July 12, 2010
So last year after my massive bean bag creating for my friends, I thought other people might like them and listed them in my etsy store. Not only did I not get sales, but hardly anyone looked at them. 4 months went by with nothing, so I let the listings expire and abandoned my store. On a whim this time around, I put 2 back in just to see what would happen. The response has absolutely blown me away! Almost immediately I started getting messages from people wanting more colors, different fabrics…I’ve even had one person send me fabric! I couldn’t believe it!
But my high came crashing to the ground last week when I received an email from the Etsy legal department letting me know I’d violated the patent obtained by Taggies brand and my bean bag listing had been removed from my store. Well, Taggies only caught 1 bag, so I left the other there and it sold a few hours later! Anyway, I was angry. Blood-boilingly angry. There are plenty of blatant copies of Taggie blankets, burp cloths and plush toys all over Etsy. They don’t make custom appliqued bean bags! Who do they think they are?! Apparently they have a reputation for trolling Etsy and taking down anyone who might be competition for them.
I sent an email to the Etsy legal department and exchanged a few messages with their extremely friendly and helpful in-house attorney. I also sent a message to another seller, and I dug around in the Taggies patent. As it turns out, they’ve patented the vague notion of sewing any looped ribbon between any 2 pieces of any 2 fabrics. How a patent can be awarded for that is absolutely BEYOND me, but pissed me off.
So in addition to all the sewing I’ve had to do this past week, I also have to find a way to reformulate my bean bags to make them legal to sell. I’m excited about doing it because I think they’ll still be popular. After all, I did get a message the next day from someone asking me if I had any left because she no longer saw my listing.
I’m determined not to let this get me down. I’m no longer angry, I’m motivated. Eat my dust, Taggies!