Happy Father’s Day 2024

If you are still at a loss about what to get Dad, the U.S. patent collection is there for you.

U.S. Patent No. 4,044,932 discloses a Smoking Pipe Sling, which the patent claims is appropriate for “young children wishing to make a gift for their father for father’s day,”

U.S. Patent No. 5,154,506 discloses a Flashlight Armband that the patent claims is “a good gift for Father’s day,”

U.S. Patent No. 6,035,566 discloses a Desk Trophy that can be adapted for Fathers Day:

U.S. Patent No. 8,434,619 discloses an Apparatus For Presenting Botanical Arrangements which can have a Father’s Day theme:

U.S. Patent No. 9,439,463 discloses a Combination Pillow/blanket/poncho Travel Accessory that makes “a great gift” for Father’s Day:

Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers out there.

Flag Day 2014

Flag Day commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a presidential proclamation that designated June 14 as Flag Day. On August 3, 1949, National Flag Day was officially established by an Act of Congress, although Flag Day is not an official federal holiday. Title 36 of the United States Code, Subtitle I, Part A, CHAPTER 1, § 110 is the official statute on Flag Day; however, it is at the president’s discretion to officially proclaim the observance:

The Flag Code does more than create Flag Day, it sets forth rules for the proper care and display of the flag. In U.S. Patent No. 9,672,761 on a Flag and Banner Display System for Motor Vehicles and the Like, the inventor, Cory Allen, addressed a problem create by the Flag Code

His solution: mounting the flag to a vehicle with a zipper:

Which neatly illustrates the interrelated nature of invention, and the genius of the patent system. Mr. Allen’s solution to the Flag Day dilemma depended upon the earlier work of a Swedish electrical engineer, Gideon Sundback, inventor of the modern zipper:

Of course, Sundback was no doubt aided by Whitcomb Judson’s 1893 “Clasp Locker,” and Elias Howe, Jr.’s 1851 “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.” And yes, this is the same Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine.

Happy Flag day and display your flags properly!

Another Milestone: Patent No. “About” 12,000,000

June 4, 2024, marked another USPTO milestone. U.S. Patent No. 12,000,000 issued. It had been just 1120 days since the issuance of U.S. Patent No. 11,000,000 on May 11, 2021. This was the second-shortest period of time for one million patents to issue — the shortest between the 1057 days between patent numbers 10,000,000 and 11,000,000, and a long way from the 27419 days (75+ years) between patent number 1 and 1,000,000.

Of course,12,000,00 is not the exact number. Before U.S Patent No. 1 issued on July 13, 1836, the USPTO issued about 9,957 patents before it occurred to anyone to number them. We say “about” because a fire in the Patent Office destroyed records and the precise number of these X patents is not certain. Also, there are 70854 of patent numbers which for one reason or another, no patent issued. See, the list of these numbers here. There are also some patents with fractional numbers that bump the total (see our prior post about these patent oddities), including U.S. Patent No. 3,262,124 1/2:

Finally, we are only counting utility patents in the about 12,000,000, and not the approximately 1,030,182 design patents that have issued since 1843, or the approximately 35,860 plant patents that have issued since 1931, or reissue patents, or improvement patents — so called AI patents that issued between 1838 to 1861. Real Patent Number nerds will want to check out this list and the notes at the bottom

If recent history is a good guide, we should get to utility patent number “about” 13,000,000 sometime around Tuesday, June 29, 2027.

Decoration Day 2024

Memorial Day was created in

On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), an organization of and for Union Civil War veterans, issued a proclamation calling for “Decoration Day” to be observed annually and nationwide. This followed a practice begun in the Southern states two years earlier. Northern states quickly adopted the holiday.

The name “Memorial Day,” first used in 1882, gradually became more common than “Decoration Day” after World War II as the holiday expanded to honor the fallen from the World Wars. However, it was not until 1967 that it was declared the official name of the holiday. A year later Congress passed the Uniform Monday Holiday Act, which moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May, effective 1971.

A few patents mention Decoration Day. U.S. Patent No. 972,371 issued October 11, 1910, to Walter Hammett, mentioned the holiday on a deck of cards for playing a card that that “will afford instruction as well as amusement. Oddly enough the next patent to mention Decoration Day was also on Playing Cards. U.S. Patent No. 1,703,754 issued on February 26, 1929, to Leo Smedley.

