Barker Brettell’s twelve Christmas days of IP

christmas-bauble-15738_960_720If you follow us on Twitter @Barker_Brettell, you will have already seen our homage to the twelve days of Christmas as each day we’re posting a festive-related fact about IP. For those of you who are not, enjoy our twelve unabridged daily posts and accept our seasonal greetings from all of us at Barker Brettell. Merry Christmas!

1. STAINED GLASS: The first English patent for an invention was granted by Henry VI in 1449 to Flemish-born John of Utynam through an open letter marked with the King’s Great Seal and was called a letter patent. Granted for 20 years, it allowed John to use a method of making stained glass not previously seen in England to create the stained glass windows of Eton College.

2. NEW YEARS DAY: The holder of trade mark number one at the British Intellectual Property Office is Bass Pale Ale’s red triangle logo design, registered on the 1st January 1876. It also owns the second for its red diamond logo. The company took care to be the first registrant on the first day the 1875 Trade Mark Registration Act came into effect, making an employee spend his New Year’s Eve waiting outside the registration office.

3. SAINTS: There are three countries beginning with a ‘Saint’ where you can register your UK patent: Saint Vincent; Saint Lucia and Saint Helena. Saint Kitts and Nevis allow registration of UK trade marks and designs, but not patents.

reindeer-697283_960_7204. RUDOLPH THE INVENTOR: To date in 2015 there have been 421 patent applications published with Rudolph as the inventor; whereas the other reindeers only have 73 between them.

5. CHRISTMAS DAY: On Christmas Day 2014 there were 10505 patents or patent applications published worldwide, 874 trade marks registered and 54 designs published by OHIM.

6. CHRISTMAS CAROL: The copyright for Charles Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ ran out in 1940, 70 years after the authors’ death.

7. SANTA’S LAPLAND: Even Santa has to protect his intellectual property – Santa’s Lapland is registered in England, No. 350786.

8. CHRISTMAS NOVELTY CHOCOLATE: in 2010 the General Court ruled during the Lindt chocolate animal cases that reindeer, red ribbons and bells as a symbol for Christmas are known in the European Union at large and any trade mark would need to “significantly depart” from reindeer shapes et cetera already available on the market to be registrable.

9. IT’S CHRIIIIIIIIIIIISTMAS!!!: The 1973 Christmas hit ‘Merry Christmas Everyone’ by Slade is owned by Barn Publishing and copyright royalties have, to date, earned the holders an estimated £500,000-£800,000.

10. RUDOLPH THE RED-NOSED REINDEER: Invented in 1939 by Robert L. May, an advertising copyrighter at Montgomery Ward, he first appeared in a book given free to children to increase foot-fall in their stores. An instant hit, more than two million were given away and the next year Montgomery Ward began to sell an assortment of Rudolph-themed toys and other items. In the true spirit of Christmas, the company made over the copyright of the book to May in 1947 when he faced financial difficulties after the death of his wife. Robert L. May went on to make several million dollars from his invention.

holly-tree-1030595_960_72011. SLEIGH: On the 9th August 1881 patent No. 245,597 was issued in the U.S., the first for sleigh design.

12. CHRISTMAS CRACKERS: Tom Smith invented the Christmas cracker in 1847 but almost lost his business to an Eastern European manufacturer who copied his design. He quickly re-designed and patented eight different crackers as well as registering his name Tom Smith Crackers. By 1900 the company had sold more than 13 million.