Menstrual Cups

How Are Menstrual Cups Made?

I’ll start by saying I don’t know for sure…. this is really just me thinking out loud :)  but lately I’ve seen a few photos of menstrual cup molds, so I think I understand the basic idea of how they are made… so because I found that interesting, I thought I’d share that with you too.  If anyone knows more about this than I do – please feel free to comment and let us know!!

I’m sure we’ve all noticed that some cups have seams on the sides, and some cups don’t.  One cup company told me that they were using a different type of mold so that they didn’t get a seam. There have also been a couple of cups produced in a “half and half” colours.  Early on, She Cup brought out a pink/purple cup (photos here) and lately there was a pink/black cup spotted on Alibaba

pink-blackcup2b

So this precise division of colour for the pink/black cup, and the fact a lot of cups have side seams seems to suggest that some cups are made in 2 halves.  In this case, 1 half has black silicone and the other half uses pink.  The SheCups were made from similar colours so the difference isn’t as striking and there seemed to have a little more blending in the 2 colours and the line where the 2 colours meet is also not vertical.  So these may not have been made in the same way.

A couple of AliExpress lisings have shown cup molds, and the Fleurity video shows another type of cup mold.  Basically it seems that the cup molds have 2 parts – something that forms the shape of the outside of the cup and something that fills up the space that will be the hollow inside of the cup – and the silicone is inserted between the parts to form the cup.

 

cupmold_2part

Looking at this mold above (from here), it appears that this would make the cups that are made in 2 halves and probably have a side seam.  I presume that the bottom 2 pieces (that form the shape of the outside of the cup) are fitted together, and the top piece (that forms the inside of the cup) inserted between those 2 halves.  There does appear to be small channels around the mold, and this may be where the liquid silicone is injected into the mold.

If you look at this picture of cups that still have leftover silicone from the molding process (found here), you can see there are some darker/thicker lines, which may have been from channels like I theorised, where the silicone was injected into the mold.  These obviously get removed from the cup before they are sold to customers, so it is interesting to see a photo of this stage of the process!.

cupmold_excess

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cupmold_2part2

This mold is shown in the Fleurity video.  Again it shows the cups would be made in halves and likely have a side seam.  It would seem from looking at the mold, that the part we can see on the right that has the metal pins poking out of it, would fit over the part on the left, so that those pins fit into the holes we can see on the part on the left.  This would ensure the mold fits together properly.  When the 2 parts are sandwiched together, those shiny cup shaped pieces would form the hollow inside of the cup.  As there appears to be no channels for the silicone to be injected into this mold, so I do not know how it would be filled, unless it is done via that centre part with the handles…

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cupmold_noseam

This mold (found here) makes cups that would not have a side seam.  The pieces on the right appear to be the mold for the entire outside of the cups as one piece and the pieces on the left would flip over and fit into those bottom sections to form the inside of the cups.  You can again see the pins on the corners of the mold to make sure the 2 parts are correctly fitting.  There are again lines on the mold that may be channels for injecting the liquid silicone into.

January 14, 2016 Posted by | news | 2 Comments

Black/Pink Cups

On Alibaba … which seems to be basically a showcase site rather than an online store – so perhaps not available to purchase…

But half and half pink/black cups!

pink-blackcup

http://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/FDA-Approved-medical-grade-reusable-Soft_60371099212.html

 

Although no cups are FDA approved, and “organic?  I think not :P

pink-blackcup2

January 13, 2016 Posted by | news | Leave a comment

Fleurity

fleurity-cups2

http://fleurity.com.br | http://fleurity.com

Country of origin: Brazil/USA
Composition:Hypoallergenic Silicone” (From Dow Corning, but doesn’t mention medical grade)
Sizes:  Small & Large
Dimensions:  Small = 40mm diameter. Large = 46mm diameter
Capacity: Small = 25ml.  Large = 28ml.
Stem: Long Flat Tab with hole
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP): R 97.90 (for 2) [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015 (The Brazillian FB page started 25th October 2015.  The .com website was registered July 2015)
Other Details:  The hole in the stem could perhaps be to thread a string through, for those who have a high cervix?   Some cups appear to be pale, some are vibrant.  It appears you get 1 pink and 1 purple in each pack.

These screenshots from Youtube Videos uploaded in November and December 2015 shows the cups as pale and as vibrant/dark colours.   The more recent video shows the darker colours, so they might have changed the silicone formulation between when they made the cups shown in the centre video (filmed sometime around Christmas, given the tree), and when they filmed the video that shows the cup mold?  Unfortunately I can’t translate what is being said in the videos, so the change in colour might be referenced in there.  The change in colour might be why they filmed that video.

fleurity-dark fleurity-light fleurity-light2

The darker cup colour video also shows the mold and silicone they use!

fleurity-mold

Older photos show older designs of the tab stem without hole, and a different shape stem.

fleurity3 fleurity-cupsdifferent

The US version of the website has (as of Jan 2016) a message saying they are closed and will reopen with new marketing…..

fleuritysite

January 13, 2016 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Afreecup

afreecup2

http://www.afreecup.com

The website mentions 2 cup sizes, but doesn’t give any information on the measurements.  However, this cup looks very similar in design to the Lamazuna cup, which is also made in France.

lamazuna afreecup

January 13, 2016 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | 1 Comment

Luneale

Luneale

http://www.coupe-luneale.com [Translated into English]

(The website isn’t able to be fully translated to English)

Country of origin: France
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: Namaka” (small) , “Haumea” (medium),  “Hi‘iaka” (Large)
Dimensions:  Small = 40mm diameter 50mm length.  Medium =43mm diameter, 52mm length. Large = 46mm diameter 51.5mm length
Capacity: Small = 20ml,  Medium = 25ml, Large = 30mls
Stem: None
Measuring Lines: None
Cost (RRP): $ unknown [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: The base of this cup has no stem and instead has a unique flattened section on each side to grip the base of the cup with. 

