It’s been all over the cloth diaper world: Jenn Labit of Cotton Babies (maker of BumGenius, Flip, and Econobum) is determined to protect her company’s patents. Some cloth diaper makers have decided that they will not sit back and allow their designs to be stolen while other companies take in the profit. Tereson Dupuy of FuzziBunz has been fighting this battle for years.
I’ve seen some comments floating around due to these cloth diaper makers’ refusal to have others take credit for their work.
“She’s not making anyone want to go out and buy her diapers!”
“This is just big business being greedy.”
“Jenn is going to sue everyone!”
“I don’t see what the big deal is…”
“Tereson needs to just get over herself.”
Anyone who has made these kinds of comments has clearly never had their work stolen. You know what? I have. I’ve had my writings reposted elsewhere and had to fight to get them removed. I actually ended up having to get someone else’s website pulled because she refused to take down my work. (This was long before DMCA. I’ve had to have my work removed from other places since then, but without the battle. Once I used the letters DMCA, it was done.) I’ve had a former employer take credit for my work with his bosses… right in front of me on a conference call.
It sucks. It’s a wonderful way of making a person who does the work of creating something feel like what she’s done is unimportant. People who lump this in with “imitation is the highest form of flattery” has clearly never had it impact their paychecks.
I’m not going to speak to the quality of China Cheapies (which are the biggest offenders of lifting patented designs and copyrighted prints) or the ridiculous markups that those businesses who rebrand an AlvaBaby diaper. That’s a whole ‘nother ball of wax. What it comes down to is this: people design things and work hard. They test them, they modify them, and they do their best to make them perfect before releasing to the general market. This doesn’t just apply to cloth diaper makers. This applies to anyone who has ever made a product.
As for some of the comments that are floating around out there: I suspect if you are saying that you won’t buy diapers from Cotton Babies or FuzziBunz over their intellectual property disputes, you had probably already decided that you weren’t buying their diapers for some other reason. It’s hardly greedy to want payment for your work instead of seeing other companies profit from your labors. Jenn hasn’t sued anyone at the time of this publication. Tereson doesn’t need to get over herself.
Are there aspects that I don’t agree with from the cloth diaper makers who are protecting their patents? Of course. But I disagree with the intellectual dishonesty of lifting someone else’s work even more.
Have you ever had to protect your work from theft? How did it turn out?