Chocolate, bunnies and buns:  An eggs-amination of Easter related patents


It’s fast approaching Easter, and apart from being a Christian festival commemorating the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, and a couple of days off, what is it all about?  Well, chocolate, bunnies and buns of course.  Even these aspects of Easter are subject to innovation.

We’ll start with a couple of the public holidays, Good Friday and Easter Sunday, and Easter holidays in general.  These days aren’t fixed.  Easter Sunday is a movable feast, and is the first Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon occurring on or after 21 March.  It needs to be calculated every year, so what better than patenting a perpetual calendar that provides a mechanical calculation for Easter Sunday. 

A search string such as TAC=((good w1 friday), (easter w1 sunday), (easter w2 holiday*)) only provides twelve hits but nine of them relate to perpetual calendars.  The rest are a game, an advent calendar for Easter, and holiday specific programmable decorative lights.

The most recent of these specific to Easter Sunday was filed in 1992 (WO9402925) which will take us out to 2899AD when I imagine “It is Easter” will be replaced by “What is Easter?”. 

Moving on to the first thing one sees on Boxing Day.  Yes, it’s the hot cross bun.  A search string such as TAC=((hot w2 cross w2 bun*), ((spice* w2 bun*) + cross*)), again provides only a few results, and most of them appear to be related to a food composition that could be a hot cross bun, but there are a couple that relate to the actual cross.

They are both fairly old, about fourteen years apart, and by the same inventor, so he’s really dedicated to his craft, and thought he could do better.  GB660069 and GB1017524 are for edible crosses made from starch or rice paper that can be placed across a piece of dough prior to baking.

From buns to bunnies, and rabbits and hares.  The deliverer of the chocolate treats also gets a mention in patent literature.  A search string such as TAC=(easter w2 (bunn*, rabbit*, hare*)) finds a much larger number of results than the previous two strings.  Sadly for Australians, the search string TAC=(easter w2 bilby*) gives a zero result.

What do we find?  DE441794 from 1925 describes an egg laying bunny.  I don’t know how they get in there, but the eggs are pushed out by a spring operated by using the ears as a lever.

One for the parents of young children is US2009025590, which is a tool for laying down Easter bunny tracks.  It dispenses a powdery substance, such as flour, through holes in the base to create evidence that the Easter bunny actually exists.  Similarly, it can be used to create the tracks of reindeer and leprechauns.  

Other applications found include various toys, or shaped articles such as light bulbs or cookie cutters.  There is also US2011234850, which relates mainly to Christmas, but does mention the Easter bunny in claim 1, and relates to capturing fictitious characters on digital images, so another one for parents keeping small children’s beliefs alive.

Looking now at the main event, the Easter egg, we find we need to distinguish between the actual eggs and the hidden-message-or-image-in-a-game-or-film type Easter egg when we run a search string such as TAC=(easter w2 egg*). 

US10689555 describes an improved method of dyeing eggs where a dye-resistant paste can be applied to the egg so that more than one colour can be applied in an intricate pattern.  It’s a new twist on a traditional Easter activity they say has been happening for over 100 years.

Many of the applications filed that mention Easter eggs are to do with packaging and shop displays.  Mostly this is just boxes and plastic shells, but US10479550 takes things a little further and describes an egg-shaped package with a crack propagation line that mimics the breaking of an egg.

There are two applications that stand out in egg construction.  US2012321750 and US2009162493 appear to be taking the Russian doll approach with eggs within eggs within eggs.  I’m not sure there’s anything magical about how they are doing it, as each egg, and the product at the eventual centre, is covered in an inedible material such as foil, or is inedible, so there isn’t any inventive attempt to keep two chocolate shells apart when you would expect them to adhere together.

Harking back to an earlier article, Tales from the crypt, I did look for a couple of keyword phrases that have some connection to the other events said to have occurred at Easter.  Those phrases are “rising from the dead” and “raising the dead”.  They provide some results, but thankfully are nothing to do with Easter and replicating the resurrection of Jesus.  Have an egg-cellent Easter everyone.

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