Patenting The Holidays


It happens every year — a new batch of patents related to Christmas ornaments, things to rotate trees, or festive light controllers. Activity really did slow down this year with only six new utility patents and five design patents containing the word Christmas in their title, and a further two utility patents with Holiday in their title and six design patents. But even with the lower numbers there are still some fun ones to share with you.

Just in case you are not familiar with the terminology, a utility patent is what we normally associate with an invention. It discloses something that supposedly has never been done before. A design patent just patents the shape, form or styling of something – so think of Apple’s square device with round corners.

Now we have the lesson out of the way, let the fun begin.

Ever wondered what Xerox makes these days? Maybe you are thinking printers, but you would be wrong. They have moved into the art and science of virtual gift calendars. This nifty invention sounds very much like an advent calendar in which virtual presents appear behind each of the virtual windows.


Now you have to love the legal speak used to describe this in the claims (including the grammatical error):
A social media device connectable to the client device through the network and configured to provide the one or more selected recipients with access to one or more virtual goods at one or more occurrences of time within a predetermined interrelated set of occurrences of time, the one or more virtual goods being associated with the one or more selected recipients, such that, redemption of each [of] the one or more occurrences of time and the one or more virtual goods may only occur at the one or more occurrences of time associated therewith.
But on with fun. We all have lights on our trees, and many of those have sequence controllers attached to them, but most of you probably have so much time on your hands that you know you can do better than those simple sequences. How about a fully choreographed light and sound display? Well, now you will have to pay royalties to a Joseph Salvatore Parisi from Florida if you want to impress your friends, because he thought of it first, or so says the patent office.


I will leave you with a design patent that I find to be totally crazy. You may note that it has space for ‘year’ at the bottom. Do people really keep the tags on gifts so they know which year they received it? Or perhaps this is to ensure that you don’t re-gift it back to the same person the following year. You know they will have forgotten that they gave it to you two years before.



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