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Need advice--want to start pattern line, WWYD?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have grand ambitions of starting an independent sewing pattern line.  I will be specializing in fashionable breastfeeding clothes.  The problem is I need a patent before beginning this endeavor (Tim Gunn strongly suggested the patent and I tend to agree with him).  Design patents are a lot of money and I don't have that kind of cash lying around ($4,000-$8,000). 

 

An idea I had was to sell patterns that were not nursing wear to earn the money for the patent.  Once I obtained the patent I would then sell pattern supplements to convert already-sold patterns into breastfeeding patterns.  The non-breastfeeding patterns would be priced a bit lower than the specialized patterns.

 

Everyone I've talked to IRL say that I should not go forward with this plan since they think I would do best being highly specialized.  However, I just don't have the money to obtain a patent at this time.  I'm not willing to take out a business loan because I don't believe in debt (except for mortgages).

 

Any advice?  What would you do in this situation?

post #2 of 8

Hum...

 

I wonder about the patent idea -- in a craft, sewing culture that's super driven by media, tutorials and shared information, I kind of feel like you could make your way without a patent. I mean, people can still "steal" your design with a little adaptation and etc. Unless you have a truly unique design? 

 

Have you looked at some of the new, small scale pattern designers to see what they've chosen to do in this regard?  

 

I happen to be looking into something similar (though more likely using others ideas to make product and/or designing for myself and making product to sell). I happened to look up Figgy's Designs. They have an interesting take: 

 

http://figgyspatterns.com/faqs/

 

 

 

Quote:

Do you allow sewists to sell garments made from your patterns?

Yes!  We want to make it very easy and profitable for the boutique sewer to use our patterns.  You will find a beautiful label included with every purchase of a Figgy’s pattern.  We believe that a label not only enhances your creations and makes them look professional, it showcases that you take pride in working with an established and trusted pattern brand.  We do everything in our power to make sure you have a quality product in hand.  The only thing we ask of you is the promise that every garment made from a Figgy’s pattern  is sewn by one single person, in their home and has a Figgy’s label sewn into it when you intend to sell the finished product. 

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

A patent is different than a copyright.  I would be patenting the actual design process to allow for breastfeeding access.  I would be doing this so I would always have access to my intellectual property.  I wouldn't mind if another small company wanted to use my idea, but I don't want someone else to patent the design and then I wouldn't have access to it.

 

Make sense?

post #4 of 8

Have you looked into whether other like-minded businesses have gone have gone the route of patenting their design? 

 

If your idea is used by yourself - in design, manufacturing, and sales - can it be patented by another person? Ie. can you be locked out of your idea? 

post #5 of 8

In reading briefly, it seems like in order for someone to patent a design, they would have to demonstrate that that idea is new so by virtue of you having made it already, no one will be able to patent your design. Though there do also seem to be a few nursing designs that are patented. Good luck! 

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IdentityCrisisMama View Post

Have you looked into whether other like-minded businesses have gone have gone the route of patenting their design? 

 

If your idea is used by yourself - in design, manufacturing, and sales - can it be patented by another person? Ie. can you be locked out of your idea? 

 

To answer your question, even if I am using my idea if I don't protect it with a patent someone else could patent it as their idea.

 

I wish I didn't have to get a patent at all, but there it is.

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazurii View Post

 

To answer your question, even if I am using my idea if I don't protect it with a patent someone else could patent it as their idea.

 

I wish I didn't have to get a patent at all, but there it is.

 

I think I would spend a couple hundred dollars speaking to a lawyer before you build a business plan around registering a patent. I'd be surprised if there weren't a way around going that particular route.  

 

I'm in the process of building a business as well and depending on how big you eventually plan to be, a $4-8,000 expense right seems really high for what you could expect to get back. 

 

I guess that's my main word of caution...that and it seems that if you aren't worried so much about other people using your design, a patent may not really accomplish what you want it to. I think a person can only patent an original idea -- making it unlikely (and illegal) for someone to patent your original idea, yk? 

 

Anyway...

 

I think a BFing pattern sounds like a wonderful idea -- as does, even a new design of BFing clothing that you make or hire out. I found the options for BFing clothing to be rather lacking when I was looking. 

 

Good luck!

post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 

Identity Crisis Mama, I'm sorry I missed this post.  Thanks for the advice and encouragement!

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