Heavens to Murgitroyd

Our monthly feature dedicated to the humorous side of Intellectual Property...

No. 67

The Long Road To Success For Self-Driving Cars

Giving elderly and disabled people the opportunity to drive, reducing the number of traffic accidents and improving drivers’ working conditions – just some of the benefits of self-driving cars. Car automation has boomed in recent years, with developments taking place in the areas of parking assistance, automatic speed adjustment and steering wheel assistance. Google was […]


No. 66

Grabbing The Bull By The Horns

The Italian artist Arturo Di Monica has claimed that a “publicity stunt” installed in Wall Street in New York prior to International Women’s Day violates his artistic copyright. On Wall Street, pedestrians can view the statue of Arturo Di Monica, the Charging Bull, a bull ready to charge, a metaphor for the economic power of […]


No. 65

12 Famous Quotes from Inspiring Innovators

After the recent launch of Innovator Launchpad powered by Murgitroyd, we decided to look at some famous quotes from inspiring innovators for this month’s Heavens to Murgitroyd. We have compiled our list of quotes below but if you have any famous quotes that inspire you, please get in touch. Winston Churchill: “No idea is so […]


No. 64

Can a Racehorse’s Name Be Trade Marked?

The most valuable jump race in Europe, the Grand National, returns this weekend to Aintree and an estimated 500 to 600 million people in over 140 countries will be tuning in to see if their horse is first to make it past the finishing post. This led us to ask how racehorses like last year’s […]


No. 63

IP and the Oscars

Amongst the big questions following the recent Oscars ceremony was surely “is the intellectual property of the Oscars statue protected?” No? OK, maybe not but we thought it would be interesting to find out! It turns out that it is. The statuette, known commonly as the “Academy Award of Merit”, is registered with the US […]


No. 62

Coupling Romance with Intellectual Property

We love some of these romance-tinged Valentine’s Day-related patents. Maybe you could use some of these ideas on your loved one this February 14? Romantic Card – https://s3.amazonaws.com/USPDF/5318327.pdf To start us off we have the “Romantic Card” which on the face of it sounds like your standard Valentine’s Day card. However, the inventor here decided […]


No. 61

Extravagant New Year Patents

With New Year (or Hogmanay if you live here in Scotland) having just passed we thought we would take a look at some intriguing patents to do with New Year’s related inventions that might have helped you celebrate the big night. Synchronized confetti sprayer and descending illuminated ball – US 6260989 US patent 6260989 is […]


No. 60

Interesting Christmas Patents

Since it’s approaching that time of year again we thought it would be nice to take a look at a few fun and interesting Christmas patents that have been filed over the years. Santa Claus detector The Santa Claus Detector was designed as a novelty item for children that would signal the arrival of Santa […]


No. 59

The New US President and Intellectual Property

Unless you have been hiding in a cave, you will have probably heard that the United States voted for a new President this week. In this month’s Heavens to Murgitroyd we look at two trade mark matters relating to the soon to be inaugurated President Trump. “You’re Fired” Donald Trump once tried to trademark “You’re […]


No. 58

5 Accidental Inventions

Sometimes someone discovers something without the initial intention of doing so. In this month’s Heavens to Murgitroyd, we take a look at some common products in the modern world that have been discovered in just this way. 1. Penicillin Penicillin was discovered by Alexander Fleming in 1928 after Fleming left a dirty petri dish in […]


No. 57

From Puddings to Patents!

The Great British Bake off (www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b013pqnm) has returned to UK screens and we at Glasgow Heavens To Murgitroyd HQ are hooked! Therefore, this week we have decided to look into food patents that are equally as off the wall as the dishes we have seen on the show this week. The combination of a hamburger […]


No. 56

A Brief History Of Augmented Reality

In light of the recent popularity of the Pokémon Go game (we are just trying to get to grips with the phenomenon – along with various people it would seem, who have ended up in a number of strange situations in recent weeks whilst playing the game!), we thought we’d take a look this month […]


No. 55

From “Step-Over” to “Comb-Over”

As you may know, the European Football Championships are currently taking place in France and because of this we thought it would be fun to take a look at some interesting football patents. HOWEVER, whilst searching for such stories we stumbled across a US patent, a “Method of concealing partial baldness.” which was much more […]


