Patented electronic cigarettes
Recently a busload of passengers were detained by police on a motorway when someone used an electronic cigarette, as reported by the BBC.
This certainly gave publicity to the concept of trying to quit by using a device that delivers the impression and sensation of smoking, usually with nicotine. According to the Wikipedia article on electronic cigarettes "The device's components usually include a small liquid reservoir, a heating element, and a power source, which may be a battery or a wired USB adapter."
The article cites the first patent as by Herbert Gilbert. This is the Smokeless non-tobacco cigarette, applied for in 1963. A list of patent specifications in the relevant class published through the PCT "World" system is here.
I have before me an example of one that was recently handed to me outside a railway station. A pen-like device, encased in a clear plastic case, the wrapping states that it contains nicotine to the equivalent of 60 cigarettes. The name is Freedom e-cigs, and boasts of being the "UK's top e-cig." According to the website, a good point in its favour is "good throat kick", which sounds very odd to this confirmed non-smoker.
As so often, the company missed a trick by not asserting the use of the trade mark as registered by using the familar Â® icon. UK trade mark 2578582 was registered in July 2011. While not required, it shows that the company is determined to protect its intellectual property. Here is the full trade mark.