Valentine’s Day Gifts, with a Patent Twist

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. In fact it is only one week away, so if you don’t already have any plans in the works consider this a warning shot across the bow!

There is a lot riding on the proper selection of gift on Valentine’s Day. If you pick a gift like a kitchen gadget, no matter how cool, even if it is a counter-top paper towel holder on wheels or a bagel slicer shaped like a bagel (see Successful Inventions) you should anticipate sleeping on the couch or in the dog house or on the couch in the dog house!

With this in mind we thought we might point to a couple tried and true holiday gifts that are sure to win the heart of your significant other, or at least insure that you don’t wind up with an awful lot of explaining to do.

Of course, upon identifying the proper category of gift we then turn to the United States Patent and Trademark Office to find patent references to help further explore. And who said patents can’t be fun?


Lingerie-attached human arousal indicator
US Patent Application No.

According to Men’s Health, the #3 gift idea for women on Valentine’s Day is lingerie. So we set out to find some patent related lingerie and find some we did!

One of the more interesting things we located relates to lingerie attached to a human arousal indicator. So not only does it quality for lingerie, but it also give the guy a little heads up about whether the wearer is sexually aroused — that is in case the fact that your significant other stripping down to lingerie wasn’t enough of a clue.

In any event, this invention is to provide a visual indication of human sexual arousal at a distance from those parts of the human anatomy that respond to sexual stimulation. More particularly, lingerie is provided with mood beads or stones that change color upon detected skin temperature, with the mood beads or stones being incorporated into women’s panties, especially in the crotch area, or in brassieres, either in the cup or within the straps.

Claim 1 explains the method like this: “A method for indicating human sexual arousal, comprising the steps of: locating mood stones on underwear such that the mood stones are adjacent erogenous zones when the underwear is in place; and, wearing the underwear in sight of an individual to be alerted to the wearer’s arousal state.”

For those who might be curious, this lingerie will never be patented. The application was abandoned March 11, 2009, for failure to respond to a final rejection issued September 9, 2008. What prior art did the examiner use against this innovation? The examiner believed that a toddler’s training undergarment (Kemper) when crossed with decorative skin jewelry (Frenger) made this lingerie with arousal indicator unpatentable due to obviousness.

The examiner wrote:

Kemper discloses an undergarment with a decorative patch 20 thereon with decorative elements 18 as seen in figures 1-4. Frenger discloses decorative mood stones that adhere to a wearer. Additionally, applicants’ specification indicated that such mood stones are widely available… Accordingly it would have been obvious to one having ordinary skill in the art at the time the invention was made to substitute the deocrative items on the patch with the mood stone of Frenger or any other well known bead such as those indicated in applicant’s specification.

The examiner also finally rejected the claims under 35 U.S.C. 112, 2d paragraph,explaining: “It is still the examiner’s position that the mood stones only indicated a wearer’s temperature change and do not indicate sexual arousal or even a mood change.”

In any event, if you are unable to locate this particular lingerie to purchase for the lady in your life, why not try Fredrick’s of Hollywood, which currently has free shipping for orders of $25 or more.


Animated heart novelty display
US Patent No. 4,608,771

Nothing says I love you like a pulsating heart!

The innovation here relates in general to certain new and useful improvements in gift or greeting devices and more particularly, to gift or greeting devices having a three dimensional stylized representation of a human heart which are capable of moving in an action to represent the palpatating action of a human heart.

The device that is the subject of this patent is an “emotional gift device” in the form of a stylized representation of a human heart. The display comprises a container having a three dimensional human heart representation located therein. A motor which is not visable to the viewer, but which operates a drive shaft which, in turn, rotates a cam upon actuation of a switch. The rotation of the cam causes the stylized representation of the human heart to oscillate in a manner similar to the pumping action of a human heart.

I can’t seem to find anywhere you might be able to purchase this gift, but I did stumble across an interesting heart in hand sculpture when looking to find whether this animated heart novelty display is available for sale online.


Dual purpose display case for wrist watch and other jewelry
US Patent No.6,378,696

Red Envelope’s list of Valentine’s Day gifts for him is heavy on watches, as well as beer, but let’s focus on watches for now.

This invention relates to a display case for jewelry, such as a wrist watch. The housing provided is formed of a receiving shell and a cover closeable over the shell, a display mount within the housing for supporting the jewelry, and a multi-tiered rack within the housing adjacent the display mount. The preferred embodiment employs a foamed structure to serve as a mount which includes an outer frame surrounding a cavity and a support upon which the wrist watch rests and can form-fittingly be lodged within the cavity. The multi-tiered rack has a series of plates pivotally moveable from a horizontal to a vertical position.

But wait, there is more! This is not just an ordinary display case for a watch, which will be thrown away moments after the watch is received. No! The housing doubles as a CD holder. Yes, a CD disc can be stored within the pocket of each plate. Thus, when the primary purpose of the display case for showcasing jewelry has been completed, simply discard the foamed mount and now the housing can be employed as a case for the storage of CD discs.

While I couldn’t find this device anywhere online, has an enormous selection of watches to choose from.


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Join the Discussion

One comment so far.

  • [Avatar for Tim McCarthy]
    Tim McCarthy
    February 7, 2013 10:00 am

    One of the examples given by the USPTO on its patent search page is in/newmar-Julie. Julie Newmar was, of course, Catwomen, but she was also the inventor of an improvement to lingerie.