Luneale2

 

January 13, 2016 Posted by | The Cups | , , | 1 Comment

Monthly Cup

monthlycup2

https://www.menstrualcup.com/gb

Country of origin: Sweden
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: “1” (small), “2” (Large)
Dimensions: 1 = 43mm diameter, 55mm length without stem, 65mm including stem.  2 = 47mm diameter, 55mm length without stem, 65mm including stem
Capacity: Size 2 holds up to 34ml
Measuring Lines: Unknown
Cost (RRP):  £22 [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015?
Other Details:

monthlycup

November 27, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | 2 Comments

Unnamed “Discharge” cups

(not the nicest post title :D)

unnamed_02 unnamed_02d unnamed_03 unnamed_04

Found by “Care for Women” on AliExpress

There is no information on sizing or capacity.

These cups are calling themselves a “discharge” cup, which is how they describe cups like the Bassrose, Victoria Love and Honey Moon, that can be emptied while still inside the vagina.  The last one appears to be the same sort of design as the Victoria Love, and may empty from the sides of the stem rather than the bottom, with a ball inside to stop the cup leaking when not being emptied.  The other styles don’t have any ball/stopper designs, so I’m not sure how the other styles work.

unnamed_02c unnamed_02e

Looking at the picture on the far right – perhaps it’s a split layer that will open when you squeeze the sides of the stem?

 

Listing mentions it being made from food-grade silicone though, not medical grade:

unnamed_02f

November 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , | Leave a comment

Honeymoon Cup

honeymoon02 honeymoon01

You can find them here or here – or search AliExpress for “Discharge cup” (not a nice term for it I know, but that’s what they call them)

Measurements: 4mm diameter, 70mm long including stem (4omm long stem)  (One size)
Capacity: 25mls

I’d seen reference to this cup before, when Bassrose came out.  The old Bassrose product listings showed a cup with a stopper stem, referencing it as a 2nd Generation cup (with VictoriaLove as 3rd Gen, and Bassrose as 4th)

bassrose-comparison

I recall discussing it with other knowledgeable cup-people, who mentioned a cup name I vaguely recall had honey in the name :D  But we were never able to find any reference to it being sold anywhere.  Well, now it is!  The original design (the one Bassrose referenced) is shown on the Honey Moon certificates they include in the listing, and that looks like the cup that is shown on the box:

honeymoon03

Which seems to have a very narrow stem with a pointy stopper that is used to stop the blood draining out.  However the cup itself seems to have been redesigned to include a ball-valve like the Bassrose cup, but with a body shape more similar to standard menstrual cups.  I’m not sure what the extra stopper pieces are for?  It could be that you have the option of using either the balls or the stoppers?

November 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Cup News

Searching through AliExpress I found a couple of interesting things…

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Gyncup, for wholesale at $5.52 each (here)….. making me further suspect these are cheaply made Chinese cups (Aneer/iCare?) with new branding

gyncup-ali

A cup that looks like a copy of the old style Yuuki (here and here) Available in colours.  Looks like the embossed heart cups, but without the hearts..

yuuki-copy yuuki-copy2

A new look Bassrose box (here), but not the valve-stem Bassrose cup, it shows a Blossom/Dutchess etc. cup instead.

bassrose-blossom

A few new cup brands/rebrands (who I have no details for) – See the Cups with No Details and Nameless Cups pages

lola leasen cleocup

ringstemcup unnamed_02d

As well as some new cups I do have details for

aphrodite Beianyi honeymoon01 nabelle

Aphrodite | Beianyi | Honeymoon | Nabelle

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Eve Cup (Femfulness) used to be selling the flat tab stem cups (Like Lunette), but is now selling the wide flat tab ones

evecup-new

November 26, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , | Leave a comment

Aphrodite

aphrodite

Found on AliExpress

Country:  China
Composition: Silicone
Sizes: Small
Dimensions: Small = 40mm diameter,  70mm total length.
Capacity:20mls
Stem: Flat tab
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP): From USD $6.16
Been around since: 2015
Other Details:  This cup looks very similar to the numerous other flat tabbed Cheap Chinese cups & rebranded cups.  Available in pink and clear.

November 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

Beianyi

Beianyi

Found on AliExpress

Country:  China
Composition: Silicone
Sizes: Small
Dimensions: Small = 40mm diameter, 50mm without stem, 70mm including stem.
Capacity: 15ml to airholes, 20mls to rim
Stem: Wide flat tab
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP): From USD $6.88
Been around since: 2015
Other Details:  This cup looks very similar to the numerous other flat tabbed Cheap Chinese cups & rebranded cups, although it has 2 grip lines on the stem, whereas the other commonly found cheap Chinese cups have 3.  Available in pink and clear.

November 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

Nabelle

nabelle

Found on AliExpress

Country:  China
Composition: Silicone
Sizes: Small & Large
Dimensions: Small = 40mm diameter, 70mm without stem, 95mm including stem.   Large = 45mm diameter, 70mm without stem, 90mm including stem.
Capacity: Both 20ml to airholes.  Small: 25mls to rim, Large: 30mls to rim
Stem: Wide flat tab
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP): From USD $4.77
Been around since: 2015
Other Details:  This cup looks very similar to the numerous other flat tabbed Cheap Chinese cups.  Available in pink “purple” and clear.

