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Old 05-10-2006, 12:22 PM   #22
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Re: The Truth about the Pocket Diaper -great article

If you're interested in this subject, you can check out this thread: http://www.mothering.com/discussions...hlight=tereson Tereson (the owner of the pocket patent) and Linda from Happy Heiny's (who challenged the patent in court) both participated in the discussion.

You can also find more discussions and resources athttp://www.mothering.com/discussions...archid=2230083
or http://www.pocket-diapers.com/License-FAQ.htm

Whether we agree or not, the pocket diaper patent is valid...it has been challenged and held up in court. When Happy Heiny's challenged the patent, they showed the judge the Baby Duckhead diapers and the Gerber diapers and (while I don't know the details) he felt that Tereson's diapers were enough different to constitute a new invention and upheld the patent. I don't know what he based that decision on, but he saw all the evidence and still felt that it was a valid patent so that's what stands for now, unless new evidence is brought to light.

Patent holders charging licensing fees for manufacturers to make products covered under the patent is a common practice and actually, the $350 licensing fee is quite low compared to many products. She is not benefitting from other people's work...in fact, it's the other way around. The theory at least, is that XYZ diapers would not be making any money at all if she hadn't "invented" the pocket diaper so they are actually profitting from her work. If you don't like it, talk to your congressmen about changing the laws...the way the system is set up now, she is working totally within the rules (both the letter of the law and the spirit of the law).

Here's one more thing to consider, if Tereson had not patented her idea for pocket diapers, there would have been nothing at all to stop Proctor and Gamble or Kimberly Clark from coming in and stealing the idea and mass producing them under the Pampers or Huggies label and putting all the WAHMs out of business. Now, maybe if some huge company started making a pocket diaper it would bring cloth back to the mainstream and save the world...or maybe they would just corrupt the whole concept and mess it up for everyone, but the argument that Tereson is putting WAHMs out of business by selling licenses for pocket diapers just doesn't make sense to me. At the very least, I can see her point of view that she is protecting WAHMs by controlling who can make and sell pockets.

Another thing that I've read in several places and tend to believe is that Tereson is not actually making much if any money off the patent licenses. The fees basically go to cover the legal costs of obtaining and defending the patent. I'm sure she's getting some, but she's not getting rich off of someone else. Apparently, she is going through or recently went through a nasty divorce and she is no longer the owner of MOE or Fuzzibunz. I don't know if her husband got the company or if they had to sell it or what. But basically, she now owns this patent, which is costing her money to maintain, and the patent licenses are what are covering those costs.

Finally, just for the record, a little pet peeve of mine since I've started really reading about this controversy, Tereson is an individual. She is a WAHM. She owns the pocket diaper patent. She did invent Fuzzibunz and at one time owned the company MOE, but to the best of my knowledge she is no longer affiliated with either one and neither of those companies owns the patent. When you purchase a pocket license, you are purchasing it from Tereson, not FB or MOE. And as Linda said in that first link I posted, she wasn't happy with the judge's decision regarding the validity of the patent and she frankly didn't agree with him, but he made his decision and she was bound to abide by it. She had two choices, she could cooperate and work with the patent holder (which she wound up doing when she partnered with Tereson) or she could make some other kind of diaper that didn't fall under the patent. There are lots of WAHMs and even some bigger name companies who have decided to go that route. The patent is not all-encompassing and there are lots of ways that you can make a pocket diaper that are not covered by the patent. You just have to be creative...

I'll get off my soapbox now...
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