June 18, 2021

Recognizing Juneteenth

Congress has passed, and President Biden has officially signed into law, a bill that makes June 19th — Juneteenth — a national holiday. Juneteenth is the anniversary of the June 19, 1865, announcement of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas. President Lincoln’s January 1, 1863, Emancipation Proclamation officially outlawed slavery in the rebelling states, but enforcement in remote Texas was spotty at best. Ironically, after June 19, 1865, slavery remained legal in two Union states — Delaware and Kentucky — for another six months until the December 6, 1865, ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery nationwide.

To date, only one U.S. patent references Juneteenth: Ivy Antrinette Marlonia’s U.S. Patent No. 8,136,962, on Remote Controlled Hideaway Holiday and Party Lighting. According to Ivy, her party lighting can be used to celebrate a number of occasions, including Juneteenth:

image 4 | Intellectual Property Law Firm | Harness IP

With the holiday’s new status as a federal holiday — even the USPTO announced it will be closed today in observance of Juneteenth — can we expect to see more patents referencing the holiday by this time next year? We assume so, but time will tell.