Monthly Archives: December 2013

E-Cigarette Patents

Hello Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts,

I hope you have been having a wonderful holiday season.  I find that time off is so strange and rare that I end up staying up late watching the inevitable end-of-year television show marathons.  Case in point, last night I watched five episodes of Bar Rescue on Spike TV.  As expected, the commercials were repetitive and adult oriented (or so I would hope that was their target demographic).  I was surprised, however, by the abundance of e-cigarette ads from multiple brands.  So, that inspired me to investigate these strange substitutes for the increasingly-evil, smoke-releasing cigarettes.  Before the patent search, my research began where most at-home research does today – Wikipedia.

Now, side note, I do not advocate relying on Wikipedia as the final or sole resource for information.  That being said, it is an excellent place to start, often offering guidance on where to continue your research, particularly when the entry is full of citations.  Wikipedia entries are uniquely helpful to begin patent searches because they usually discuss the variety of vocabulary associated with the topic, which may allow for a more complete patent search.  For example, according to Wikipedia, an “electronic cigarette” is also an “electronic vaping device”, a “personal vaporizer”, “electronic nicotine delivery system”, tobacco smoking simulator, or “smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” – the term used in the first relevant patent, according to the History portion of the page, which is notably noted as incomplete.

For this particularly search, I did limit one term to cigarette, otherwise, the results would be too abundant to sift through for these brief, yet riveting, blog entries.  Based on that limited search, it appears that the all-knowing Wikipedia may be correct.  The “Smokeless non-tobacco cigarette” of patent US3200819 started it all.  Well done, Wikipedia, well done.

Stay tuned for more hot, non-smoking e-cigarette patent discussions, including their various alleged functions and benefits.  I hope you enjoy safe and inventive New Year’s Eve festivities!

Patently Yours

P.S. To all you junior innovators and patent enthusiasts, despite how awesome Bogey and Bacall made it look, smoking is an unhealthy habit that will permeate your entire house and wardrobe.  If you don’t know who they are, go watch “To Have and Have Not” and realize why smoking was all the rage for decades and almost a symbol of liberation for women for the first half of the twentieth century.  Of course, this was all before we knew its detrimental effects on smokers and nonsmokers alike.

Patent 3 of 3: Christmas Tree Vibrator

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours and Merry Christmas to those celebrating today!  Christmas Tree patents were delightfully abundant, making it difficult to select only a handful of gems.  Here is the last fun Christmas Tree patent along with my cheeky review.  Check in next week for a new festive patent search.  Happy holidays and keep innovating!

Patent 3 of 3

Christmas Tree Vibrator

Filed April 3, 1947



Did you ever wish there was a way to really make that Christmas Tree sparkle?  Have you ever looked at your dull, static tree and thought, “If only those ornaments and tinsel could actively shimmer…”  Well, at least one person has, and he felt so passionate about it that he patented this misleadingly naughty sounding Christmas Tree vibrator.  Perhaps he wanted to bring a little extra Christmas cheer after World War II.

I personally feel that a non-vibrating Christmas Tree is drab and lifeless and so blasé.  This invention should become a holiday staple, nay, a year-round staple to elevate your garden and your indoor plants.  Of course, the commercial market has yet to catch on, so, you would have to construct one from scratch if you were as excited as I am about this Christmas Tree vibrator.  Just be sure that your wiring is safely insulated, again, to prevent the dreadful, Christmas-cheer-snuffing Christmas Tree fire.

Patently Yours

P.S. Some have suggested an alternate (and actually practical) purpose for this Christmas Tree vibrator (fourth time I wrote this, and it still makes me giggle).  If you had a motion sensor, the vibration may be a deterrent for curious pets, particularly those who climb.

Patent 2 of 3: Artificial Christmas Tree

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours!  I hope you enjoy this second serving of Christmas Tree patent fun.

Patent 2 of 3

Artificial Christmas Tree

Filed April 8, 1936



Though fake trees are not uncommon, this fake tree is particularly intriguing, primarily because it seems to use fuzzy garland, instead of the traditional tree branches.  This beauty also includes strange candle branches (hopefully LED lights, given the fire hazard of other light sources) awkwardly protruding out of the fuzzy cone.  However, this may be perfect for those daring few who are not only willing to be different but who demand everyone recognize that willingness to be different.  You know who you are – actually, we all know who you are, mostly because you tell us.  To you, I commend you for your ugly, fuzzy, fake tree.

Patently Yours

Patent 1 of 3: Christmas Card Display Device Simulating a Tree

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome back to Patently Yours!  Christmas Tree patents were delightfully abundant, making it difficult to select only a handful of gems.  But, I managed.  Here are a few fun Christmas Tree patents along with my cheeky reviews:

Patent 1 of 3

Christmas Card Display Device Simulating a Tree

Filed June 14, 1945



Yes, not technically a Christmas Tree and more an odd solution to organizing and displaying the pile of holiday cards.  Still, this could be a fun improvement on the traditional Christmas Tree.  For example, a card tree never requires water.  Also, if you are exceedingly popular or come from a massive family, you may acquire sufficient cards each year, so you could start a new card tree each season.  Not only would you have a display that proves to your guests how loved you are, but you would also have a disposable fake tree that won’t gather dust in your attic over a year.  On the other hand, to those with a recently-changed address or to those who favor quality over quantity of friends (and family?), you may need a few seasons to accumulate enough cards to make a lush card tree.  So, personally, I would have a Charlie Brown card tree this year.  However bountiful your collection of holiday cards may be, now you have a quirky new way to display them beyond the usual card garden.

Patently Yours

P.S. Hopefully this goes without saying, but please keep all flames or potential flames away from the very flammable paper cards.  Safety first!

Welcome Innovators and Patent Enthusiasts!

Hello innovators and patent enthusiasts,

Welcome to Patently Yours!  Each week, I will perform a cursory patent search on a particular topic and then report back with some general observations and a few surprising treasures.  For our inaugural blogging month, we shall stick to a holiday patent theme through December, beginning with the classic tradition – the Christmas Tree.

During my search, I was overwhelmed with innovations related to clever and creative ways to prevent or extinguish a Christmas Tree fire.  (Click these patent numbers for a few random inventions US2477981 US2522020 US2682310 US3783946 US7963343)

Thankfully, the prevalence of such patents has diminished of late, at least, relative to the exponential increase of issued patents over the decades.  According to the USPTO, 45679 patents were granted in 1963, and 253155 patents were granted in 2012.

The reason for this decline?  Well, perhaps the modern Christmas Tree is less flammable.  Perhaps the inventions truly solved the problem; so, rapid development within the field may not be crucial to combating those fires.  Or, perhaps we have limited our use of flaming, lit candles as festive tree ornaments.

Still, the results of Christmas Tree fires are alarmingly severe, though rare, with approximately 230 reported per year in the U.S., which is a significant decrease from the 850 reported in 1963 (congratulations to us).  So, I shall wish everyone a safe and emergency-free holiday.  And, to those with a Christmas Tree, may your fires remain in the confines of your fireplace.  Click here for more Christmas Tree fire safety tips and facts from the National Fire Protection Association.

Stay tuned later this week for a few selected results from my Christmas Tree patent search.  Until then, I wish you a happy holiday season!

Patently Yours