Intellectual Property Rights
On the subject of certain cup brands being considered “copies” of others… I asked Teresa from http://www.femininewear.co.uk to write up something on the recent cup happenings, since she’s more involved in it than I am… here it is:
“What does that mean exactly? This legal term IPR, Intellectual Property Rights came up recently in relation to my business. I am the managing Director of Feminine Wear in the UK and we sell reusable menstrual products. We sell cloth pads, menstrual cups and sea sponge tampons.
We have been gradually increasing our stock in order to give our customers as much choice as possible but it seems that we may not be able to achieve that with menstrual cups.
We have been prevented from selling 3 brands so far and the manufacturers have quoted IPR in all cases.
The Green Donna menstrual Cup and the MPower Menstrual Cup appear to be copies of the Lunette Menstrual Cup and the Iriscup appears to be a copy of the Ladycup.
In all 3 cases we were contacted by the company that holds the IPR for their product and were warned that we would face legal action if we sold these brands of menstrual cup.
We have never seen a Green Donna or Iriscup.
But the most recent case was the one between the Lunette company and the Mpower company. We have been selling the MPowercup since August 2009 with no problems at all. And then Lunette noticed that we were selling them and asked us not to order any more stock. But we were given permission to sell the cups that we still have. We were also told that a customs block had now been put on the MPower cup so that it could not be imported into any EU country.
As it stands at the moment we cannot sell the MPowercup but we may be given permission in the future.
Intellectual Property covers 4 elements – Patents, Trade Marks, Designs and Copyright. It allows people to own the work that they create. We were informed by Lunette that they held the IPR in relation to their design, in particular the flat stem and the rim of the cup.
What do you think? Do the flat stems and rims look similar or are Lunette over reacting? Have MPower copied the design of the Lunette? We will have to wait for the outcome of any legal action to find out!
Here are some comparison photos Teresa has taken of Mpower and Lunette
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