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A Happy Patent Holiday: The importance of IP protection for consumer products, and the patents behin

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer and shopping for the perfect holiday gifts. With the holiday season seeming to start earlier each year, there is an increased range of incentives and sales to get consumers to open their wallets. In fact, about thirty percent of annual retail sales occur between Black Friday and Christmas,1 and for some retailers that percentage is even higher. As a result, the holiday shopping season is crucial for consumer product manufacturers and retailers alike to capitalize on the surge in consumer spending. This may be best evidenced by the one or two toys that become the “must have” gifts for children, or for young at heart adults, each year. These “must have” toys often lead to desperate last minute shoppers paying above list price to make sure their loved one is not disappointed on a special holiday. Behind all the holiday hustle and bustle is the intellectual property (IP) protection that assists in the commercial success of these sought after products. A combination of copyright, trademark, and patent protections can be utilized by manufacturers and retailers to keep the toys from being copied by competitors trying to cash in on the frenzy and popularity of an item. Getting into the spirit of the holiday season, let’s take a look at the patents behind some of the most successful toys and how those patents helped protect the sale of these toys during the holiday season and beyond.

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