A Patent for Upcycling Men's Shirts?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A hot topic came to light yesterday, as a friend highlighted a very important situation happening in the small business crafting community.

A lady in the United States, has a patent on the reworking of a man's shirt into a piece of child's clothing, and as a result, many sellers on etsy that sell wares looking vaguely similar to the patented designs, have had their listings removed.
It is a rather strange situation, and one that many are still trying to get their head around. It is understandable that many smaller scale designers would want to have their work protected from potential copy, however, techniques to upcycle a man's shirt to a garment for a child, have surely been in existence since WWII?

There is a facebook group (Save Up-Cycling) set up by a few individuals that have been affected by this apparent situation, trying to gain some sort of light as to what is really going on here, and how they can fight save their own small sewing businesses. I would highly encourage anyone with an interest in upcycled fashion to follow the story.



List Addict said...

Ridiculous and greedy! Shame it's a closed group but this is a good way to show your support. Good on you too!

Anonymous said...

I don't know a huge amount about the surrounding laws, I always thought that one of the important parts of applying for a patent was originality? Like you can't patent a plain t-shirt because it's so common.

The applicant says that the process is "new and unexpected" but surely the examiners would've realised otherwise? I don't really understand how this got approved.

Corina said...

It's completely unrealistic. How does she ever expect to enforce it? She did not invent ripping seams and putting things back together. I can't beleive this even went through, and Etsy's attitude...well no it doesn't surprise me. Of course they are going to ignore sellers who are actually ripping off other artists and uphold this riduculous claim.

Meghan Lafferty said...

I can't believe they allowed that either. Those claims are in no way not obvious to someone "trained in the art." I've seen similar processes described in books from >50 years ago.

Anonymous said...

In the early 1950s my photo and my mother's instructions for making a shirt into a top were featured in a prominent Australian women's magazine

juxtapose nz said...

That's terrible! And you're right, reworking adult clothing into childrens clothes is as old as the hills.
Like Meghan I've see similar in old books. In fact, I've a very useful old booklet called "The Good Housewife" (or some similar title) from the late '40's that has examples of how to do this, plus many more ways to rework old and worn clothes. Better keep it away from this lady in the States!

Michelle HC said...

I don't see anything wrong with that, to be honest. I take men's shirts and convert them into tank tops, and that doesn't cause me any trouble. The deal here is that, anyone who would exert effort to finish a product would be offended to see their own products ripped off by someone else, right? But that's what 'recycling' is for.

Unknown said...

How about those people who loves creating personalised baby clothes? Most of them do not go to a patent office because they just do it for their kids or for fun. I wonder how will this work for people who are in the online market.

Unknown said...

So that women is doing it on commercial basis or just for her own kids, i guess when you own a shirt you can transform it to something else.

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