Patented Diaper Sewing Methods - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 02:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Probably most of us know about Mother of Eden's Fuzzibunz patent on the pocket diaper concept, where anyone who makes and sells ANY kind of pocket diaper must pay MOE for the privilege of using their idea. I saw that Rumpsters by Rolie Polie Baby also has a patent pending on their sewn in flap style diaper soaker (looks similar to Firefly's petal style to me). What's next? Snap placement? I know 6 ways to put elastic into a diaper, but what if all those ways get patented? Or trademarked or copyrighted or otherwise legally owned as the case may be different for certain concepts.

Of course I understand the need to protect (and profit from) a unique idea or pattern (like Cuddlebuns/Darling Diapers/etc.), but I don't want to have to buy a license for every part of each diaper I make. That could get expensive and the profit margin on diapers is already soooo low. There are only so many ways to make a diaper KWIM?

Plus who knows if cottage licenses/useage fees will even be available. Companies could just send cease and desist letters to all their competition.

Any thoughts on this?

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#2 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 02:55 PM
 
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Good topic! I was just thinking we need something new to talk about - I am getting bored with advertising...

I am going to give it some thought and come back...dd is yelling at me right now :

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#3 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 04:44 PM
 
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Patent stuff is so dang confusing. Every time I think I understand it I read something that totally contradicts what I thought I knew.

That said, from my understanding they can patent that soaker style, but if it's already been in use by someone else they won't get the patent. Things like elastic and thread attachement cannot be patented unless the person applying for the patent can show this is a totally NEW way of doing things that hasn't been done before.

Now someone will come along with a link that says the total opposite of that. :LOL
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#4 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 04:55 PM
 
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I've been thinking about this too. Just today I was thinking about the MOE patent and how if she can patent that then why can not the first person who did side-snapping patent that? Or the first person who did cross-over applix?

Maybe I am feeling cranky but I would not patent something diaper related, there is room for everyone. Maybe that's just me.

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#5 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 05:51 PM
 
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There are so many ways to improve design try not to get hung up on the patents. The Fuzzi Bunzs idea was a huge improvement to cloth diapering – and she has helped the industry by making cloth diapering easy for so many consumers who probably would not have tried or stuck with cloth. Is that product so perfect that it can’t be improved? I don’t think so – there are always improvements that can be made to products.

You can approach product development two ways. You can buy and use competitors products, find where their short falls are and design improvements. Or, you can turn a blind eye to the competitive market and design what works for you.

I like to review competitors products briefly because I want to know what works and why – but mostly I am interested in what doesn’t work. However – I don’t like to spend too much time with competitors products because I find that they impede my creativity.

Don’t worry too much about the patents – design a great product that works any you are gong to be successful

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#6 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 06:49 PM
 
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If you care to do a search in WAHMwell, there is a good discussion that breaks down the specifics of patenting a diaper pattern. There are very specific details, so someone cannot patent all side snaps. They have to be of certain measurments, cuts, shapes, etc.
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#7 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sheena
Maybe I am feeling cranky but I would not patent something diaper related, there is room for everyone. Maybe that's just me.
That's how I feel too.

My main concern is that costs will be prohibitive for WAHMs to use these ideas. Sure the MOE license is relatively inexpensive now, but that could change any time, or they could stop licensing completely. I read that MOE isn't accepting new Fuzzibunz retailers anymore due to market saturation, so it's possible they may change the pocket diaper license system to further tighten the market. I'm not saying that current owner Tereson (sp?) is out to get rich on the work of other WAHMs, but if the company is sold or goes public with shareholders etc. the situation may change.

My understanding of the MOE patent is that the entire concept of pocket style is patented so no matter what pattern or fabrics or fasteners you use, you must purchase the license. The pocket diaper was a great idea, but I don't think MOE was the first to use it, just the first to have the $$ to patent it. Sure it could be improved upon, but you still have to pay them to sell your improved design.

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#8 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 07:57 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyncyn
My understanding of the MOE patent is that the entire concept of pocket style is patented so no matter what pattern or fabrics or fasteners you use, you must purchase the license..
Like I said earlier, I don't think that is the case. Look at businesses like Happy Heiny's. Their pocket diaper system is the base bone of their style.

copyrights cover specific patterns, words, measurments....they don't encompass a style.
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#9 of 24 Old 09-16-2005, 09:27 PM
 
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things that have been in the market for a while now can not be patented. There is a time limit before you give up your right to apply for a patent. Not to mention just because something says patent pending... doesnt mean it will be approved.

So no, someone cant go back and patent side snapping diapers, or a particular way to sew elastic.

