Scary Halloween Patents
When decorating for Halloween, folks often realize better ways to do things or better ways to make products that they use in games, parties, decorating, etc. This is often a fleeting idea brought about by the frustration of dealing with a poorly thought out product or method. The idea may start with the thought “Why didn’t they build it like this” or “This would be a better way to do it.” These fleeting ideas might be golden opportunities that fly away and never return unless acted upon. Halloween and other holiday products can be big sellers!
As a Halloween enthusiast, you have insight into the needs of a person decorating, planning parties, organizing games, etc for the holiday. You likely have ideas for new products or improvements in existing products that could make you money and improve the safety, efficiency, and enjoyment of people celebrating the holiday. You can protect these ideas by getting a U.S. patent.
Unfortunately, obtaining a patent can be an expensive process. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees for filing, searching, and examining a patent application are available here. You have to pay filing, searching, and examination fees right off the bat, then an issue fee if your patent is approved. If you pay a patent agent or attorney to prepare and prosecute your patent (as opposed to doing it yourself), you could be out thousands of more dollars. However, a good patent on a useful product can pay off in a big way.
Some random examples of patents for inventions related to Halloween are:
Publication or Patent Number
Company or Person that the patent or application is assigned to
|6,904,612||Weather and climate adaptive Halloween costume||Spongberg; Rod||Chosun International, Inc.|
|D491,485||Decorative Halloween pumpkin||Kumar; Sanjeev||Hosley International Trading Corporation|
|6,619,810||Halloween treat carrier including glow-in-the-dark material, pumpkin decorating kit, and method for decorating a pumpkin||Kramer; Bruce Elliot||Not Available|
|D430,817||Halloween trick or treat artificial tree||Salandra; Anthony J.||Not Available|
|5,662,328||Halloween board game||Pecoy; Cyrilla Dianne||Not Available|
|D480,984||Halloween decorative item||Trappani; James||Atico International USA, Inc.|
You can view these patent applications and more by going to the patent office and searching either issued patents or published applications (some of which have not issued into official patents yet). Search the titles, abstracts, or specifications for “halloween” to get a good sampling.
The company you work for may demand that you assign your invention to them . . . especially if you develop the idea on their time and they make related products. Also, unscrupulous goblins are willing to steal good ideas and capitalize on them. Therefore, you have to be very careful about when, where, and how you develop your idea and whom you talk to about it. Don’t even tell your jack-o-lantern about it unless you have a confidentiality agreement!
Taking an idea and protecting it with a patent can be an expensive process but it can pay off in a big way. Even if you don’t get any direct financial compensation for your patented idea, it can be very satisfying and your name will be recorded as an inventor at the USPTO for as long as they exist (Abe Lincoln’s patent #6,469 for “A Device for Buoying Vessels Over Shoals”, on May 22, 1849, is available in the online database!) Plus, the patent plaque will look good on your wall and your product may make the lives of celebrators just a little easier and/or safer.
By: Danny R. Graves, Patent Agent, MSEE, PE
301 Clearview Drive
Springfield, TN 37172
Author Bio: Danny Graves is a patent agent, engineer, college instructor, author, and inventor with two U.S patents. He was a finalist for the 2001 Charles C. Gates Award for Excellence. He has dealt with numerous holiday related inventions including some relating to glow-in –the-dark items, toys, and yard decorations.