Since 1941, the Fourth of July has been a federal holiday in the United States, but the festive traditions for Independence Day go back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2nd, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence and two days later the Declaration of Independence was drafted by Thomas Jefferson. From 1776 to today, July 4th has been observed as the birth of American independence with celebrations, including fireworks, parades and concerts, as well as barbecues and family parties.
To honor this prominent celebration of patriotism, we’re rounding up some popular aspects of the Fourth of July and their trademarks, copyrights and patents that enhance this mid-summer occasion.
A prevalent symbol of the holiday is the American flag.
In general, an authentic US flag cannot receive a trademark, and it does not have an official patent. However, if it is not a true representation of the US flag, it is possible to trademark a simulated or stylized flag design. For example, a flag design would be registrable if it was substantially obscured by other items in the logo or if it wasn’t in the typical flag shape.
A patent that helps display the broad stripes and bright stars is the flagpole by inventor Robert Ellis in 1945, patent number US 2530654 A. Check out more details about the flagpole patent here: https://www.google.com/patents/US2530654
A common melody heard is “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the national anthem of the United States.
Francs Scott Key wrote the words by the dawn’s early light in September of 1814. His words were later declared the national anthem of the United States, which then became public domain to all U.S. citizens and enterprises. Nobody owns the rights to the lyrics and its accompanying musical score because according to American law, anything published before 1923 is in the public domain. So, feel free to sing the National Anthem loudly and proudly on July 4th without seeking copyright permission from anyone.
The exploding identifier of July 4th is the fireworks display.
Patent: Launcher for launching multiple fireworks projectiles, Patent Number:
US 5282455 A, Granted: 1994
It’s not really a proper July 4th until you’ve witnessed those bombs bursting in air. There are multiple firework patents protected via the USPTO since the mid 19th century, one including a Launcher for sending multiple fireworks projectiles sky-high. We can’t have a true fireworks celebration display without having a fireworks launcher. With the below patent, fireworks can light up the air with large and exciting blasts, instead of being limited to launching a single firework at a time.
“A launcher for holding and successively launching a plurality of projectiles, such as fireworks projectiles, which explode into an aerial pyrotechnic display.” Pyrotechnic displays, commonly referred to as fireworks or fireworks displays, have been created and enjoyed for centuries by millions of people.” Read more about the details via the google patent page: https://www.google.com/patents/US5282455?printsec=abstract#v=onepage&q&f=false
BBQ’s – a familiar activity for July 4th.
Family and friends gathering for food, drinks, and sparklers is a typical scene in the beginning of July that tends to last all summer long. A popular invention used for preparing summertime fare is the grill. Inventors have spent years developing systems and tools to create barbecues and grills in an array of designs, fueled in a number of different ways.
Patent: Barbecue Grill and Smoker; Patent Number: US 20110120442 A1; Granted: 2011
“It is generally known that home cooks desire to produce consistently appetizing food requiring a minimum of effort and skill. A very common technique is to cook outdoors using a barbecue grill, fueled by propane, charcoal, natural gas, or wood in some combination. These devices, which include a wide variety of cooking structures and cooking methods, use different combinations of heat, smoke, humidity, and food placement in order to transform raw food into a superior finished product. These devices include have names such as gas grills, charcoal grills, electric smokers, gas smokers, water smokers, and slow smokers, among others. The most common and easiest to use of these is the simple propane grill. The present invention represents a modification of the standard propane grill that allows it to serve as both a slow smoker and to simulate cooking over a wood fire.” Read more about the details via the google patent page: https://www.google.com/patents/US7168363
On those hot July days, a treat to cool off with is a popsicle.
Patent: Frozen confectionery; Patent Number: US 1505592 A; Granted: 1924
In 1905, 11-year old Frank Epperson left a syrupy drink containing a stir stick outside on a cold night in Northern California. He awoke the next day to find that he had accidentally invented the summertime treat, the popsicle. Epperson’s childhood invention has proved to be successful and long lived: These days, some 2 billion Popsicles are sold each year. (NPR)
“It is among the objects of the invention to provide a method or process for making a frozen confection of attractive appearance, which can be conveniently consumed without contamination by contact with the hand and without the need for a plate, spoon, fork or other implement.” Read more details here: https://www.google.com/patents/US1505592
In case you were wondering, popsicle is trademarked—for “flavored and colored water frozen on a stick.” Unilever, which owns Good Humor, holds the trademark today, along with Creamsicle, Fudgsicle, and Yosicle (frozen yogurt on a stick), and indeed the combining form -sicle itself (their website helpfully groups them as the “SICLE TM Trademark Family”).
Last but not least, kicking back with a refreshing beer is a necessity.
What better way to salute America than to drink an American brew. The Yuengling family has been making beer in America for nearly 200 years and is the oldest brewery still in operation in the U.S. It’s trademark: YUENGLING TRADITIONAL LAGER SINCE 1829 BY AMERICA’S OLDEST BREWERY.
Cheers to America’s birthday!