THE BEST SELLING TOY OF THIS CHRISTMAS SEASON IS PATENTED

A few months ago I, published an entry in this blog about the relationship between sex, morality and patents, an entry which, as expected, has become the most visited of all the entries published in my blog.  The idea I intended to convey was that morality varies over time, and therefore so do inventions that are excluded from patentability for being contrary to morality.

This holiday season we are witnessing a clear example. Little did we suspect some decades or years ago that a sex toy was going to become one of the best-selling products in this typical shopping time. I hope that with this new entry I will able to complete the one published last Summer.

Yes, the so-called “clitoris-sucker” or “suction vibe” is right now the subject of numerous articles in the general press ( (in Spanish)  ABC, La Vanguardia)) and reviews in magazines such as “Glamour” and  “Cosmopolitan”.

As is usually the case whenever a new product is so commercially successful, there are some patents involved. In the Spanish journal “El Periódico”(in Spanish) and in this magazine (wear your voice magazine) (In English), the man who seems to be the first inventor of this kind of devices is interviewed. The name of this Bavarian inventor is Michael Lenke and his wife provided him with her feedback about the different prototypes he developed. He and his wife founded their own company “womanizer” to sell the product. Today, several companies commercialize some variants of the device, such as “satisfyer” and “sona lelo”.

Michael Lenke’s first patent was filed on 23/09/2013. The European patent from this family already granted is EP2976057B1, validated in Spain with the number ES2717437T3.

Later the German company Eis rolled out similar devices under the trademark “satisfyer”, which could be regarded as knock-offs or improvements, depending on the point of view. These devices are protected by the European Patent EP3228297B1 and the patent family WO2017174607.

A patent war has broken out between these two companies. “Womanizer” (Lenke) sued Eis GmbH for alleged infringement of its patent in 2018, probably the German one, since the European one had not been yet granted. The decision by the first instance Düsseldorf Court was in favor of “Womanizer”.

Once Lenke’s patent EP2976057B1  was granted, oppositions were filed by three German companies (including Eis GmbH) and a Chinese one.

Regarding EP2976057B1, the patent granted to Eis GmbH, no oppositions have been filed, but the deadline to for filing them (9 months from filing date) has not yet expired since it was granted in June 2019.

We will have to wait to see the outcome of this patent war about a device whose success has turned it into a game changer in the world of sex toys.

En español

Leopoldo Belda Soriano

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