November 26, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , , | Leave a comment

Improving Birth Cup

IB-Menstrual-Cup

http://improvingbirth.org/product/ib-menstrual-cup/

Country of origin:  USA (I assume cups are made in China)
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “1” (small), “2” (large)
Dimensions: Size 1 = 40mm diameter, 50mm length, 25mm stem.  Size 2 = 45mm diameter, 60mm long, 25mm stem.
Capacity: Both 28mls (to rim)
Stem: Flat Tab
Measuring Lines: yes
Cost (RRP): $19.99 USD
Been around since: 2012
Other Details: Comes in Blue, Purple, Red and Pink.  The cups are being sold by an organisation that is a maternity care advocacy group.  They also allow you to purchase a cup that will be donated to Days for Girls.

Judging by the product photo, (same flower design on the side of the box, same folds in the pouch) these appear to be the iCare cups rebranded.

ibicarecups

November 25, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , , | 2 Comments

iCare Box similarities

There is a company on AliExpress (http://rockbrook.en.alibaba.com) who seem to make the iCare menstrual cup.  There are a couple of cup brands whose boxes are very similar in design, and whose cups are the same style.  The reason I want to bring this to your attention is because if the other brands of cup are actually the same as the iCare, but named something else.  You should be aware that some of the rebranded cups are selling for a lot more than the iCare cup.  Also it’s interesting news :)

 

rockbrook_01

The Luno Box has the same cup-flower design on the box (although due to the difference in the pouch, it’s unclear if Luno have bought iCare cups, or if iCare have copied the Luno)

luno_pink2 luno_purple

The Improving Birth cup appears to have the same flower designs on the side of the box and paragraph spacing for the writing, and even the same wrinkles on the pouch (eg they photoshopped logo on)

ibicarecups

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Also……  there are other Aliexpress stores, like “Easy Joy Time” (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1166401) and “Care for Women” (http://www.aliexpress.com/store/1920862), who don’t seem to be Rockbrook, but are selling the same design cups as the “Anytime” or “iCare”, but calling it the “care” cup, using the same font as iCare, and what appears to be the same writing on the side of the box, and even the same box design – just with the i  removed.  I suspect these businesses are buying the iCare/Anytime cups and rebranding them as “Care” and “Femcup”?

care

care2

Or the same “Anytime” cup with a box that is the same as the Greek Femecup

femmecup_anytime

They also sell that Femcup box/pouch with an iCare style cup too (could Femcup be an iCare rebrand?)

femmecup_care

November 25, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , | Leave a comment

Shenzhen Zhida Xintai Technology Co.

There is a company on AliExpress (http://zdkjsy.en.alibaba.com) who sell a lot of different designs of menstrual cup.  These same designs are some of the ones we see commonly thought to be “rebrandings” (where someone buys a cup and sells it under a different name).  The reason I want to bring this to your attention is because this company are selling the cups for as little as 50c per cup…. whereas cups that appear to be identical and renamed to something else, are being sold for up to $30 each.   So if you are going to buy one of these cups, it would be a lot cheaper to buy from what appears to be the manufacturer.

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The cups they seem to manufacture are these:

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Short stemmed cup with a series of small grip lines just under the rim

ZhidaXintai_04a ZhidaXintai_01

Sold for as little as 50c each, cups with these same design features are being sold under the brand names: “Aneer”, Athena, Blossom Cup, Easy Cups, Charlene, Cup’ax, Dutchess Cup, Femma’s Cup, PlaytamxSure Cycle, Vida Cup.

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Long tab stemmed cup

ZhidaXintai_04bZhidaXintai_01d

Sold for as little as 45c each. There are quite a few brands selling cups with this stem type and same general look, although it is difficult to know which brands may be selling these cups, as the iCare cup (made by Rockbrook) is also very similar in design (really just slight differences in measurements).  Unfortunately there seems to be a lot of different measurements given for cups like this that look to be the same cup – so it’s difficult to tell which are the same.  See my Similar/Rebranded page for a list of cups with this design and their measurements (if known).

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Other Cups

ZhidaXintai_01e ZhidaXintai_01c

They also sell the “Bassrose” valve stem cup, and a cup I haven’t seen around much, (which I’m calling the “Embossed heart cup” for the time being), and never given a brand name, which seems to have a thicker solid rounded stem, with a heart shape design on the side of the cup.

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Some of the listings for this company are for bulk (100 cups minimum order), specifically talking about selling them on Amazon and they state that they can provide the boxes for you.  Some pictures also definitely show the Smart Cup packaging and what appears to be the Dutchess Cup packaging (picture below shows a screenshot of the listing that shows bulk packaging with the Smart cup and Dutchess Cup boxes added to show they look to be the same boxes).

ZhidaXintai_03b2b

 

One concern is that the listings for the cups say they are medical grade or food grade, and imply they are FDA approved.  I don’t know if the mention of food-grade silicone is because they use the same materials list for all their silicone products and don’t change it to medical grade for the cup listings (their cup listings claim it’s medical grade in the text).  Or if people can choose to have their bulk lot of cups made in a cheaper foodgrade silicone?