No. 54

Words You Didn’t Know Were Registered Trade Marks

A trade mark helps you to identify and distinguish one party’s goods or services from another’s. Some companies do this well and have built whole businesses around particular words and phrases. Below is a list of words which are commonly used by the public but are in fact registered trade marks. This means the companies […]


No. 53

Silence, Tweets and “That’s Hot”

In this month’s Heavens to Murgitroyd we take a look at some unexpected copyright and trade mark disputes and how they ended up being resolved. Batt vs. Cage – Silent Song Dispute In 2002, Mike Batt had a very public dispute with the John Cage estate after Batt included a minute of silence on an […]


No. 52

Who's For a Nice, Relaxing Game of Golf?

As you may know, the 2016 Masters starts next week and because of this we thought we could take a look at some of the more interesting golf patents there have been over the years. The T3 Bionic Golfer We start with the T3 Bionic Golfer which looks more like a slightly tortuous way of […]


No. 51

You Need to Witness Some of These Fitness Patents to Believe Them!

Many of us will have started 2016 with the New Year’s resolution of going to the gym more or trying to eat more healthily. We are three months into the year and already a lot of us will have given up on that idea and gone back to the norm! This month we are looking […]


No. 50

Proposing on St Valentine's Day?

Are you planning to propose to your girlfriend or boyfriend tomorrow? It is St Valentine’s Day after all…. The UK Intellectual Property Office tweeted about this patent and we felt we had to share it: “Method and Instrument for Proposing Marriage to an Individual” which suggests that the actual patent application could be the method […]


No. 49

A Child Named Nutella?

In the news this week, a story about a French court preventing parents from naming their new baby daughter Nutella. It even made the BBC news page: link here. Noting that Nutella is an incredibly popular brand throughout France, and the rest of the world, the court was more concerned that the child would be subject […]


No. 48

Ever Wondered Why There Is No Copyright in Your Name?

Recently, in Canada, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench handled a most unusual case: Bank of Montreal v. Rogozinsky, 2014 ABQB 771. The defendant was sued by Bank of Montreal (BMO) for the outstanding balance on her credit card ($27,064) plus interest. The defendant counterclaimed against BMO for copyright and trade mark infringement to the […]


No. 47

Pogo Shoes and Beach Boots – Patented Footwear Extremes

Have you ever been strolling down the beach with your dog or wandering along the sandy coastline during a summer holiday and thought to yourself, “I need some footwear to make this journey easier.”? Well, if you’re amongst the few who have, Beach boots could be what you’ve been searching for! The US patent, issued […]


No. 46

Coffee Machines and Hackers – Not a Combination You’d Expect…

Did you know that digital rights management (DRM) is one of the tools used by companies to make sure we buy their branded coffee pods for our coffee machines? DRM is more commonly associated with music and films but hackers have cracked the DRM system on the Keurig 2.0 espresso machines. Nearly every kitchen in […]


No. 45

It’s Christmas! (Well, almost)

The Christmas songs have been playing in the shops since around mid-November and while we shoppers might be sick of hearing them, the authors of the most popular Christmas songs are laughing all the way to the bank. On “The World’s Richest Songs”, a programme by BBC4, three of the top ten songs were Christmas […]


No. 44

Could A Doughnut-Shaped Aircraft Really Take Off?

In Edition 33 of Heavens to Murgitroyd, we shared with you the patent application that Airbus had filed for an isolation helmet for air passengers who were frightened of flying to wear during their flight. Now the French company has filed a patent for a doughnut-shaped concept plane. The futuristic design has curved aisles and […]


No. 43

How many Footballers Can Say They Have a Patent?

