From wacky patents to famous trademarks, it’s no surprise that the holidays bring out some of the most interesting pieces of intellectual property.

To celebrate Christmas approaching, we’ve put together some of our favorite pieces of holiday-themed IP for you to enjoy.


1. The Guardian Angel US20090027215A1

This patent was filed by Darrell Hudson from Orange Park, Florida in 2007 to help detect Christmas tree fires during the holiday season.

If you look closely, you’ll see that this invention is the product of a fire detector built into a Christmas tree topper.


2. The Santa Claus Detector US5523741A

This patent was filed in 1994 by Thomas Cane from Rafael, California as a way of alerting children that Santa had made a visit to their home.

If you look closely at the patent illustration above, you’ll see that each stocking is designed to light up when its loop is retracted from the toe of the stocking.

Each stocking loop is tied to the fireplace mantle bow, so when Santa comes down the chimney he will detach the bow and “set off” all of the attached stockings.


3. Christmas Tree Self-Watering System – US6497071B1

This invention, cleverly designed as a present, was filed in 2000 by Bryon and Vicki Main from Granite Bay, California as an “improved system for watering Christmas trees and to help prevent fires caused from dried out Christmas trees.”


4. Christmas Lights – US2028342A

The first patent for the “method of butt-sealing incandescent electric lamps” was filed in 1934 by Michael E. McGowan from Bloomfield, New Jersey.

This patent also discusses the use of the same method for certain lights inside motor vehicles.


5. Electrically Illuminated Artificial Christmas Tree – US3118617A

The first patent for an artificial Christmas tree with built-in lights was filed in 1960 by Tobias Hellrich from Nurnberg, Germany.

In Figure 3, you can see that this model utilizes the electrical wires (that are used to power the bulbs at the ends of each branch) to hold the artificial tree needles.


6. The Coca-Cola Santa

While the use of Santa as a character is public domain, Coca-Cola has played a significant role in shaping the imagery and characterization of the modern day Santa Claus.

According to Coca-Cola, the company helped create the commonly known Santa as a “wholesome, friendly, plump, and white-bearded” man/character during their annual Christmas marketing campaigns which featured paintings by artist and illustrator Haddon Sundblom.

The illustration above was officially registered as the property of Coca-Cola in 2006. There have been many pieces of Coca-Cola Santa imagery (as well as registered intellectual property) created dating back to as early as 1931.


7. Tinsel Dispensing Device (Tinsel Gun) – US3494235A 

In 1968, John Postolowski from New York, New York filed a patent for a “device for dispensing tinsel and the like adaptable for decorating Christmas trees.”

As seen in the patent illustrations to the left, the invention’s motor mechanism is started and stopped by pushing and releasing a button that resembles a gun trigger. The device is built so that when the trigger is held, the tinsel or other material is threaded/pushed through the gun’s muzzle.


8. Disappearing Santa in a Chimney – US3159935A

In 1960, Arnold Rubens from New York, New York, created this device for storefronts or homeowners to use as an animated display during the holidays.

If you look closely, you can see that the Santa figure moves up and down by use of an inflating bag inside the Santa figure.


9. The Sleigh – US581595A

In 1897, Andrew W. Koski from Scofield, Utah designed this type of sleigh to operate by means of an oscillating hand-lever so the operator could move the sleigh in multiple directions.

According to the patent, sleighs before this time could only move directions by use of the operator’s feet.


10. Decorative Christmas Tree (Invisible Christmas Tree) – USD612286S1

In 2009, Sandra D. Palmer from Omaha, Nebraska and Shari L. Jones from Nixa, Missouri created this innovative form of a Christmas tree.

This invention is made up of eight hanging rings where ornaments can be hanged onto to give the illusion of a floating Christmas tree.


11. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ first trademark was filed in 1993 by Dr. Suess Enterprises.

Last year the children’s tale was of broad interest when playwright Matthew Lombardo created a lewd parodical sequel to the story, shining a light on parody and Fair Use laws.

After receiving multiple Cease and Desist letters from Dr. Seuss Enterprises in 2016, Lombardo canceled his production, “Who’s Holiday” and filed a federal lawsuit alleging Fair Use against Dr. Suess Enterprises.

U.S. District Court Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein ended up ruling in favor of Lombardo in 2017.

Learn more about the case.


12. Ornamental Accessory for Automobiles – US1916750A


In 1933, Ray L. Black from Orcutt, California designed an ornamental tree that could be illuminated by mounting the device above a car’s radiator.


What is your favorite piece of holiday-themed intellectual property? Be sure to let us know in the comments or on social media @SuiterSwantz.

From all of us at Suiter Swantz IP, we wish you and your family a happy and safe holiday season!


Suiter Swantz IP is a full-service intellectual property law firm providing client-centric patenttrademark, and copyright services. If you need assistance with an intellectual property matter and would like to speak with one of our attorneys, please contact us at