There is a seller on Etsy who is trying to claim that she owns the word “Upcycled” and that anyone making children’s garments out of menswear is violating her patent. For more information, read this excellent blog post by Turkandbean.com.
In a nutshell, there is a seller who has registered a patent for upcycled kids’ clothes from adult clothes (that she shouldn’t have even been granted in the first place) for patterns she didn’t create and is using it to bully and remove her competition. She appears not to understand the difference between patent and trademark, and seems to be unsure what she actually has a patent for. You can patent a specific process, but any deviation from that process (different stitching, different sizing, etc) is not a violation of the patent, AND in a court of law the onus would be on her to prove that her patent was violated. Sadly, this is not the case on Etsy, and she’s reporting shops for violating her intellectual property without even checking if they are, first. Etsy is taking down all of the reported listings and is referring those parties back to the patent holder, who is being VERY hostile about communication. She’s offering a licensing fee to people who want to keep on making their livelihood, and if you refuse then she’s ceasing all communication and threatening to report you for harassment (which would make Etsy shut down the rest of the shop).
This is ridiculous. Very few things push my angry buttons, but this is one of them.