Maximilian Beister, who plays for German Bundesliga side Hamburg, has gone against the trend of most footballers who spend their spare time with dozens of beautiful women, driving fast cars or playing computer games. Beister has been granted a European Patent for his invention, the Snaxcup. It was designed as a result of a trip […]


No. 42

Thanksgiving Trade Marks

This week’s Heavens to Murgitroyd has a Thanksgiving theme and looks at some of the associated trade marks. One of the best known traditions is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Paradefeaturing a huge variety of balloons, floats and performers. An estimated 70,000 people went to watch the parade on the streets of New York yesterday and […]


No. 41

Blurred Lines… In More Than One Sense of the Phrase

Released in 2013, “Blurred Lines” was one of the biggest hits of the year and topped music charts in 14 countries around the world. Marvin Gaye released a song in 1977 called “Got to Give It Up” and Gaye’s family have made numerous allegations of copyright infringement against “Blurred Lines” creators Robin Thicke, Pharrell Williams […]


No. 40

An Alternative Way of Skiing That Didn't Really Take Off

This week we pay a visit to a website that is a favourite of ours here at Heavens to Murgitroyd: www.totallyabsurd.com, a website dedicated to the daftest patents granted in the US! Of the dozens of patent titles in the archive, it was the “Shin Skis” that caught our eye this week. Consisting of what […]


No. 39

Empire Strikes Bock

Empire Brewing Company, a small brewery in New York, has found itself up against Lucasfilm, the production company behind Star Wars, in a trade mark dispute. Bock, a type of strong German lager, has been brewed by Empire for over 7 years but, until now, only on tap. Since deciding to bottle the beer and […]


No. 38

Since It's Halloween….

Since today is Halloween, we thought we would bring you a story today about a young girl who came up with an idea which was perfect for her parents’ costume-making business: a big, funny, furry, moustache. During a conversation at dinner time about the current trend for beards and moustaches with her family, Charlotte Berman, […]


No. 37

Did You Think Marty McFly’s Hoverboard Could Become Reality?

In 1989, ‘Back to The Future 2’ was released and lead character Marty McFly travelled from 1985 to 21 October 2015. One of the most memorable futuristic gadgets from the film was Marty’s hoverboard. Director Robert Zemeckis said during an interview for the film’s behind the scenes feature that the hoverboards were real but hadn’t […]


No. 36

Avoid Accidents with Google’s Warning System Patent

Have you ever had a near-miss because you’ve been paying more attention to your phone than the environment around you? I remember watching a young man walk into a lamppost because he was so engrossed in his mobile phone! Google has filed a patent which uses the location of the user to check the area […]


No. 35

One of the More Unusual Ways to Alleviate Road Rage

Earlier this week, we received an email from our in-house patent searcher with the subject “Daft Patent”. We were intrigued…. Upon opening the email attachment, we were presented with the US patent for “Device for Creating Wagging Motion Towards Rear of Vehicle”. And, in the spirit of Heavens to Murgitroyd where we bring you the […]


No. 34

Ukulele Orchestras at War!

The recent revival of the ukulele has resulted in ukulele orchestras appearing around the globe. The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain was formed 29 years ago and has played at venues including the Sydney Opera House, has released numerous albums and, according to their website, is “often blamed for the current ukulele revival”. How does […]


No. 33

Afraid of Flying? Here Is a Possible Solution….

Does even the thought of getting on an aeroplane fill you with dread? You’re not alone; many travellers suffer from aviophobia, a fear of flying. Aeroplane manufacturers Airbus have filed a patent application for a “sensory isolation helmet” that might help relax scared passengers. The helmet would be an optional attachment to the seat’s headrest […]


No. 32

A Patent-Filled Oktoberfest

Munich’s annual Oktoberfest starts on 20 September this year but did you know that the celebration has a closer link to intellectual property than just taking place in the same city as the European Patent Office. With growing visitor numbers from across the globe, there is a constantly growing demand for bigger and better rides, […]


No. 31

Have You Done an Ice Bucket Challenge?

Following the No Make-up Selfies for Cancer Research, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is the latest charity fundraising activity to go viral. For those who were unlucky enough to be nominated, the challenge was to pour a bucket of ice cold water over your head and then nominate someone else. The important part, which reports […]


No. 29

Coinye West’ Currency

We’ve seen a few digital currencies launched in recent years but one your might not have expected to see is one named after the famous rapper, Kanye West. In January 2014, ‘Coinye West’ was launched and it featured a cartoon representative of the rapper’s likeness. Some might have assumed he would have been pleased with […]


No. 28

Monkey Selfie – Who Owns the Rights?