It was not until 1893 that the first patent issued on a decoration for Decoration Day. U.S. Patent No. 489,218 issued to Arsine Cofrey on January 3, 1893 on a Floral Figure:

It was not until 1958 that a second patent issued on a decoration for Decoration Day. U.S. Patent No. 2,857,507 issued October 21, 1958, to Edward Stec on an Electric Lawn Ornament:

There are several patents that reference Memorial Day, but disappointingly most are about calendaring the day, or reference the 500 mile race in Indianapolis held on the day. See, for example, US Patent Nos. 3396810 and 3653459. Fixing the holiday to guarantee a long weekend seems to have distracted us for the true meaning of the holiday. Sure, have fun this holiday weekend, but don’t forget to remember those who made it possible for us to enjoy it.

Cinco de Mayo, Dos Mil Veinticuatro

Cinco de Mayo, also known as Battle of Puebla Day, is a holiday celebrating the date of the Mexican Army’s May 5, 1862, victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War. Although hostilities continued for five more years, General Ignacio Zaragoza success represented a great symbolic victory for the Mexican government and bolstered the resistance movement.

A minor holiday in Mexico, it is more widely celebrated in the United States, and most U.S. celebrations feature margaritas. Like most things involving tequila, the origin of the margarita is unclear. Some claim that the margarita is a variation of the brandy daisy, remade with tequila instead of brandy. Others claim that the margarita was invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera the Rancho La Gloria restaurant in Baja California. Still other claims that the margarita was in 1938 by a bartender in honor of Mexican showgirl Rita de la Rosa. Still others claims that it was invented in Ensenada, Baja California, in 1941 by bartender Don Carlos Orozco. There are also claims that the margarita was first mixed in Juárez, Chihuahua, at Tommy’s Place Bar on July 4, 1942, by Francisco “Pancho” Morales.

Whatever its origins, margaritas are a popular cocktail, and the drink of choice on Cinco de Mayo, so it is not surprising that a bit of technology has been developed around the margarita.


U.S. Patent No. D743217 protects the appearance of a margarite tool:

U.S. Patent No. D566452 protects the appearance of a Margarita Maker:


U.S. Patent No. 11,033,131 protects the glass for serving a bottle of beer:

U.S. Patent No. similarly protects a device for serving a margarita with a bottle of beer:

U.S. Patent No. D540120 protects the appearance of a Margarita Glass:

U.S. Patent No. D454758 also protects the appearance of a Margarita Glass:

U.S. Patent No. D453093 also protects the appearance of a Margarita Glass:

U.S. Patent No. 5842590 protects a Nestable Margarita Glass Apparatus and Method:

Margarita-Themed Products

U.S. Patent No. D545005 protects the appearance of a Margarita-styled Bird Feeder:

May the 4th be wIth You

Happy Star Wars Day. What better way for a patent lawyer to celebrate than with a collection of Star Wars patents?


  • D254080 Toy Spacecraft (X-Wing Fighter)
  • D254081 Toy Spacecraft (TIE Fighter)
  • D257160 Aerial Toy (Landspeeder)
  • D265668 Toy Space Vehicle (Twin-Pod Cloud Car)
  • D266777 Toy Vehicle (AT-AT)
  • D267025 Toy Space Vehicle (Snowspeeder)
  • D268192 Toy Space Vehicle (Rebel Transport)
  • D268200 Toy Space Vehicle (TIE Bomber) –
  • D268773 Toy Space Vehicle
  • D271780 Toy Space Vehicle (Rebel Medical Frigate)
  • D277116 Toy Vehicle (Imperial Shuttle)
  • D277120 Toy Vehicle (Tatooine Skiff)
  • D277200 Toy Spacecraft (A-Wing)
  • D277201 Toy Spacecraft (B-Wing)
  • D277398 Toy Vehicle (Speeder Bike)
  • D277493 Toy Vehicle (Sail Barge)



  • D256485 Toy Sword (Light Sabre))
  • D259578 Toy Helmet (Helmet)
  • 10065127 Sword Device with Retractable, Internally Illuminated Bllade

April 22, 2024, The 55th Earth Day

The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, it was not until 20 years later, that the impact of Earth Day was recorded in the U.S. Patent collection. In U.S. Patent No. 5090559, issued in 1992 on Reusable Garment Bags for Dry Cleaning, acknowledged that ” ‘Earth day,’ citizen activist groups, scientists and a large number of television documentaries and public information and service programs have all increased public awareness of [issues with disposable bags.”

In 1997, U.S. Patent No. 5601204 on a Tank Vault With Sealed Liner, noted:

Since the 1970s, the world, and in particular, the United States, has been concerned with the environment and the contamination of that environment, including the earth’s soil, its atmosphere and its water. The first Earth Day in 1970 resulted in the eventual creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by the United States Congress.

Since the 1970s, the world, and in particular, the United States, has been concerned with the environment and the contamination of that environment, including the earth’s soil, its atmosphere and its water. The first Earth Day in 1970 resulted in the eventual creation of the Environmental Protection Agency by the United States Congress.