ZhidaXintai_02

I would also like to point out that the FDA told me there is no such thing as FDA approved silicone….. and that it is an offense to make misleading statements that would imply your menstrual cups have FDA approval when they don’t (as putting an FDA logo onto pictures of the cups would do, and showing certificates that imply they are giving FDA approval).  So I’m not sure about how accurate a statement on FDA approval on silicone is (See my article on the FDA here)

The company details say: “Certificates: FDA/CE/SGS certified company”  – which may mean the *company* has certification with the FDA, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the menstrual cups or silicone they use is certified/registered/approved by the FDA.  Only cups that are registered with the FDA are supposed to be sold in or to the US, and as of writing this article, none of the brands listed on this page, nor a company with this name appear in the FDA database for registered businesses or products.

This could explain why a lot of the cups that appear to be rebrandings of this cup, claim to be FDA approved or made from FDA approved silicone.  They may be misinterpreting what the FDA certificates actually mean?

 

November 25, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Menstro Cup

menstro_cup

http://www.menstrocup.com

Country:  USA (Manufactured in China)
Composition: Silicone
Sizes: Small & Large
Dimensions: Small = 43mm diameter, 48mm without stem, 64mm long including stem.   Large = 46mm diameter, 52mm without stem, 70mm including stem.
Capacity:
Stem: Short thin stem
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP): USD $29.99
Been around since: 2015
Other Details:  This cup looks very similar in shape to the Blossom/Dutchess/Charlene etc. cups, however it does have a few differences that mean it must be a cup that has been manufactured for this brand, and NOT a rebranding.  It has the brand name on the cup itself, and a few slightly different design elements (as well as slightly different measurements).

I don’t have a Menstro cup to compare to (they gave me a discount code to get one but Amazon wouldn’t let me checkout, so I’m guessing they don’t ship to Australia), but here is a photo of the Blossom cup against the photo of the Menstro.  You can see the shape is very similar, but the stems are different (grip rings on the Menstro stem), Menstro has branding on it, and it doesn’t have the lines along the rim that Blossom/Dutchess has.

Dscn0685

 

November 6, 2015 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Few pieces of news

  • Amy Cup (who previously offered a different shaped cup with applicator tube – now has a “Crystal” cup that is the same sort of design as the more standard menstrual cups.  Appears to be available only in blue.  Details on the Amy Cup listing.

amycupcrystal2

  • The La Luna cup has been renamed to Mahina

laluna_mahinasite-crop

ruby-purple

  • Female Cup” has been spotted on “deal of the day” type sites in Australia and Switzerland, the latter site shows a picture of a different cup than the one normally shown as Female Cup.  So it is unclear if they have changed designs or not.

female-blossom femalecup2b

Also spotted on Aliexpress

female-ali

November 6, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Loon Cup

looncup

Looncup is currently under a kickstarter campaign to raise funds to start production of this cup.  It is a cup with the ability to track your menstrual fluid volume and colour, to track your cycles – connecting with your smartphone to give you updates.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/700989404/looncup-the-worlds-first-smart-menstrual-cup

October 19, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | | 3 Comments

Goddess Cup

goddesscup

http://www.goddesshealthco.com/collections/the-goddess-cups

Country:  USA (likely made overseas)
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “1″ (small), “2″ (large)
Dimensions:
Capacity:
Stem: Flat Tab
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP):
Been around since: 2015?
Other Details:  Cup looks very similar to other similar/rebranded cups

goddesscup2

October 19, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

More Folding Cups

There’s a couple of cups that are obviously influenced by the Lily Compact folding design.

collapse_cup_1 collapse_cup_3

Found on AliExpress | Found on Alibaba

http://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20150915152051&SearchText=collapse+menstrual+cup

September 15, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | | 1 Comment

Crowdfunded “Moon Cup”

mooncup_crowdfund1

http://www.mooncup.com.tw

mooncup_crowdfund

Appears to be the same sort of design as the Femmycycle, but with a flower-like design around the edge.

Currently (as of Sept 2015) asking for crowdfunding donations to raise money to go into production.

The colour picture shows no seam where the flip-out section would attach to (if the design is the same as Femmycycle, which seems to be if you look at the black&white pictures).  So the images are probably all conceptual art and not the actual cup.

I can’t seem to get google to translate the entire site, but here are some sections:

“If I can find enough moon cup supporters willing countersigned + development plan sponsor, then I can put in front of the development and production processes. After the fund-raising, please give me six months, through the license application. 2016 summer, u can start with the moon Cup! ʱ??”

 

“Content moon Cup project, is to “produce on the ground” and develop “the most suitable for Asian women to use the Moon Cup”, unwilling to come to break the long-standing American and European brands in Taiwan tradition, as well as cross-Taiwan can only find on behalf of the girls to buy dilemma. I want everyone everywhere in Taiwan have had to buy, there is starting.”

 

“It will improve the shortcomings of European and American brands, and then adjusted to the most suitable for Asian girls body type size.”

September 4, 2015 Posted by | news, The Cups | | 1 Comment

Girlies Cup

girlies

http://www.girlies-cup.com

Country: France
Composition: Silicone
Sizes:  “S″ (small), “L″ (large)
Dimensions:  Size 1 = 40mm diameter, length without stem 58mm,  20mm stem.  Size 2 = 45mm diameter,  length without stem 60mm, 20mm stem.
Capacity: Size 1 = 15ml .    Size 2 = 15mls.
Stem: Solid Thick
Measuring Lines:  Yes
Cost (RRP): 20€
Been around since: 2015?
Other Details: Available in pink or clear.  Very similar in design (just narrower) than Yuuki.

