We Patented Christmas....
Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza…and Happy Holidays! It doesn’t matter what you call it. It’s all a celebration of one kind or another manifested in song and symbol. Of course, where there is song and symbol, there is something worthy of protecting.
My good friend Tom Gallagher sent out this list of Copyrights, Trademarks, and Patents of those age old holiday memories we take for granted. I found it interesting and thought you may too.Copyrights
Arguably the most famous Christmas songs of all time, "White Christmas”, was written by Irving Berlin and published in 1942. Most people don’t realize the copyright for "White Christmas" has a duration of 95 years. So if you play it or sing it in public before 2037 you’re actually infringing.
"Jingle Bells", on the other hand, was published in 1857 under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh". It is now in the public domain so feel free to sing it any place you like.Trademarks
Many Christmas related phrases have been woven into our lexicon of language for many years, we often take them for granted as simply a phrase we are free to use, and sometimes they are – but in some cases they are actually protected and not open to public use. Here are a few examples
“KRIS KRINGLE'S” Didn’t start out as the jolly old guy; it was first registered as a service mark in 1974 for use as a restaurant name, but has since been abandoned.
“RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER” was registered in 1984 for filmstrips, coloring books, stuffed toys, and Christmas ornaments, among other goods. The registration was renewed in 2005 and is still in force.
“NORTH POLE” Has nothing to do with Christmas at all – it was registered in 2001 for magnets for therapeutic use to be worn as bracelets, arm bands, or knee bands and wraps containing magnets used for pain relief. The registration is still in force.
“FROSTY THE SNOWMAN” No one thought to register this mark until 2001, when it was first registered to cover motion picture films, videos, records, and CDs among a long list of goods. The registration is still in force.
“THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY” was actually just registered in 2005 for action figures; glass orbs, namely, snow globes; plush dolls; Christmas tree ornaments except confectionery or illumination articles; and toy music boxes. The registration is still in force.
“JINGLE BELL” was registered in 1981 for electric light sets and Electric bulbs used as Christmas decorations. The registration is still in force for those items, but you can name your cat Jingle Bells if you like.
“KWANZAA” was registered in 2010 for Bath soaps in liquid, solid or gel form; Fragrances for personal use; Household cleaning preparations; Non-medicated skin care preparations. The
registration is still in force.Patents
A search for the word Christmas at the USPTO web site reveals 8980 associated patents. Some of them went on to become well known products, others….Not so much.
An Imitation Christmas Tree is described and claimed in US Patent 255902 issued in 1882. Since then several other artificial trees have received patents.
Gas Jet powered Christmas Lights were the subject of US Patent 484304 issued in 1892. This had to be extremely dangerous, but gas lights were common at the time.
A Design for a Christmas Stocking was granted US Patent D42346 in 1912.
Imitation Snow was issued a design patent In 1916, US Patent 1192372 was issued for a combination of raw cotton, asbestos, and flaked mica.
Electrically Illuminated Fireproof Christmas Wreath was granted US Patent 1436003 in 1922. It was a circular wreath with a single radially arranged electric candle. You may still see these today, though the patent expired in 1939.
If you want to know more about Christmas copyrights, trademarks, and patents, or you need legal work, you can contact Tom Gallagher at http://www.gallagherip.com