„In the past, there used to be more Lametta“,1 nags Grandpa Hoppenstedt in the legendary German Christmas sketch by Loriot. Is this still the case? What makes a good, atmospheric Christmas today? Can there be „innovations“ with such a traditional celebration? A patent search on the topic “Christmas“, carried out in the STN database Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI), is supposed to answer the question as to what are the current trends and preferences in celebrating Christmas events.
Fig. 1: Lametta, a must-have Christmas tree decoration in the past
“...and there was light.“2 The analysis of intellectual property rights proves this: The meaning of light in biblical times has been preserved in a figurative sense until today. Even today, light is clearly the most important accessory for Christmas. The majority of the patents published in the period from 2005 to 2016 deal with the subject of lighting (see Fig. 2), whereby different aspects are the focus of the inventions. The spectrum ranges from the fixing of luminaires to the switching arrangement of the individual electrical components. In second place is the Christmas tree. In this category fall Christmas tree stands, artificial Christmas trees, and Christmas tree decorations. For the evaluation, the IPC classifications of the intellectual property rights were analyzed as content classification. The following pie chart shows the distribution of the most common IPCs:
Now the question arises as to what an invention in the field of light (illumination), Christmas tree, packaging or advertising means? What else could bright minds think of for Christmas, which is not yet conceived? Here are some exemplary inventions that may soon be found in the living rooms of this world.
Everywhere on top of the fire trees…………
“…there were sitting little golden lights“, as Knecht Ruprecht already saw in Theodor Storm‘s famous Christmas poem3. Perhaps this image inspired the Hamburg-based foreign trade company Wachsmut und Krogmann to invent a shining Christmas tree top. The following utility model drawing illustrates that this is a traditionally shaped fire tree top with a battery-operated lamp inside. A possibly annoying tangle of cables is bypassed by the battery in the radiant tip.
Fig. 3: Drawing from utility model DE202016002164U
Everything under control
Next, our research reveals an invention that tries to solve the problem of a tilting or crooked Christmas tree once and for all, in the truest sense of the word. First of all, a support plunger, similar to those used in mining, is clamped between the floor and the ceiling. A horizontal, height-adjustable arm (5) with a clamp (6) at the end of the arm (5) protrudes from this support. The clamp now grabs the trunk of the Christmas tree at the desired height and holds it in place. It hangs on the outstretched arm, no tilting or time-consuming alignment of the tree will disturb the Christmas atmosphere. Irrigation was also considered: a spherical water reservoir (10) hangs at the foot of the tree.
Fig. 4: Drawing of a Christmas tree holder from patent DE102015006183
Fifi celebrates, too
Although it may seem as if there are hardly any market niches left around Christmas, the next example shows that there is still plenty of room for creative inventions: Christmas is also supposed to be something special for our four-legged family members. So the faithful dog also gets a lovingly wrapped Christmas present and, that's the highlight: The wrapping paper is edible. So if the pet should also eat the wrapping paper, it will not cause it any stomach upset. Granted: this is pure luxury, but you can treat yourself to something for Christmas, right?
Fig.5: Drawing from patent DE 102015101754
With this in mind, FIZ Karlsruhe wishes you a Merry Christmas. And who knows: maybe in a quiet moment on Christmas you will get an idea of how to solve a Christmas problem that has always been nagging you. If so, don't hesitate to have your idea patented.