September 4, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

Athena Cup

athena2

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010EB67IS

Country of origin:
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes: “1” (small), “2” (Large)
Dimensions: 1 = 42mm diameter, 62mm length.  2 = 45mm diameter, 65mm length
Capacity: 20mls & 25mls
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $29.99 USD [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: 90 day return or replacement guarantee.  Appears to be another rebranding of the Cheap Chinese Cups, (as it is the same design as Dutchess/Blossom/Charlene etc.) although this one includes opaque colours I’ve not seen in other versions of this cup (including black!), and this one claims to be made from Dow Corning brand platinum silicone.

athena-colours

August 18, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

Menstrual Cup Timeline

Making a timeline of “Menstrual Cup” inventions depends on what you consider to be a menstrual cup.  For the purpose of this list, I’ll consider anything that is:  fully internal, self-supporting, capable of holding its shape and capable of holding menstrual fluid on its own.  There have been devices that were similar to a menstrual cup but had external collection pouches and other features that I would not consider to be a “menstrual cup”.  This list includes cups that have been patented but may never have been produced, as well as cups that have been (or continue to be) available to purchase commercially.

1903-coke-US737258-0_web 1903 – Inventor: Coke & Mallalieu
This first of the early designs to actually hold the menstrual blood itself, I would consider this to be the first of the “Menstrual Cups”. Longer and slimmer by appearance, it would seem to have an internal lip to help limit leakage, and the diagram and instructions talk of a ball which floated ontop of the blood, and formed a seal against the internal lip when the cup was full.
https://www.google.com/patents/US737258
1907_nelson_US854593-0_web 1907 – Inventor: Nelson
This patent mentions the device being worn during menstruation, and uses the term “cup” – so I presume it was intended to be used as a menstrual cup-like device and was able to collect menstrual blood. The little string coming from the bottom of the cup was for attaching to a belt (perhaps to stop the feeling of it getting lost)
https://www.google.com/patents/US854593
1914_Jorgenson_US1113561-0_web 1914 – Inventor: Jorgenson
This rather uncomfortable sounding metal (aluminium) receptacle was believed to hold position better in the vagina than the rubber versions previously patented.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1113561
1918_Norquist_US1263797-0_web 1918 – Inventor: Norquist
This design is starting to get closer to what we think of as a modern cup.  The image here shows it side on, as it has a curved shape and ring grip on the base.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1263797
1932_goddard_US1891761-0_web 1932 – Inventor: Goddard
This patent is said to be used for the Daintette and Foldene cups.  So it may be the first cup design to be commercially viable.  Patented for the “Cokzene” company, perhaps this cup was the Foldene?
https://www.google.com/patents/US1891761
1935_hagedorn_US1996242-0_web 1935 – Inventor: Hagedorn
This patent is also referenced for the Daintette and Foldene cups.  The only differences I can see with this and the above cup are the addition of channels (#15) in the wall of the cup and perhaps there were no airholes in the Goddard version as they are mentioned in this patent but not in the other.
https://www.google.com/patents/US1996242
1937_chalmers_US2089113-0_web 1937 – Inventor: Chalmers
Commonly claimed to be the first menstrual cup as we know it, although as you can see, the above cups predate this.  The Keeper and subsequent “modern” cups do however have a shape closer to this cup.
https://www.google.com/patents/US2089113
1950_chalmers_US2534900-0_small2 2003 – Inventor: Chalmers
This patent talks of using a thin rubber with strengthening ribs around the top of the cup and spiraling around the inside.  Intended to be made from much thinner material than her previous design.  Flat tab stem with a hole in it for threading a string onto. The back of this cup was flattened and thicker than the rest of the cup, said to help keep it in place without tipping.  This design also included an air vent (tube) running from the rim of the cup to the base, to help equalize pressure.
http://www.google.com/patents/US2534900
1952_gordon_US2616426-0_web 1952 – Inventor: Gordon
This cup was designed to fit “sideways” like an Insteads Softcup does.
https://www.google.com/patents/US2616426
1968_waldren_tasette_US3404682-0_web 1968 – Inventor: Waldron
This cup was created for the Tassette brand, and would be the disposable “Tassaway” cup they brought out, after their reusable Tassette (which appeared to be the same as the Chalmers cup) didn’t prove cost effective to produce.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3404682
1971_Waldron_Tassaway_US3626942-1_web 1971 – Inventor: Waldron
A slight modification to the above Tassaway menstrual cup, adding stabilising ribs to the bottom of the cup and removing the centre ring.  This design appears to have also made the cup cheaper to produce.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3626942
1974_zoller_US3845766-1_web 1974 – Zoller
I’ve not been able to find reference for this cup anywhere, so it may never have been produced.  Which is a shame, as it looks interesting!  The wavy lines were said to help the cup grip the vaginal walls.
https://www.google.com/patents/US3845766
1986_china_small 1986 – Unknown (Chinese)
This cup has a very long body, designed to be emptied via a hollow tube stem with a stopper on the end to seal it. Presumably the idea was for the stem to protrude out of the vagina so that it could be emptied cleanly. Patent expired in 1992. See full patent info (in Chinese) including pictures here.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN85201219U.

