Earlier wood versions of cup holders for tops of desks have been around decades such as one featured in a U.S. Airline catalog in the late 1980s. The industry for cup holders for desks and tables really picked up steam in the U.S. around 2006. The industry was advertised for instance by being mentioned in U.S. cartoon shows such as Scooby Doo in the 2000s. It possibly had an impact on being branched off into a wide variety of cup holders for some other things. People sometimes drink beverages at their tables and work desks. It is very easy to knock over a cup or mug full of hot tea or coffee and this can then damage expensive laptops or keyboards. Also the hot liquid may cause injury to people or damage to books or carpets.
On a table or work desk, coffee cups can be knocked over by the person sitting and working at the desk by their arms or hands. This can happen very easily if they are disturbed e.g. by a telephone call or by a sudden impulse move. Coffee cups on desks can also be knocked over by pets such as dogs or cats who may jump up on to the desk. Coffee or tea can also spill out of a cup if the table is knocked by a person walking by.
Several devices were patented to hold coffee cups. The main problem in the endeavor is to provide a mechanism to hold the handle of the cup which usually protrudes a few centimeters from the side of the mug. Another problem facing the inventors is the varying sizes of coffee cups. Some devices which were patented are as follows.
- US patent number 5984136 1999. This cup holder has slots to hold the handle and relies on an extended base to hold the cup upright.
- US patent number 6039206 2000. This cup holder features legs which extend when the cup is placed into the holder.
In Japan several patents were applied for, but they were not finalized. They have since been commercialized by other manufacturers. These are:
- Number 2006314739.
- Number 2995040642. This cup holder has slots to accommodate the cups handle and has a suction cup to attach the holder to a smooth flat surface, so that it is held securely.
New Zealand patent number 565067. This is a completely free-standing desktop coffee cup holder that can sit on any flat surface this was invented by Digby Green, George Green and Aly Matthews. It can be manufactured in several materials, e.g. wood, metal or plastic. It has been manufactured in plastic by Adovationz Ltd in New Zealand under the brand name of Adkaf.
There is also a Korean invention which consists of a plastic item that clips onto the side of a desk and has a round hole to hold cups.[citation needed
] US patent number 6,929,229 was made by Antro Technology furniture for nine months to a year.
A patent for a workable cup holder for a flat edge US 6,929,229 was granted on Aug. 16, 2005. A South Korean company imported one similar a year later to the U.S. Antro Technology Furniture sold one for nine months to a year. A wide variety of other attachments followed on cylinder siding. No lawsuits were involved to slow the Industry though mail was received. A movement regarding a jobs agenda while a conflicting trending patent trolls interest was happening occurred around 2012.