Har-Bex Products has a patent for its Nuddle Blanket ($68), a plush blanket with arm holes and "an exclusive foot pocket" that gives it a leg up on competitors, design-wise. But the Nuddle has a design, not a utility, patent. "A design patent just covers the aesthetics, not the function," Schox explains.
Says Clegg: "If I had been in my bed and created a hybrid combustion engine, maybe I could have patented that, but I didn't."
Hence, the sleeved blankets keep on coming. Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, ION Audio unveiled the Toasty, an electric blanket with sleeves. Stay tuned for new Snuggies, too. "We will continue to offer new Snuggie styles and colors each year," Flynn vows.
-- Reported by Carmen Nobel in Boston.