The Trademarks of Christmas Past

Although the tradition of bearing Christmas gifts is as old as the Christianity itself, Christmas celebration traditions with a Christmas tree are traced back to the 16th century Germany, with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert popularizing it in the UK and the US closer to the end of the 19th century.

The 20th century opened doors of opportunity for small businesses and corporations making time before Christmas the highest retail sales season in the US. New products and brands were created and trademarks registered.

Let’s take a look at the trademarks of Christmas past:

Teddy bear


Ideal Novelty & Toy Company catalog, 1950. Landauer GV1219.I44 1950.
Source: New-York Historical Society Museum & Library 

“Teddy’s bear” (later teddy bear) got its name in November 1902 after the US president, Theodore Roosevelt, refused to shoot a bear during the hunt. A teddy bear became one of the most popular Christmas presents in the 1910s and was selling fast. “Teddy bear” was never registered by its creator, Morris Mictom (Ideal Novelty & Toy Company), and soon the name became descriptive. In 1950 the first trademark listing teddy bear as a description under Nice class 28 was filed.

Today, over 50.000 live trademarks list “teddy bear” as a product description, with

  • 21.8 % of them filed in China,

  • 12.1% in South Korea,

  • 11.3 % in Russia.

Reese's

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups made of chocolate and peanut butter were introduced in 1928, whereas the first Reese's trademark was registered only in 1950 (the original trademark is no longer valid). Reese's is still one of the most popular chocolate candy brands in the US throughout the year including Christmas season.

The Pause That Refreshes


In the 1920s to support Coca-Cola’s sales during the winter season, the company started the series of Christmas ads. In 1931 Haddon Sundblom created his first Santa Clause illustration accompanying famous Coca-Cola “The Pause That Refreshes” slogan that became a registered trademark in 1989 in France. The Coca-Cola Company is known for taking good care of its intellectual property with their first Coca-Cola trademark  being registered in 1892. Today the company has around 400 Christmas related trademarks in its portfolio.

Spangler Candy Canes

Spangler

 

Spangler Candy Company established its confectionery production in 1906, however, the sales of peppermint candy canes started in 1954 when the production line was bought. Spangler was not the first one to start the production line of candy canes, but it is definitely of the brands we still know. The Spangler  trademark was registered in 1992 with “CANE CLASSICS”registered in 1991.

Today, candy canes are top selling candy in December according to the National Confectioners Association . Interesting to note that 43.6 % of trademarks listing “candy cane” in a product description are filed in Germany, the country the candy originated from.

"CHOO-CHOO" by Lionel Corporation

Lionel Corporation registered its first trademark (in class 28), “CHOO-CHOO” in 1941.  Already in 1950s company’s trains reached its peak of popularity, and many American families had their own train set around the Christmas tree.

Amico Christmas lights

Although the first Christmas lights were created by Thomas Edison and Edward Johnson (1880 &1882) and Albert Sadacca (1917), the first American trademark listing Christmas lights in its product description, “AMICO”, was registered in 1949 by Associated Manufacturers Co. The trademark expired in 1979.

 

Even though most of the Christmas traditions became popular in the 20th century, there is an endless list of products that reminds us of the Christmas past. The festive season became a key retail sales period in the US, and there are around one million Christmas related trademarks in the world (20% of them are filed in China).

Of course, many of the product names that remind us of Christmas past were never registered or became generic. You can always check if the brand was ever registered through our free ExaMatch Basic tool.


What is your favorite brand of Christmas past?

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