If a monkey accidentally takes a ‘selfie’ or photo of itself with your camera, who do you think owns the copyright? That is exactly the conundrum facing photographer David J. Slater after a Macaque from Indonesia accidentally pressed the shutter button and took his own picture using David’s camera. The image, which became popular on […]


No. 27

Posters of Patents

Technical drawings from some of the most famous patent applications have been transformed into poster art for people around the world to enjoy in their homes. PatentPrints, who sell their posters on Etsy, have created really cool chalkboard-style poster versions of patent drawings and you can buy them for less than £5 each! Did you […]


No. 26

Protecting the Star Wars Brand

Have you ever considered changing your name by deed poll to your favourite TV or film character’s name? Laura Matthews from Southend did just that in 2008 when she added Skywalker as her middle name. However, when recently renewing her passport she has learned that the Home Office has very strict guidelines on protecting intellectual […]


No. 25

Even The Most Famous Footballers Have Their IP Problems

Christiano Ronaldo, one the most famous footballers in the world, is facing a trade mark battle in the United States. Sports enthusiast Christopher Renzi registered the trade mark ‘CR7’ in 2008 for use on jeans and t-shirts in the U.S. However, the CR7 logo is perhaps now more recognized and associated with Christiano Ronaldo and his […]


No. 23

You can redesign anything, even an axe!

A retired air traffic controller from Finland has developed a new type of axe – one that is designed to stop momentum immediately on impact. Believed to be the first redesign of the axe in over 8,000 years, the Leveraxe can cut through fire wood in one swipe, making it even more effective than conventional […]


No. 22

Football Boots – What Will They Look Like Next?

As we get ready for the Final of the 2014 World Cup, we thought we’d ask you a question we first spotted on the UK IPO website: What happened to black football boots? It is estimated that the first football boots were created in 1525 for King Edward VIII, when protection of the foot was […]


No. 21

Flying Flags

This week at Murgitroyd, we launched our refreshed brand by flying a new Murgitroyd flag at our Global Headquarters in Glasgow. Bearing this in mind, we decided we would focus this week’s lighter side of IP article on flags. Did you know that if you try to register a design with a flag of any […]


No. 20

Trade Mark Tennis

This week saw the start of the UK’s most famous tennis competition – Wimbledon! To celebrate the start of this year’s historic competition which will see Andy Murray, the first British male to defend the title in 77 years, we thought we’d share with you some trade mark tennis facts. Did you know that the […]


No. 19

Free Access to Patents?

Would you ever open up your patent portfolio for everyone to see and use? Well, that’s exactly what Elon Musk, Head of Telsa, did last week when he announced his company would not litigate against anyone who used their patents if they were being used in ‘good faith’. Telsa, an electric car manufacturer, faced great risks […]


No. 18

Could Your Next Board Member Be An Algorithm?

A venture capital firm has appointed ‘Vital’, a computer program, to its board of directors. The firm the algorithm will be ‘working’ for focuses on drugs for age related diseases. The algorithm is designed to make recommendations just like a human board member would. However, unlike a human, the algorithm will be able to make […]


No. 17

Is Photography Against A White Backdrop Patentable?

If you shop online, you have probably seen thousands and thousands of images photographed on white backgrounds; it’s not really an unusual thing to see. Amazon has recently been granted a patent for their ‘Studio arrangement’. Filed in 2011 and granted approval in 2014, their patent was filed to protect their ‘innovative’ method of photography. […]


No. 16

‘Fastening Pocket-Openings’ – The Blue Jean Patent

When do you think blue jeans were invented? 50 years ago? 100 years ago? How about over 140 years ago! On May 20th 1873, Jacob W. Davis and co-applicant Levis Strauss & Company were granted a patent for ‘Fastening Pocket-Openings’.  These pocket openings were copper rivet fasteners for durable trousers designed by Davis, a tailor […]


No. 15

Hidden Patents

Did you know that patents can be subject to secrecy orders? Under Section 22 of the Patents Act 1977 the UKIPO can prohibit and restrict the publication of information if it is prejudicial to the defence of the realm or to the safety of the public. As you can imagine, this would commonly be the […]


No. 14

Glasses for Chickens and Other Eyewear Inventions

Yes, you read that correctly. Glasses for Chickens; a legitimate patent filed in 1903! The original patent was filed by Andrew Jackson under the title ‘Eye-Protector for Chickens’ was designed to prevent chickens from pecking each other’s eyes out. Inventors in the coming years developed this idea creating red plastic lenses with rose tinted glass. […]


No. 13

Could you build your own computer? You could if you had a Raspberry PI!