1988 – Inventor: Cattanach (“Gyneaseal” – No patent image available) An Australian balloon-like menstrual flow collection device. Referenced at the Powerhouse Museum & Museum of Menstruationhttps://www.google.com/patents/EP0236457A4http://worldwide.espacenet.com

1992_keeper_USD323212-1_web 1992 – Inventor: Crawford
This patent for a Keeper cup says “showing my new design”. But I could not find an earlier patent. The Keeper was first sold in  1987.  So it may mean the new design compared to previously patented cups from other inventors, or this could be a design of the Keeper that was never put into production.  I have never seen a Keeper in this style.
https://www.google.com/patents/USD323212
1994_contente_US5295984-5_web 1994 – Contente, Rose, Potter
This is the design for the Softcup – made for the Ultrafem company, revised in another patent.  The same cup design was later patented for the Insteads company, after Ultrafem went out of business. Interestingly the patents refer to the product being created for the application of drugs or hormones, and the use for menstrual blood collection is only a minor secondary use.  Patent expired 2013
https://www.google.com/patents/US5295984
1997_chinese_small 1997 – Inventor: Unknown (Chinese)
An “inflatable” menstrual cup with pump. Presumably inserted and then inflated to the desired size to ensure a good fit. The patent doesn’t indicate if the pump is removable or not (I suspect not). Patent expired in 2000.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN2260593Y
See original submitted patent (in Chinese) here.
1998-keeper-US5827248-1_web 1998 – Inventor:  Crawford
Another Keeper patent, this one providing various methods for emptying the cup while leaving the cup in place.  As well as showing the standard Keeper design without the ability to empty the cup via the stem (referenced as an exemplary prior art menstrual cup.)  None of the stem-emptying designs ever seem to have been put into production.  Patent expired 2010.
https://www.google.com/patents/US5827248

2000 – Mooncup UK

2003_zadini_US06540728_web 2003 – Inventor:  Zadini
An inflatable menstrual cup.  The patent also shows alternative versions.  Doesn’t seem to have ever been produced though.  Patent expired 2007
https://www.google.com/patents/US6540728
https://www.google.com/patents/US6746432

2004 – Lunette

2006 – Moon Cup USA

2007 – Femmecup & Yuuki

2008 – Alicia/Hygina, Diva Cup, Lady Cup, Miacup, MPower

2008_Diva_US20080077097A1_web 2008 – Inventor:   Chambers & Chambers
Made for the Diva Cup company, although Diva had been on sale since 2004 (presumably under a “patent pending” status, since the patent was submitted in 2004)
https://www.google.com/patents/US20080077097

2009 – Fleurcup, Green Donna*, MeLuna, Cheers Cup Concept Design.

2010 – Iriscup, Miss Cup/Inciclo, Naturcup, Shecup

2010_sheu_US20100312204A1_small 2010 – Inventor: Miin-Tsang Sheu
This cup design features a reusable outer cup, with a disposable inner “bag” – the idea being that the disposable bag can be added so that it can be removed and the cup wouldn’t need to be cleaned before being used again.  The patent doesn’t explain whether the bag would be flushable or not, it just says it is disposable and replaceable.  Doesn’t seem to have been in production.
https://www.google.com/patents/US20100312204
2011_lee_PCTKR2010004860_web2 2011 – Inventor: Gook Hoon Lee

Spill proof menstrual cup.  Allows blood to flow through into the body of the cup, but not back out again (though how would you empty it easily?).  I’ve not seen a cup with this design – so I don’t think it was ever produced.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2011013954A2

2010_Chinese01_small 2010 – Inventor:  Unknown (Chinese)
This cup looks similar to the Keeper/Mooncup design.  The patent was granted in 2010 but in 2012 there was a cessation (meaning they no longer own the patent right).  Could be because they didn’t pay to keep it patented? See original submission (in Chinese) with picture here.
https://www.google.com/patents/CN201481625U

2011 – Cup Lee, Juju, Mialuna, Naturalmama, SiBell

2012 – Amulette*, Bella Cup, Female Cup*, Femmycycle, Jasmine*, Lila Cup, Lily Cup, Mami Cup, Organicup, Ruby Cup

2012_lilycompact_small 2012 – Lily Cup Compact
This seems to be the patent for the folding Lily Cup Compact.  The original patent is in Chinese, so the google patent page has a translation. You can see the diagram for this patent in the original submission here (in Chinese) here
http://www.google.com/patents/CN202235938U

2013 – Angel Cup, Copita, Eco Cup/Lybera, La Maleta Roja, Farmacup, Femicup*, Luna Cup, Luv Ur Body, Magga Cup, Sckoon Cup, Victoria Love

2013_Bouhadana_small 2013 – Bouhadana
This cup design was intended for menstrual use as well as for dispensing medications to the vagina. The cup can be emptied via the stem without removing the cup. The stem appears to loop back upon itself as a method for stopping the cup emptying, and straightening this section is how you would drain the cup. See original patent here
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2013108249A1
2014_amycup_small 2014 – Inventor: Pitacco & Coretti
This appears to be the patent for the Amy Cup menstrual cup with applicator. The original patent with artwork can be found here.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014015975A1
2014-femmycycle-US08795248_web 2014 – Inventor:   Shihata
Designed for Femmycycle. Non-spill rim design that prevents spillage when emptying as well as helping prevent backflow of menstrual blood.
https://www.google.com/patents/US8795248
2014_zhangyang_PCTCN2012083408_web 2014 – Zhang & TangPatented 2 lots of designs for a menstrual cup with hollow stem & stopper.  Also designs for what appears to be the  “Victoria Love” cup with openings on the sides of the stem to empty the cup from, with a ball to block those openings.
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014056257A1
https://www.google.com/patents/WO2014056258A1
2014_shaviv_US20140012216A1-20140109-D00003_small 1903 – Inventor: Shaviv
This design talks of flexible resilient ribs connected to a reservoir bag that has an “absorbent element” on the internal walls. So I presume it is somewhat like the design of the Softcup, where the frame is harder and the material between them much softer.  Designed to be inserted with an applicator, this cup is disposable.
https://www.google.com/patents/US20140012216

