I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


21 January 2014

i-hut®: the seriously cool caravan

i-hut® is the trade mark of what the company calls a "seriously cool caravan". It is made of wood which to me gives a Scandinavian look, and is designed so that it can function as a second home. 

UK law allows certain designs to be classed as temporary so that they can be sited in, for example, your garden without the need to ask for planning permission. Although really a structure, the i-hut® has wheels and a towbar so it can go anywhere with planning permission for a caravan. The website gives lots of details including photographs. 

The brochure I have in my hand, most of which is reproduced on the website, states that

The i-hut name and logo is a registered Trade Mark and the i-hut design is registered at the Patents Office. If you try to pinch it, we'll set the dogs on you !

It is commendable that a company takes so much interest in its intellectual property. Maybe the dogs are a bit much. It is in fact the Patent Office, not the Patents Office, and I would have preferred to have seen the familiar ® logo attached to each use of the trade mark, which is indeed registered for the UK for caravans and other classes, in the brochure and the website. I also prefer to see specific design or patent numbers listed. 

I found two relevant UK registered designs for the distinctive look. Below is the drawing page sent in for UK Design 4021158.

Below is the drawing page sent in for UK Design 4021159. 

They were by Charteroak Estates, who also registered the trade mark. 

There are two models, with each available as a road legal or non road legal version. Full use is made of space above head level, in the apex of the roof, for storage or sleeping. The longer version is 36 feet long and the shorter 18 feet. The costs run from just under £30,000 to £45,000 plus optional extras. 

The need for space is of course paramount in cramped spaces such as caravans or small yachts. This is why the idea of a room that slides out when the caravan is at rest has become popular. An example, given below, is taken from US2006117673

Here is a list of some US patent specifications for slide-out provision in "recreational vehicles"

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