Merry inventions of the silly season!

Christmas is a time for giving, spending time with loved ones and relaxation. It is also a time for searing pain as one steps on newly acquired blocks of Lego in the middle of the night, arguing with said loved ones, and for Australians, wondering why we are eating a hot turkey on a 40 degree Celsius day.

Also, as any patent attorney will tell you, it is a time for innovation. January can be a busy month for patent attorneys with inventors rejuvenated and excited about their new innovations. Post-holidays, many companies look to protect their yuletide innovations. The inventions are endless, from improved assemblies for Christmas trees, to ornaments that double as smoke detectors. Here are some of our favourites.


The naughty or nice meter

As any child will know, the months leading up to Christmas are a risky period in which bad behaviour can result in little to no Christmas presents. Infractions in January are largely forgotten, but the danger period has always been October onwards. This is where the naughty or nice meter comes in (Figure 1) – a meter calibrated into percent ranges to determine if you are naughty or nice. You’d better watch out!

The hopeless romantic

The holiday season can also be a time of romance, but why leave it to fate to decide if your beloved will stand in the doorway for a kiss? This 1984 patent (Figure 2) for a headband device dangles a fresh piece of mistletoe in front of its wearer’s head.mjw-silly-season-2

The re-gifter

The term ‘re-gift’ was made popular in the television comedy Seinfeld, where Dr Tim Whatley re-gifts an unwanted label maker to Jerry, which Elaine gave to Tim the previous Christmas. Amazon have provided a solution to the unwanted gift problem, so you can automatically convert the gift into something else before the gift is given to you. Convert your unwanted socks into a Seinfeld DVD and sleep peacefully knowing you won’t be caught out.



Mark’s academic background is in computer science and electrical engineering. He assists clients in obtaining and enforcing their intellectual property rights in the areas of software, electronics and engineering. Prior to joining Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, Mark worked for a leading automotive manufacturer.