Scientist Eben Upton and his colleagues at Cambridge University were concerned that young people no longer had the ‘hobbyist’ experience of building their own computers. Instead they had been learning about how to use word processors and spreadsheets rather than the code that created them. This resulted in a major drop in applicants choosing to […]


No. 12

The Real Bilbo Baggins and the Hungry Hobbit Café

Following on from last week’s World IP Day movie themed article, we thought we’d share with you another movie themed IP story, this time involving the famous Bilbo Baggins. The rights of the infamous Hobbit character and Tolkien’s novels belong to Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) and are, understandably, fiercely protected. Henry Spurway’s Bilbo Baggins (a […]


No. 11

Tattoos, Mike Tyson, Movies and Copyright!

If you’ve seen The Hangover Part II, you will know that one of the main characters, Stu Price, wakes up after a night out in Bangkok with a tattoo on his face. This tattoo was exactly the same as Mike Tyson’s and alluded to his cameo appearance in the original, The Hangover, film. Warner Bros. […]


No. 10

A New Way to Commute – A Briefcase on Wheels?

So most of us travel to work by car, train or by bus so carrying a heavy bag might not be too much of an issue but what if you travel by skateboard? Well inventor Alexei Novitzky from Florida had just this problem and went on to solve it himself by inventing his own ‘briefcase […]


No. 9

Trade mark, trademark or trade-mark?

How to spell trade mark correctly in our news articles has been an interesting topic of conversation in our office this week. Have you ever noticed the difference and questioned your own spelling? Is it one word? Two words? Or something else? As far as we can see, the spelling of trade mark is completely […]


No. 8

What would be your ideal Girl Scout patch?

If you were in the Girl Scouts, what patches would you be looking to earn? You might expect to earn one for first aid, selling cookies or helping others. However,  the Girl Scouts are leading the way with some less traditional badges, in support of increasing interest in STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths), […]


No. 7

Rock’n’Roll Star Applies for ‘Britpop’ Drinks Trademark

Alex James, the former bass player of Blur, may not be someone you usually associate with Intellectual Property. However, in a move away from the music scene, Alex bought a farm and began producing cheese and has since expanded into the drinks market. Not something you’d expect from a rock’n’roll star. Alex has recently applied […]


No. 6

A Spree of Trademark Infringement

Copying a logo, shop layout, cup design, menu boards and even staff uniforms of a worldwide coffee chain would be a blatant breach of copyright leading to a costly and lengthy court case, you would think? This is what you would have assumed when ‘Dumb Starbucks’ opened in Los Angeles a few weeks ago. Almost […]


No. 5

Would you settle a copyright dispute with an arm wrestle?

That is exactly what Southwest Airlines (SWA) and Stevens Aviation did after SWA mistakenly started using the copyrighted slogan ‘Just Plane Smart’. The CEO of Stevens Aviation challenged SWA to an arm wrestle where the winner would be the holder of the rights to the slogan.Stevens won the match but out of kindness allowed Southwest […]


No. 4

Could Lego be replaced by 3D Printing?

Lego are looking into how they can best get ahead of, or at least keep up with, technological advances in 3D printing. 3D printing creates the possibility for users to make the building blocks themsleves and, already there are companies offering to make personalised figurines. Clearly, there is a threat to Lego’s IP here and […]


No. 3

Innovative Approach to Ornithology

With spring just around the corner, nature lovers will soon be welcoming a variety of birds and other animals into their gardens and will be watching the leaves returning to the trees and little flowers popping up in the flowerbeds. However, you can now get closer than ever to nature with the “Head Bird Feeder” […]


No. 2

A Cozy Coupé for Adults?

Many of you may remember a small red and yellow car from when you were little; an iconic children’s toy, which has sold over 22 million units in the last 35 years. So how would you like to be taken back to your youth and drive one again – this time on the road?  Well, […]


No. 1

'Heavens to Murgitroyd'

In our first “Heavens to Murgitroyd!” feature, we would like to share a flow chart that the funny folks at IPCopy have produced. Inventors often stumble along the path of obtaining a patent. This chart could help you before you even get started with its frank and amusing answers that you perhaps would not get […]