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.
Some of the cup companies are involved in charity donations.
Femmecup has been donating to various charities. Including providing cups to women in Uganda and to New Zealand following the earthquakes.
Donates a softcup to a girl in Africa for every box of softcups sold.
In 2012 Juju donated 1000 cups to Days for Girls, and has donated cups to homeless women
Each year a portion of profits is given to each Mooncup team member, who chooses a charity to donate it to.
Mpower do charitable works in South Africa.
My Own Cup
Has the “Inkululeko Project” which donates cups to schoolgirls in South Africa.
Menstrual Cup Donation projects
People can purchase cups which are then donated (or can be delivered if you’re traveling in areas where they are needed). Seemingly using the Cheap Chinese cups.
Looks like Lunette, RubyCup and Mooncup might be donating to this cause.
Distributing Ruby Cups in Nepal
Unfortunately their normal hole punch was lost, so they hacked out a chunk of the side of my sample…
Though it does look like it’s laughing… (see the other cup icons I made from it)
So as a result of the cut, I can’t really test it properly. So much of the cup is missing, it not only doesn’t fold properly, but it probably wouldn’t keep the suction enough to see if it works at all. Rating this particular sample is troublesome since it’s not an intact sample. but I’ll do my best where I can.
Testing it out – Its a size “B” (small). In a dry run I found it difficult to insert due to the cut bit of the cup making it impossible for it to fold up correctly. I can’t compare on cleaning as it wasn’t worn during bleeding. Though it is very similar in shape and size to the Mooncup UK, the stem is slightly more comfortable than the Mooncup UK and prehaps the Diva – even though it is longer.. not sure why…… but it still pokes. It, like the Mooncup UK , pokes out of my vagina slightly, and thus pokes into my labia. The outside base is smooth, so there are no ridges to help you get a hold on the cup if you’ve cut the stem off. I’m concerned about a potential latex allergy (I’ve read that you can develop them from exposure to latex), and as I’m allergic to elastic, so I may be more susceptible… so I wouldn’t buy this cup for that reason, and I must admit, I find the brown colour less appealing than the clear silicone – but I guess you won’t notice discoloration (as the clear silicone cups can get), which is an advantage of the brown. (and I probably find the brown Keeper more appealing than the yellowed silicone of the Mooncup UK – but that apparently gets less yellow if you soak it in a hydrogen peroxide solution – which I don’t have and wouldn’t use).. Its got basically the same ridges on the outside rim as Mooncup UK does, and also it has some on the inside for some reason… both of which in my little dry run had collected discharge, so that would be equal to blood it would probably have collected… making it harder to clean than the Lunette and Lady Cup which don’t have that pronounced rim (I’ve seen a photo of a newer Divacup that also has a less pronounced rim)
Gear – Mine was sent with a black satin pouch that has a lacy trim. Quite fancy, though very flimsy (the “drawstring” was by way of a ribbon passed through the lace. But the Goth in me finds it appealing. I also got some photocopied leaflets and instructions. A little cheap looking I must admit, though at least they used purple paper to make it a bit more fancy and it’s in coloured ink). I’ve seen several references to the fact the Keeper’s instructions are just photocopied (and early on the Moon Cup USA ones were just keeper instructions with “Keeper” crossed out and “Moon Cup” written in….) But still, they are functional.
Personal observations – Its no secret that I hold a grudge against this company over the “Moon Cup” name for it’s silicone version…. however I’m mostly reviewing the product here and I have nothing against the product itself. I do have to give them credit for being the first successful cup, and for paving the way for the other cups. Also, when they saw the need for silicone cups they did bring out a silicone version, which (despite its name) I think was a very good move. Solving not only the latex issue but also the unappealing brown cup one. Giving consumers a choice is always a good thing!
However the lack of response to my 4 requests for samples and/or advertising materials does not make a good impression. Not even a “no, we don’t give out samples”….. I would have been happy with just some flyers! (or even an e-mail saying no – some sort of communication would have been nice) I’d even pointed out that I had all the other cups that were available (whose companies had gladly sent me samples), so I was able to show them to potential customers and wouldn’t be able to show their cup since I didn’t have one (and pointed out that since the Keeper is the only cup us Australians can actually buy here, it was important to have one to show!!). Still no response. Luckily their distributors are more approachable than they are, so contacting one of their distributors was how I eventually got the sample. So based on that alone, considering that other cup manufacturers have gone out of their way to be helpful to me and provided me with samples (and in some cases more than one sample) and advertising materials when Ive asked for it, I think customer service aspects put all other cup manufacturers far ahead of Keeper. Personally I don’t like to give my business to companies who have terrible customer service. If you’re buying a keeper, I’d go through a reseller, since you’ll probably get better customer service that way.
I’ve rated all the cups I’ve tried. They can be found here: https://menstrualcups.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/my-comparisons-and-ratings
Country of origin: USA
Lifespan: Claims will last up to 10 years
Composition: Gum Rubber (Latex – so can cause problems for those with allergies)
Sizes: A & B (A = After childbirth, B = Before childbirth)
Dimensions:Size B = 4.5cm wide, 5.4cm long and 2.5cm stem, Size A – Keeper – 4.6cm wide, 5.4cm long (7.9cm including stem) ?
Capacity: (My Test – Size B = (approx) 12mls to under airholes, 20mls to level with rim)
Stem: Hollow tube
Measuring Lines: No
Cost (RRP): Approx US$35 [Currency Converter]
Guarantee: 3 months
Been around since: 1987 (the oldest cup company still trading)
Unique Design?: Semi-Unique (This cup design appears to have been created by this brand. However it does have resemblances to the vintage Tasette cup)
Other Details: Suspected to be not Vegan friendly (due to Casein, derived from milk, being used in the manufacture of Latex). Concerns about ethical trading due to use of the name “Mooncup” for their silicone product.