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IP is in the air

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Copyright, Design, Patents

I am a hopeless romantic. I adore everything to do with love and everything associated with Valentine’s Day. Across the world, sweethearts celebrate the day by gifting their loved ones a variety of popular romantic goodies including flowers, cards, jewellery and chocolate.

I always spend what seems like forever searching for the perfect gift for my partner. After scouring numerous retailers then reading an abundance of cards, I started thinking about all the weird and wonderful IP associated with Valentine’s Day.

Calendar with a heart drawn around February 14th, surrounded by red chocolate hearts and a bunch of red roses

I asked myself if I were to create my very own poem or greetings message inside the card, could someone else use it? How could I prove that the poem was my creation?

From sonnets, to love letters or romance novels, they will be protected by copyright as a literary work, providing they are original. Copyright is automatic and exists as soon as the work is recorded in some form, in writing for example.

Fun fact: the first 'valentine' was actually a few lines in a poem written by Charles, the Duke of Orléans, in 1415 when he was 21 years old!

While writing love letters or poems was the traditional way to woo your partner, choosing a mate has also progressed through the ages with the advancements in technology. A survey on UK online dating from Comscore discloses that more than 7.6 million of us visited a dating app or site in June 2019. And we’re not in it for a few swipes either. The average dating app user spends 191 minutes searching for their future love and one in five relationships in the UK now begins online!

Close up of computer keyboard with greyed out button that reads find love

Taking it one leap further, eHarmony filed a patent for its unique compatibility matching system. The method uses data from the study of thousands of married couples to predict long-term compatibility between two people. According to Business Insider, UK online dating apps contribute £11.7 billion to the UK economy every year.

That’s not the only patent filed in the name of love though. If you’re looking to gift your loved one with something a little less technologically focused, here are some patents filed in the name of romance...

In 2005, a patent for the 'stationery pack with lipstick applicator' was filed. The stationery pack comprises of writing paper, postcards or greeting cards, along with a lipstick so the sender can kiss the paper/card before sending. How romantic!

Red lipstick and love heart drawn with lipstick on white background

As well as being a fan of all things Valentine’s Day, another passion of mine is walking. Whether it be a mountain hike or a brisk romantic stroll, I just love being outdoors - but we all know that February isn’t renowned for its nice weather! However, I can keep my head dry AND celebrate Valentine’s Day with this heart-shaped umbrella, the design for which was granted to Nick Clarke of the US in 2009.

So, whether you’re writing love poems, creating the next big invention or designing romantic cards, make sure you’re hopelessly devoted to understanding IP to get the credit you deserve!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

To learn more about IP and see how you can protect your assets, use our interactive online learning tool, IP Equip.

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  1. Comment by Paula Davy posted on

    Hi Peter

    Thanks for reading our blog and for your comments. We've amended the details on the heart umbrella so that it's more clear for our readers.


  2. Comment by Peter Smith posted on

    By the way, it's station*e*ry. Remember: "e" for envelopes!

  3. Comment by Peter Smith posted on

    I don't want to dampen your ardour but:

    - Surely the "compatibility matching system" wouldn't be technical enough to be patented in Europe? (It appears the owner hasn't tried.)

    - The stationery pack looks like an obvious combination of known items and the patent was never granted.

    - The heart-shaped umbrella is a nice example but a potentially confusing one. It's a US "design patent" that protects the appearance of the article, so the equivalent of our registered designs and not what we would consider to be a patent here.