Everyone knows what a Christmas tree looks like — at least in the traditional sense. They are evergreen trees — or synthetic, evergreen-looking trees — of varying types and sizes, decorated with ornaments and lights. Though each person adds their own touch to the decorating, Christmas trees are all basically the same. And at the end of the season, families lug the heavy tree to the curb or do their best to shove the fake tree into a cardboard box, hopeful that they don’t bend or break any branches for the following year.
Lawrence “Bud” Stoecker was an architect and engineer who built A-frame homes in the Rocky Mountains in the middle of the century. Because money was tight, he would often make things instead of buying them and a family favorite was his unique Christmas tree. Matt Bliss grew up enjoying the creativity and modernity of the unique Christmas tree his grandfather built. Stoecker kept painstaking records, including notes, photos and pattern details of every part of the tree’s design each year, refining the tree’s design through the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. His grandson, Matt, reviewed his grandfather’s designs and used them as inspiration for his own sleek Christmas trees in the shape of an A-frame, like homes his grandfather designed during his career. Bliss wanted to patent his tree, to solve the dilemma of having a Christmas tree that looks like everyone else’s and how to store it. The tree is a work of art and is utterly unique, made of acrylic and ball chain. It weighs just 15 pounds fully decorated and collapses flat for storing.
Bliss met with several patent attorneys to discuss the likelihood of obtaining a patent on his grandfather’s tree. He felt that the attorneys at Leyendecker & Lemire seemed like the smartest he had encountered and felt that teaming with them gave him the most reasonable chance of getting the patent. He was right. Bliss obtained a patent for the Modern Tree in 2012 and followed up by returned to L&L for assistance in obtaining a patent for a half tree, which he also received in 2015.
Bliss says his experience with L&L has been great and they are wonderful communicators and problem solvers who gave Bliss the opportunity to obtain the appropriate intellectual property protections without wasting any money.
“The intellectual property rights they have helped me obtain have given me the confidence to take my product to the market knowing I have protection,” Bliss says.
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