Mooncup, Moon Cup, MCUK?
Occasionally this confusion pops up, so I thought that since the original site I’d linked to that explains all this has gone, I’d address this here.
Long story short….. there are 2 menstrual cups going by the name of “Mooncup”/”Moon cup”, and the “Mooncup” is the same as the “MCUK” but not the same as “Moon cup”. Clear as mud? 🙂
The original “Mooncup” product, which often now gets referred to as the “Mooncup UK”, was brought out in 2000 and is manufactured in the UK by The Mooncup Ltd. – www.mooncup.co.uk
In 2006, The Keeper Inc. (makers of the “Keeper” rubber cup) in the US brought out a silicone version of their cup, also calling it a “Moon Cup” (their trademark is registered with a space, although people often leave the space out), which gets called a “Moon cup US” by some people, to help distinguish it from the UK one – www.keeper.com.
Since both companies have the trademark for the name in their respective countries (more on that below), when the Keeper inc. started selling their “Moon Cup”, the original UK “Mooncup” was not able to be sold to the US due to the trademark issue (and presumably vice versa). So in 2011 Mooncup UK started calling their cups destined for the US market the “MCUK” – which allowed them to be sold there, making a separate section of their website to allow US customers to buy their cups under this new name – http://www.mooncup.co.uk/how-to-order/mcuk-online-shop.html.
Why did Keeper Inc. bring out a cup and name it the same thing as another brand already out there? Well…. some people feel they did it to try and take some of the Mooncup UK market, and there has been a lot of ill will towards the Keeper as a result. For example, early on, the Keeper website appeared to use meta tags that used the term “mooncup” before they were selling cups under that name – which meant that searching for a Mooncup would also bring up the Keeper website.
The timeline goes like this:
August – The domain name http://www.mooncup.co.uk was registered to Mooncup UK. I’m not sure when the cups were available for sale, but I would assume sometime not long after.
January – The Keeper inc. registered the domain http://www.themooncup.com February 25th – The Keeper inc. submitted an application to trademark the name “MOON CUP” in the US.
October – The Keeper inc. registered the domain http://www.mooncup.com Nov 12th – Mooncup (UK) submitted an application to trademark the name “MOONCUP” in the UK.
The domain registration was contested – info on that here – but the findings were basically that there was no proof the domains were being used in bad faith, and that registering a domain name does not by default grant you sole use of the name. The hearing commented that if anyone held a legal right to the name, it would be the Keeper given that they applied for the trademark first.
On August 1st the Silicone Keeper/”Moon Cup” was first discovered for sale by people in the cup community. Though it took a while before The Keeper Inc. actually acknowledged it was their cup, so it caused a lot of confusion with people not knowing what was going on, and buying the US Moon Cup thinking it was a UK Mooncup.
Mooncup UK submitted a trademark application for “MCUK“
So as the timeline shows, Mooncup UK was without a doubt the first to actually publicly use the name, and to sell a product with that name. However, The Keeper Inc. were first in submitting their trademark application. I don’t know how trademark law works in regard to how you determine which trademark is considered to be “first” – whether it goes by the application date, or the date it is granted (I would assume the latter).
The Mooncup UK trademark appears to have been granted on 05 March 2004, and the Keeper Inc. trademark underwent a lot of extensions and seems to have been registered on the 31st Jan 2006. Which (if I am reading that correctly) means that Mooncup UK actually got their trademark approved first. Although that’s just semantics, and it actually makes no difference who got the name first (from a legal standpoint, ethically I think it does).
Since a trademark only protects the name in the country you register it in (generally your home country, unless you also register it in other countries), which is why it is possible for a name to be trademarked in different countries to different people – giving a situation like this where there are 2 products both with the same trademarked name.
Either way, it created a confusing situation – with a lot of people not understanding that there are 2 different cups from 2 different companies, but that one of the cups had 2 different names, depending on where you live. All of that would have been solved if the Keeper Inc. had just called their silicone cup a “Keeper Clear” or something, rather than calling it a Moon Cup.