Obscure Patent: The Beerbrella

US Patent No. 6,637,447
Issued October 28, 2003

Here is a great invention, and one that is particularly appropriate to profile now that the heat of the summer has arrived. This device gets included here as an obscure patent because it is rather simple, something you don’t see every day, and completely ingenious. An umbrella for your beer! How awesome is this? If the price is right who wouldn’t buy this as a gag gift for their favorite beer drinker? It would seem that this invention would have to be in every Spencer Gift store across the country. Think of the possibilities with respect to the umbrella portion. Who could resist the opportunity to buy a beerbrella with the logo of your favorite sports team? This invention reminds us that frequently simple inventions, or inventions that make people smile or laugh, can be quite lucrative.

The US Constitution says that Congress can provide for the issuance of patents to further the progress of science and the useful arts. That is the goal, but there is no requirement that every invention be a scientific breakthrough. Almost anything that is useful can be patented in the US, and what is more useful than keeping the sun off your beer on a hot summer afternoon?

During the Fall of 2006 I cooresponded with the inventor of this invention, who just so happens to be a patent attorney. He found this page while doing a search and made contact via e-mail. He explained that he felt like he needed an example of a patent application he drafted that he could show to clients. He came up with this invention, filed the application and received a patent. He obtained a writing sample, and a very interesting invention! You never know what will be a good invention, and sometimes things that are funny and unique are better than things that are “real” but which no one is interested in.

The Patent Abstract states:

The present invention provides a small umbrella (“Beerbrella”) which may be removably attached to a beverage container in order to shade the beverage container from the direct rays of the sun. The apparatus comprises a small umbrella approximately five to seven inches in diameter, although other appropriate sizes may be used within the spirit and scope of the present invention. Suitable advertising and/or logos may be applied to the umbrella surface for promotional purposes. The umbrella may be attached to the beverage container by any one of a number of means, including clip, strap, cup, foam insulator, or as a coaster or the like. The umbrella shaft may be provided with a pivot to allow the umbrella to be suitably angled to shield the sun or for aesthetic purposes. In one embodiment, a pivot joint and counterweight may be provided to allow the umbrella to pivot out of the way when the user drinks from the container.

To see other crazy and weird patents see our Latest Obscure Patent Blog Posts.


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One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for robertplattbell]
    December 1, 2008 10:49 pm

    What was scary about writing and filing this Patent was that there were about five (5) other close Prior Art references found by the Examiner (that my quick online search missed). So the overall concept was not only not novel, it was tried many times – and has yet to be succesfully marketed by anyone. I received a number of calls about it, though….

    What catapulted this Patent to Internet fame (I have lost track of the number of websites, magazines, books, and even TV shows that have featured or mentioned it) was the trademark BEERBRELLA, which I modesly admit was my innovation (incredibly, this invention took three people to come up with, but there was beer involved, you see).

    The Patent has since expired, so the idea is in the public domain AFAIK.

    By the way, with the issuance of this Patent, I am now listed in the database of the USPTO as an Examiner, a Patent Attorney, and now an Inventor as well. I wonder how may others have made this trifecta.