U.S. Patent No. 5595114 issued in 1996 on a Simulated Musical Rainmaker, which it described as “a perfect toy to celebrate Earth Day, which is slowly becoming an important holiday in the calendar year.”

U.S Patent No. D407127 issued on a baseball with an Earth Day logo:

U.S. Patent No. 7560822 issued in 2009 on an Educational Electrical Generation Kit that is “sturdily and durably configured, particularly since it may be used in crowded environments with children present (e.g., in schools, science fairs, Earth Day events, open houses at utility companies, museums, etc.).”

U.S. Patent Nos. 8870061 issued in 2014 and 9302818 issued in 2016 disclose a Reusable Envelope, which the patents indicate is particularly adapted for Earth Day mailings.

U.S. Patent No. 10107029, issued in 2018, commented that “forty years after capturing the imagination of many people during the first observance of Earth Day, America’s recycling revolution is getting mixed reviews.” While the patent noted that “140 million Americans recycle—more than vote in national elections,” we can certainly do better, and as the 55th Earth Day approaches, hopefully, we will.  

Total Eclipse of the Sun on April 8

Several inventors have addressed the problem of safely watching a total eclipse of the sun. One of the earliest is U.S. Patent No. 548868, which issued October 29, 1895, on an Apparatus for Observing Eclipses:

This patent is long ago expired, so feel free to adapt for your use on April 8, A more modern device is disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 9123285, which provides a Transparent Display Device and Transparency Adjustment Method Thereof, which explains:

U.S. Patent No. 11438494 on a Device for Viewing and Imaging the Sune and Solar Phenomena, the augments a user’s smartphone:

U.S. Patent No. 10103768 provides a Mobile Device Casing that includes a filter 304 for photographing solar eclipses:

U.S. Patent No. 11536947 on a Tunable Window System for a Vehicle, that can adapt to “local conditions (e.g., solar eclipse). 

Solar eclipses have inspired some to make games, like U.S. Patent No. 5678823 on a Total Solar Eclipse Game of Skill:

Others have named plants after solar eclipses, as in U.S. Patent No. PP23647:

The technology is there to have a safe viewing experience. Enjoy the April 8 solar eclipse.

April Showers

April is known for spring rains, and fortunately for us, inventors have our backs with umbrellas of all kinds. An all-time favorite is the combination umbrella/lightning rod in U.S. Patent No. 4,447,847, which only issued after the inventor, Drulard, successfully appealed the Examiner rejection that the invention lacked utility:

Inventors have provided protection for infants, U.S. Patent No. 849055 provides an umbrella mount for a stroller:

and the aged, U.S. Patent No. 10285893 provides an umbrella mount for a walker:

Even pets are covred (literally). U.S. Patent No. 6871616 provides a pet umbrella:

Inventors have protected us during all of our daily activities. U.S. Patent No. 8556141 provides a backpack with an umbrella:

U.S. Patent No. 639634 provides a bike with an umbrella:

U.S. Patent No. 5609321 provides a golf cart with an umbrella:

U.S. Patent No. 10952487 provides an umbrella for hands-free drinking:

U.S. Patent No. 7967274 provides an umbrella for getting in and out of a car:

U,S, Patent No. D664761 provides an umbrella for watching sports:

Inventors have provided us umbrellas that protect our phones. U.S. Patent No. D822370 protects a cell phone mount for an umbrella::

So, when April showers may come your way, remember that they bring the patents that issue in May (and the rest of the year).

Patently Easter

One of the earliest references to Easter in the patent collection is U.S. Patent No. 1,234,939 on a Carrier for Eggs, which issued July 31, 1917. (The earliest reference was just a few months in April 1917, on a perpetual calendar.

U.S. Patent No. 1,269,169 issued nearly a year later on a Carton “adapted to contain candy Easter eggs.”

On July 13, 2020, U.S. Patent No. 1,356,658 issued on an Advertising Specialty with an Easter theme:

U.S. Patent No. 1,484,796 issued February 26, 1924, on an Egg Laying Toy:

U.S. Patent No. D64293 issued March 18, 1924, on a Candy Easter Egg:

U.S. Patent No. D64292 issued the same day on another Candy Easter Egg:

U.S. Patent No. D64291 issued on another Candy Easter Egg:

U.S. Patent No. D64,290 issued on another Candy Easter Egg:

And U.S. Patent No. D64289 issued on a Candy Easter Egg:

Finally (for this post) U.S. Patent No. 1,516,718 issued on a Novelty Toy in “the shape of an Easter egg” and we are only up to 1924.