Okay, Listen Here

Okay, Listen Here

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Patenting the Kiss

As writers we all love our romantic scenes. The hero leans in, the heroine is breathless, anticipation fills the air, their lips almost meet and….wait! Does this violate some patent law? Can you patent a kiss, especially a romantic kiss?

In one of the smartest marketing moves I have seen since the Chick-Fil-A cows, Harlequin has filed a seven-page patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. How brilliant is that? I was floored when I read it on AOL Weird News. According to the article, Harlequin’s application sets forth a three-step process to the romantic kiss. Step one – the kissers “deploy the muscles around the mouth…to shape their lips in a manner conducive to kissing.” Step two – “The Approach” is where the kissers bring their faces into “close proximity.” Step three – “The Seal” involves the lips touching in “varying degrees of pressure and intensity.” The application went on to note that the lips may “remain attached for an indeterminate period of time.” The article quoted Michelle Renaud, senior manager of Public Relations at Harlequin, as saying the intent of this application is to remind lovers of the lost art of romance. According to experts interviewed in the article, the application won’t get past the “novelty” stage because it doesn’t contain a new or interesting take on an existing invention. Harlequin states unequivocally that the “romantic kiss”, if they are granted the patent, will remain in the public domain, free to users everywhere!

This is a diagram of the romantic kiss taken from Harlequin's patent application. Aren't they a cute couple!

I applaud them on this. In these times when sex and love are equated everywhere, the public should be reminded about ROMANCE. Harlequin simply wanted to bring that to the attention of people – we could all use a little romance in our lives. Besides, it was so very savvy to do this. Just imagine what will happen if they are granted the patent! Kisses everywhere will have to have the Harlequin logo on them. Only kidding. If the kiss remains in the public domain, there is no need for that. But they could if they wanted to…

What do you think about patenting the romantic kiss? What other marketing ploys have you noticed lately, like my all-time favorite black and white cows?


  1. I'd been noticing lately that two of the surest ways of getting people's attention in our curent society seem to be patenting something...or filing a lawsuit. Both are regularly being used to stir up publicity -- both can be brilliant marketing ploys in their own right. Although, I'm fairly convinced that attempting to patent is the most cost-effective... not to mention the least likely to provoke a bar fight. Even if this cheeky little stunt by Halequin doesn't inspire anyone beyond the initial snicker, they've gotten their name out there in a different and memorable way. You have to give them props for that.

    It would be fun to see if/how the news of this affects their sales statistics! ...Okay, so 'fun' is a subjective term. Pardon my geekiness. ;)

    ~Angela Blount

  2. Too funny. And very smart. This is why romance book sales increased when others plummet.

    My favorite advertisement ploy? Mayhem. I laugh every time at every single one of them.

  3. What a festive idea this is! Good for them...would be cool if they get the patent.

    Ah, Jean, my Dark Knight and I enjoy a little Mayhem, too. The GPS one is particularly funny.

  4. You're so right RP! This has definitely gotten Harlequin publicity. Whoever thought this one up should get a raise!!!

    Jean and Crystal, I love the Mayhem ones too. Especially the one where he is the teenager cutting the grass and throws rocks through everything. I laugh every time.

  5. My favorite advertising ploys: Mayhem and the E-trade baby. Both of them make me laugh out loud. Every time.


  6. Oooo, E-trade baby. Yes! Those ads are a scream, too.

  7. Gotta love a kiss, patented or spontaneous!

    I have to agree with everyone who's commented. Mayhem is one of the best advertising ploys on t.v. right now. Gotta laugh at the one where he's driving the pink car and acting like a teenage girl. LOL!

    I studied advertising in college. Wanted to be an Ad Exec until I realized how many times I'd get stabbed in the back. "Advertising is not a business for the faint of heart," and we were told that 'if you don't like stress, this is not the job for you." End of line. I was out of there so fast, I left skid marks.

    Here are some great ones:

    "Where's the beef?"

    OJ (Orange Juice and OJ Simpson)

    All-State Commercials

    State Farm, where people say, "State Farm is there," and fabulous things happen like a gakoozi landing in your apartment.

    Target's target and the white dog with the target on his eye.

  8. I've always wanted a 'gakoozi' to land in my house. LOL! Where's spellcheck when you need it. *jakoozi*

  9. LJ, that E-trade baby is great. I like the one where he's talking to the dog about getting a warning. I nearly choked from laughing at it the first time I saw it.

    Kathy, do you mean Jacuzzi? That's the brand name of one of those jetted tubs (I actually have a Jacuzzi in the master bath). I had to think about it because I am slow and didn't get it at first. Geez...
    You're right about Mayhem erratically driving the pink car in the parking because he/she is upset over some teenage drama. Pretty funny! And, not because he went to AU and law school with me but I like the Yellow Fellow. He brings back fond memories of going to the Saturday Matinee and watching cowboys serials. The commercials are hokey but hey, I like Lemondrop.

  10. Oh, I love those All-State commercials...I wish I could just conjure up some muscled up guy out of thin air all for myself.

    The Mayhem ads are also to funny!!

  11. I just saw a good one. The Ladders. Starts with average looking people in cubicles and mmeting rooms with wind blowing their hair; stroking themselves and posing suggestively in slow motion. Gestalt of commercial is that "Ladders" knows how to make you attractive to employers.