MOE got the patent for pocket diapers because they really were the first pocket diaper made of microfleece and PUL. That is all they hold the patent for. However their patent is vague enough that it covers any style of diaper sewn on 3 sides, with one left open that is made of PUL and micro (regardless of fasteners etc). If someone had the money they could challenge that and would possibly win and require a more specific patent, but who has the time or money? Linda from Happy Heinys had the best chance to challenge it, but i think she ended up signing a deal with them.... unless I am mistaken.

anyway its expensive and takes a while to patent things... i doubt there is going to be a large run on them :LOL
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#10 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 01:59 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Here is an interesting POV also.

http://www.littleteapot.org/roller/p...FCloth+Diapers

I have only an older Fuzzibunz without a patent number so if anyone has one with the number LMK. Really I'm not trying to pick on MOE at all - they have opened up the cding world to so many . I don't even sell pocket diapers on my site. I'm just trying to clarify what I can do as my product line evolves.

I also saw a patent for a diaper bag with a removable "integral wet bag" that attached to an inner pocket; another WAHM idea that takes several forms. The patent language can be confusing (smart lawyers ).

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#11 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 02:31 AM
 
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The thing that scares me, is having tried very few of the competition's products, I fear that I will really and truly think up an idea on my own only to find out I'm violating some patent when a lawsuit ends up in my mailbox.
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#12 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 02:38 AM
 
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#13 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 06:26 PM
 
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It is amazing how vague all of those patents are.
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#14 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 07:12 PM
 
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yeah, i know right?
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#15 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the link swtladyfare! The patent seems to cover most fabrics commonly used and the way it is worded at the end it is open to interpretation. It does specify 2 rows of snaps, but again this part:
"Because many varying and different embodiments may be made within the scope of the inventive concept herein taught, and because many modifications may be made in the embodiments herein detailed in accordance with the descriptive requirement of the law, it is to be understood that the details herein are to be interpreted as illustrative and not in any limiting sense. " probably would arguably cover changes in fasteners too.

This part about changing the insert made me laugh: "The pad is then easily removed and replaced with a clean and dry pad, often without removal of the diaper from the infant. " Not at my house anyway!

Diapers and diaper bags have specific functions and most use the same range of fabrics so there are only so many ways to make them. From what I've seen, most WAHMs put their own style on what they make and that's what makes them different and special. I don't have many competitors items because I am used to just making whatever dd needs. I don't think anyone could ever know what everyone else was making because there are so many creative WAHMs out there!

Here's my copyright tip for patterns: I draw mine on the classified section of the newspaper. The narrow columns make a nice grid on it and it has the current date. If I really like it I will transfer it to something more durable, but I save my drafts too so I know which is my latest one and when I made it.

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#16 of 24 Old 09-17-2005, 11:11 PM
 
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Does anyone else feel like this patent wouldn't have gotten passed if the person reviewing it had a a CDed baby...I thought patents were for specific unique ideas! No one would have patented an iron that stated "Has a handle constructed of a heat resistant matterial and a metal based which when heated is used to remove wrinkles from garments" The wording is just SO open ended.
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#17 of 24 Old 09-18-2005, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am thinking that it goes like this: the function of the diaper is patented, the pattern is copyrighted and the name is trademarked. So they have covered all their bases as far as legal ownership. Could it be more confusing?

My designs come from making things for dd, not looking at competitor's stuff, but I still want to be sure I'm not infringing.

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#18 of 24 Old 09-23-2005, 12:37 AM
 
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Quote:
I'm not saying that current owner Tereson (sp?) is out to get rich on the work of other WAHMs, but if the company is sold or goes public with shareholders etc. the situation may change.
a) I am not the owner of Mother of Eden anymore
b) MOE will not go public, trust me on that one
c) I am not, nor have I ever been out to "get rich" from other WAHMs. Ask Linda Byerline and any other WAHM that has licensed from me big or small.
d) The patent is owned by MYSELF, not a company so (b) is simply guaranteed.

Hope that clears that concern up.
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#19 of 24 Old 11-13-2005, 05:15 AM
 
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just out of curiosity, are AIO's patented?
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#20 of 24 Old 05-04-2006, 10:49 AM
 
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I was just reading, and have used several "used" Fuzzi's on son Zack .
I can not afford the newer ones, so I have been getting the used ones.
These are ok diapers, I would not pay full price for these though. But how can someone who owns the patent, not be the owner of them?
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#21 of 24 Old 05-07-2006, 06:17 PM
 
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I had no idea pocket diapers were patented... so ANY kind of stuffable diaper is patented? That's hard to believe. So many people make them. Is anything else patented I should know about? I don't really investigate competitors, like others have said.

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#22 of 24 Old 05-07-2006, 08:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by rolenta
I had no idea pocket diapers were patented... so ANY kind of stuffable diaper is patented? That's hard to believe. So many people make them.
Yes pocket diapers are patented. Anyone who makes and sells pocket diapers has to own a license to do so. Tereson owns a patent on the design -- she posted to this thread. there is more information at http://pocket-diapers.com/.
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#23 of 24 Old 05-08-2006, 06:36 PM
 
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A pocket fitted is not covered by the patent, as I understand it...
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#24 of 24 Old 05-08-2006, 08:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom2a2z
A pocket fitted is not covered by the patent, as I understand it...
Right, it's only covered under the patent if it has a stay-dry inner layer and a waterproof outer layer, with a leading-edge pocket opening.

(I think I have that right anyway )
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