When Patents and Trademarks Go Bump in the Night


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Illustration of a patent for a winged suit to fly away from a burning building.
Illustration of a patent for a winged suit to fly away from a burning building.

Innovation comes in all shapes and forms, and every October the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) uses social media as a fun and timely way to educate the public about the importance of intellectual property (IP) and how it impacts their everyday lives. Halloween is crawling with countless examples of intellectual property. From the registered trademarks protecting the candy you eat and the costumes you wear, to the utility and design patents behind the tools to make them, IP is alive and well. 

Several years ago, the USPTO decided to explore the deepest and darkest corners of more than two centuries worth of patent and trademark archives as a seasonal extension of its Today in Patent and Trademark History series known as “Creepy IP.” Whether it’s the trademark for Ghostbusters®, a sound mark for Darth Vader®, a patent for a winged suit to fly away from a burning building, a patent for producing lifelike simulations to inanimate objects, or a patent for vampire-shaped pasta, the USPTO’s public records are full of interesting inventions and commercialized products from the past.

Since its initial launch in October 2011, the #CreepyIP hashtag has generated wide appeal and remains one of the USPTO's most successful interactive social media campaigns with other federal agencies, private companies, the press, and members of the general public routinely using the hashtag to contribute their own intellectual property-inspired posts. Part of the USPTO’s mission is to educate the public about the importance of IP, and it does this through programs throughout the year as well as digitally and with social media.

Creepy IP generates tremendous awareness by highlighting the touchpoints where patents and trademarks impact our daily lives. Innovation and creative endeavors are indispensable elements that drive economic growth and sustain the competitive (and sometimes creepy) edge of the U.S. economy. In turn, IP protection provides incentives to invent and protects innovators from unauthorized use of their creepy inventions.

View the USPTO’s Facebook album of Creepy IP posts. Follow the USPTO on Twitter and Facebook or contribute to #CreepyIP this October. Happy Halloween!

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Last updated: 2016-10-21 09:51

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