Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. The day for couples, candy, and cava. But, I bet you’ve never taken time to think about the historical patents and trademarks behind some of your favorite Valentine’s Day gifts. As dedicated IP sleuths, we have! Caring is sharing, so below we have compiled some interesting tid-bits on the trifecta of Valentines gifts, flowers, candy and champagne!
Roses are synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Ironically, the first plant patent was given to Henry Bosenberg of New Jersey for a climbing rose in 1931 (U.S. PP1). And speaking of roses, red roses are the most common choice for Valentines. Fred Howard of California received a patent for just that, a hybrid red tea rose, described as perfect for Valentine’s Day in his patent application in 1950 (U.S. PP953).
2. Sweethearts Candy
The history of conversation hearts, or Sweethearts, begins before the Civil War in 1847. Oliver Chase, a Boston pharmacist, was looking for a better way to manufacture lozenges, a popular medical remedy of the time. In the process of developing his manufacturing model, Chase inadvertently created the first candy making machine, and eventually started his own company -New England Confectionery Company (NECCO) wafers. Legends say the NECCO wafers were carried by soldiers during the Civil War and the conversation hearts were created as a form of love letter. Romantic, huh!?
Oliver eventually went into business with his brother Daniel who saw the growing popularity of Valentine’s Day and decided they should cash in on the booming market.
The original candies were bigger than today’s version and featured sayings like “HOW LONG SHALL I HAVE TO WAIT? PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE.” In 2018, Spangler Candy, the makers of Dum-Dums, bought the distressed candy company. According to a statement on the candy maker’s website:
“In 2018 Sweethearts were in danger of disappearing forever when their owner went bankrupt and there was no one to save the brand. As a century-old candy maker, Spangler knew how important Sweethearts were to the Valentine season. ... In 2020, Spangler was able to return Sweethearts to store shelves in limited quantities after a major effort to relocate and rebuild the production equipment, find the original recipe and return classic flavors to the mix like wintergreen and banana.”
Lastly, what would a Valentine’s Day celebration be without some bubbly? If you’re sipping some middle of the road vino from your local grocery store, most likely it’s not real Champagne, which holds a protection status. A 1990 law ensures that everything labeled Champagne comes from the Champagne region of France, a form of purity and brand protection if you will. The reputation and exclusiveness of champagne has long been coveted by other wine makers around the world, leading to hundreds if not thousands of counterfeits and copycats. The Champagne Bureau, or Bureau Du Champagne, represents the Comite Champagne trade association, which represents the interests of all the grape growers and winemakers from Champagne, FR. Located in Washington, DC, the group works to protect Champagne in the United States and around the globe.
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