2014 – Amy Cup, Aneer*, Belle Cup, Cerene/Continuon*, ClariCup, Daisy Cup*, Dutchess Cup*, Gaia Cup*, iCare*, Lamazuna, Melody Susie, Monzcare/Rainbow, My Own Cup, Pinkcopa, Silkycup,

2014/2015 – ALX*, Ava Loona*, Eva Cup, Eve Cup*, Ève Cup, Comfy Cup*, Cozy Cup*, Cup’ax*, Cupissima*,  Diamond Cup*, Dream Lover*, iClean*, Liberty Cup*, Mcup*, Playtamx*, Pretty Woman*, Well Done*, Tulip Cup, VCup,

2015 – Anytime, A Zen Cup*, Bassrose, BioIntimo, Blossom Cup*, Charlene*, Crystal Cup*, Evalina, LaLuna*, Lena, LilCup*, Luno Cup*, Smart Cup*, Super Jennie,

Unknown (suspect between 2013-2015) – Carrefour, Easy Cup, Natu, Smartcup

(*These appear to be existing/copied cups that have been given a new name)


Want to see more old patents for menstrual products (it’s fascinating!!) I’ve collected them here – https://catamenialpatents.wordpress.com

August 1, 2015 Posted by | Cup Related | | 5 Comments

Happy Girl Cup

happygirl

Looks to be the same as the Eva Cup, and possibly is one of the rebranded Aneer/cheap Chinese cups.

The only info the listings give is that the large size has a capacity of 20mls.  Which doesn’t seem accurate

The website for the brand who have trademarked the name “Happy Girl Cup” is here – http://www.homecures.co.uk but is undergoing restoration (screenshot) – which is pretty unprofessional IMHO, so that to me further proves this is a rebranding, as a legitimate cup brand is likely to be more professional than that.  If you really do have to do “restoration” on a website, it would look better to just automatically redirect people to the alternative site instead of putting up a page and making them manually go there, and have a better looking landing page,  but anyway…. The redirected site is here: http://www.remede-naturel.net/our-natural-products/158-happy-girl-cup-coupe-menstruelle-.html  and the cups are also sold on Amazon.


The listing on the website starts with this..

happygirl3So the info about their cup is information that their clients have given them, not stuff they actually know to be true?  That’s… reassuring…

Not sure who the clients are, does it mean people who have bought the cup?  or the people who made the cup?  Either way, the listing is full of questionable (if not misleading) claims, so I doubt the qualifications of these “clients” – for example:

  • Tampons and sanitary towels have a high risk factor for our health. They contain chlorine and other chemicals, which can be the cause of cancer besides less serious problems, as well as posing other possibilites such as Toxic Shock. Home Cures Happy Girl Cup™ has no such problem. It is ideal for ladies who suffer from gynecological problems, such as eczema, allergies, mycosis, etc.” – While there have been no reported cases of a menstrual cup causing TSS*, generally good cup companies will phrase it more in the way I just did, rather than to say there is no risk of TSS with cup use.  Because the reality is that you can’t say for 100% sure that there is no risk whatsoever in using a menstrual cup, and saying so opens you up to being sued if someone did.  Also are eczema and allergies gynecological problems?
    • *  I have heard through the grapevine that there has been a recent suspected case of TSS from a menstrual cup in France… but I have been unable to find the source of this to verify if it’s true or not.  If it is true, then this does prove that while unlikely, and safer than tampons, it is possible to get TSS while using a cup.
  • After iniital sterilisation each month, ladies can be certain that there is no chance of contact with any chemicals. ” – Well technically even water is a “chemical“.  So it’s actually impossible for anyone to have no chance of contact with a chemical when using a cup (or at any other time)… given that a silicone menstrual cup itself is made from a chemical compound.  Though I think what they are meaning here is that there is no harmful exposure to chemicals (that we are aware of) when using a menstrual cup, which may be true.
  • With Home Cures Happy Girl Cup™ you are confident, as there is no risk of any leaks or odours.” – Since everyone is different, you can’t say that there is no risk of leaks or odours.  While both are unlikely (if you’re wearing the right size cup for your body, emptying it before it overflows, you’re cleaning the cup well and don’t happen to have blood that leaves an odour).. it sometimes happens.  It’s especially a big claim for a cup brand that doesn’t give ANY information on the sizing or capacity of their cups, thus making it impossible for customers to be able to determine if the cup would suit their physical needs before actually buying one to try it.
  • Your Happy Girl Cup™ is simply sterilised, and during your periond rinsed, put back in and forgotten.  – You generally are advised not to wear a cup for more than 12 hours (some even recommend emptying it every 6-8 hours), so this advice makes it seem you can just leave it in your whole period – just forgetting about it is a very bad idea!  There is no mention anywhere about not leaving it in for longer than 12 hours or when to empty it.
  • And, being delivered to your door in Eco friendly packing, there is no fancy box to throw away and pollute the environment. It arrives ready to use.” – Well I’m pretty sure the lack of box is due to the fact the cups don’t come with boxes from the manufacturer (or if they do, they are branded as Aneer) and it’s a money saving thing rather than an eco-friendly thing… The photos on Amazon show the cups individually packaged in plastic bags, which I would argue is less environmentally friendly than a cup that is packaged in a biodegradable cardboard box with no plastic packaging.  If they arrive to the customer without that plastic bag, it may have been removed before sending, which then makes it appear to be more eco-friendly than it actually is.  All to justify the supposedly eco-friendly benefits of not bothering to have them packaged in a box.

However, it does also say:

  • your Happy Girl Cup™, which is Guaranteed for 5 years against any manufacturing fault, will almost certainly last you a lifetime” – a 5 year guarantee is great, not many cups have that!

