Monday, February 8, 2010

Patent Problems

As some of you may know, some sellers on etsy and ebay have had some of their handmade baby toys/blankets removed because of patent infringement. There is a company called Taggies, Inc and they are going to handmade selling sites, stores, online shops, etc. getting baby toys/blankets that have ribbon loops on them removed because they infringe on their patent. The woman who has the patent is named Julie M. Dix.

Now, according to quite a few people, these toys/blankets have been around for quite some time (as far back as the 70's) so for this person to have a patent on something she didn't quite "invent" herself is beyond belief, but to have items removed is even worse. Especially when some of these items are obviously not infringement. I did find out that if it can be proved these items were actually made (via photo, article, etc.) before 2003, then it would make her patent null & void since, apparently, she is NOT the inventor of these toys/blankets.

There are a great number of sellers out there who are getting very weary of her antics. She has gone above and beyond to harass some sellers. It is my belief that she has a serious power trip going on. She seems to think that using ANY ribbon loops on ANY type of item is infringing on her patent. She also seems to think she owns any word associated with "taggies". While she may have copyrights to the word "Taggies", as far as I am concerned, she does NOT own the words, "tag", "taggy", or any other word of that nature.

I have had my teething toy/wrist rattle sets removed because of this woman. And I am more than a little infuriated. I have revamped them and relisted them on etsy. I opted to cut my ribbon loops so that they are now separate pieces of ribbon. I left one loop to hold the teething ring. This should not infringe on her patent since I only have one loop (her patent refers to having loops ALL the way around the toy).
But, we shall see what happens because it appears that etsy won't get into this mess and if she says someone's toy/blanket infringes on her patent, they just seem to pull it without reading the patent themselves to verify this information. Which also infuriates me. Etsy has said that they are only a marketplace and therefore won't get into any legalities. However, I do think they owe it to their customers to at least make sure their items infringe on a patent before they take said patent holder's word for it and just pull items.