmas holiday is open for debate.

What isn’t open for debate, however, is just how sparse the field of mistletoe innovation really is. Sure, there are a number of patents that deal with mistletoe extracts, but that isn’t exactly in keeping with the holiday theme. There are also a couple design patents that seem of questionable taste, at least for a family audience, which relate to a belt buckle device and under garments. Enough said about those. I’ll let you find them on your own if you are interested.

Merry Christmas!

 

mistletoe-headband-4488316Mistletoe supporting headband
U.S. Patent No. 4,488,316
Issued December 18, 1983

For the party goer who can’t be bother to wait until someone walks under a predetermined spot underneath hanging mistletoe, this novel headband supports a fresh piece of mistletoe in front of the wearer’s head. The headband consists primarily of a strip of material, which is  fastened to the head of the wearer, and also includes a fork member, having an opening for receiving the mistletoe. The headband may also be used for supporting other decorative or novelty items too!

 

 

mistletoe-ornament-20020126506Hanging mistlettoe (sic) ornament
U.S. Patent Application No. 20020126506
Published September 12, 2002

This is a patent application published in 2002, not an issued patent. The invention here relates to a hanging mistletoe ornament having a spherical shell. There is a pre-programmed control unit is mounted in the shell, programmed to play a song through the included speakers. The invention also incorporates a motion sensor into the outer surface of the shell and the control unit for generating a signal that is sent to the control unit if and when motion is detected. When motion is detected the control unit causes the song to begin playing. There is also a lighted display connected to the control unit and the outer surface of the shell. The lights are engaged when motion is sensed.

 

Mistletoe cap
U.S. Design Patent No. D407,189
Issued March 30, 1999

mistletoe-cap-d407189

A design patent does not cover the article itself, the way it functions or any internal mechanical structure. A design patent merely protects the appearance of the tangible article. Said another way, a design patent will only protect the way the covered device looks, not the way it functions.

This patent covers the unique appearance of a mistletoe cap as specifically shown in the drawings, which appears to have a piece of mistletoe connected to the top of the cap, with the front of the cap not so gently requesting: “Kiss Me!”

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

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