July 15, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | Leave a comment

Lena – review

I’ve been excited for the release of this Lena cup for a while now, after being involved in the development process and having tried out prototypes of the design…. and having to keep tight-lipped about it until it was officially released :D

With the package Lena sent, they also sent me a little card thanking me for my help and support!  Awwww :D

Dscn6669

I’m always very impressed when cup companies have spent in contacting people like me to get feedback and discuss cups with them.  To me it shows a company is trying to do as much research as they can, to try and bring out what they believe to be a great cup.

Even a little sticker on the back :D

Dscn6671

The boxes they come in are really lovely and unique.  They have an interesting feel to the box, it’s hard to explain…. almost sort of suede-like… almost like the “peach skin” texture cups have.  The boxes are 100% recycled and printed with vegetable ink!  Environmental win!

Dscn6672 Dscn6673

Dscn6674 Dscn6675

The boxes are sealed with a little clear sticker, so you would be able to see any tampering.  Tampering or knowing if the box is factory sealed is not something I would have thought of, but it’s something I have seen people comment on, so I thought I’d mention that.  Removing the sticker on both my boxes destroyed the sticker.  So I imagine any tampering would be evident on the sticker.

Dscn6676 Dscn6677

The booklet gives the standard instructions you’d expect, but an interesting addition is a diagram of the positioning of the cup for both a high and low cervix.  Explaining that if your cervix is high you may not need to trim the stem, but if it is lower you may need to.  I don’t recall any cup instructions specifically talking about cervix position before.

Dscn6681

The cup has a flat tab stem with a rounded bottom, good grip rings on the stem and base of the cup.  Overall a smooth sided cup (no ridge or protrusions), in “peach skin” sort of feel.

Currently only available in pink, which is a sort of rose pink with a touch of apricot.  Hopefully it will come out in other colours (like purple) in the future ;)  (I love purple cups!)

Dscn6680

The inside of the cup has a slight ridge and has “Lena” in slightly raised letters.  4 large airholes, horizontal with a slight downward angle.

Dscn6718 Dscn6715

(My camera isn’t detailed enough to show the inside ridge properly)

The silicone is reasonably soft – In my squish test, the small measured 28mm (the same as Eco-cup), and the large 24mm (the same as Fleur and Lily Compact).  The silicone feels much the same in squishyness between the rim and the body of the cup.

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Since I tested out the prototype, I already know that I really like this cup – I love the tab stem, I am unable to feel the stem while the cup is in place, and I find the smooth outside cleans easily and is more comfortable to insert (than cups with a pronounced ridge).  As with a lot of softer cups, I did have to use my finger to push against the vaginal wall to make the large size cup open fully, but the small cup opened up without any trouble.

I’ll write up a more in-depth review in a month when I’ve had a chance to test it with my period.

 

Unfortunately at the moment they are sold through Amazon and not able to be shipped Internationally, however Precious Stars in the UK does sell them, and ships Internationally.  Hopefully once the cups have been out for a bit longer, International shipping will be available.

If anyone in the US would like to try out this cup, I’ve been given a discount code OBSIDIAN that can be used for a 15% LENA purchase discount from http://amzn.to/1MYBOEP

http://www.lenacup.com

July 14, 2015 Posted by | photos, reviews | , | 8 Comments

Lena

lena

http://www.lenacup.com

Country: USA
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  “S”(Small) “L” (large)
Dimensions: S= 41mm diameter, 46mm long without stem, 71mm with stem (25mm stem).  L=45mm diameter, 50.7mm long without stem, 70.5mm long with stem (19.7mm stem).
Capacity: S=25mls  L=30mls
Stem: Flat tab
Measuring Lines: No
Cost (RRP): $39.95   [Currency Converter]
Been around since: July 2015
Other Details: Available in pink

July 6, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , | 3 Comments

Evelina

evelina

http://www.belladot.com/products/evelina-menstrual-cup

Country: Sweden
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  “S/M”(Small) “M/L” (large)
Dimensions:
Capacity:
Stem: Long thin stem
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $ ??   [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: Website doesn’t seem to have a way to purchase the cup.  Since the company that sells them (Belladot) also makes sex toys, the cups may be sold through “adult” shops?

June 5, 2015 Posted by | Using a cup | , , , | 2 Comments

Diamond Cup

diamond cup

http://www.mydiamondcup.com

Country: Claims to be made in the USA, but maybe made in China
Composition: Medical Grade Silicone
Sizes:  “Princess” (Small) “Emerald” (large)
Dimensions:
Capacity:
Stem: Promo pic shows a Flat Tab, video shows a Short Thin stem.
Measuring Lines: Yes
Cost (RRP): $49.99 USD  [Currency Converter]
Been around since: 2015
Other Details: Website says they donate to “Femme International” and “Somebodies Mama” charities.  While the promotional picture shows a tab stemmed cup, the video on their site shows a short thin stem cup.  So this could be another rebranding of the Short Thin Stem cups.

diamond-video

In their video, they claim the Diamond Cup is made in the USA, however there is no FDA listing for “Diamond Cup”, and there is a listing for an Alibaba Chinese cup manufacturer who shows the Diamond Cup box in their listing.

diamond_alibaba2

June 5, 2015 Posted by | The Cups | , , , | Leave a comment

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.

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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?  :)

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The timeline goes like this:

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2000
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.
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2002
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.
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2003
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.
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2006
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.
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2009
Mooncup UK submitted a trademark application for “MCUK

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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.

May 19, 2015 Posted by | news | , , , | 1 Comment

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