Sunday, May 30, 2010

Taggies – Fun ribbon fringe or patent infringement?

Taggie Image

I am sure everyone has seen them before; a square blanket surrounded by loops of ribbon? But did you know that there is a trademark and patent on them?

If you follow along in some international crafting forums, you may have seen the issue discussed there - but how does it affect Australian Crafters?

Taggies’ are a US company that have a reputation amongst crafters for being notorious in protecting their patent rights. There is also much discussion surrounding the broadness of the patent, which allows for Taggies to have the rights on any bit of ribbon looped placed between two bits of material. So broad is the patent, that this could also mean clothing tags placed in a similar fashion are an infringement on the patent.

However, no matter how broad, the fact is that a company has patented this design in the US.

So what does this mean for Australians?

Curious about this broad patent a while back, I did some research and spoke with an Intellectual Property Search Company IP Australia, and an IP Lawyer. From this research I learned that Taggies do not have a patent registered in Australia for this design; nor a patent pending. There was also some speculation that a patent such as this may not be approved in Australia.

For Australian crafters this means that making blankets with looped ribbons is not an infringement on this patent if you are selling them in Australia. However, if you sell on places like Etsy, which is a US site, you may in fact be breaching this patent. Taggies have been known to contact many sellers on Etsy and have them remove their products due to this breach of patent.

My research has indicated that (and this is important for Australian crafters to note) Taggies DO have a Trademark registered in Australia for the words “taggie” and “taggy”, and I believe some other variations of the word. What this means is that if you use these words to describe or name your product, you are in fact breaching a registered trademark of the company.

It will be interesting to see in the future if the patent is ever registered in Australia, as this would have a significant impact on many crafters who use looped ribbons on products.

Article By Jemma Bell – Handmade Kids


Note: Information provided in this article is based on my own research and cannot be construed as independent legal advice or replace professional advice from an IP Lawyer whom you should contact if you have queries or concerns regarding trademark or patent issues in Australia.

Further information on Trademarks, Patents and Searches from such can be obtained from IP Australia.

This article was originally published on the Handmade Kids blog, and
has been republished for the benefit of the CHA with the kind permission of Jemma.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Craft Room Inspriation

Whether you have a craft room, corner, cupboard or drawer, keeping it neat and tidy can be a constant battle. As I scroll through hundreds of photos of beautiful craft spaces, the common element to keeping it a workable area is organisation.

Fabric folded into Fat Quarter sized squares and placed together in colour tones not only looks amazing, but aids in those very regular fabric seeking missions.
Using a set of labelled, clear containers, keeps notions and other small pieces sorted and easier to find. Ikea has a wonderful 'price wise' range. Or if your into re-purposing, then baby food jars are perfect for smaller stock. And I love to use recycled coffee jars (think Maccona - because lets face it I have quite a few empty ones and things just look so pretty in them).

Storing ribbon and trim is where I fail miserably. At the moment I have a box with all sorts of stuff knotted together, and quite often I head out to Spotlight to purchase something that I find I already have when I get home. It only took a quick search on Google to find plenty of ribbon storage inspirations - The Domestic Diva has dedicated a whole series of her blog to craft room organisation, and I love her ideas for ribbon storage.

If your lucky enough to have a whole room to craft in, embrace it! Hang picture that inspire you, keep it tidy so you have room to move,and importantly purge and re-sort regularly. Of course allow your self to madly sift through everything whilst in the creating zone; but also give yourself time to put everything thing away once you are done for the night.

Not inspired yet....
Well I will leave you with some images from my favourite work room: this is the beautiful and talented Viven's studio from Ish & Chi.
Viv has kindly let me publish a couple of photos from her blog but you simply must check it out for the bigger picture. With only a smallish budget and a lot of creativity, she managed to create a stunningly styled and yet workable room.

Need a little bit more help - well below are some great links to get you motivated!!

Setting up a craft area
Key to an Organised Craft Room
Martha's tips

Bye for now,

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Meet me at Mikes - The book!

For anyone remotely near Melbourne 'Meet Me At Mikes' on Brunswick St Fitzroy is a haven for all things crafty, vintage and indie.

In between running Mikes, a very successful blog, a crafter's group named 'The Brown Owls' and raising 3 kidlets, the supremely clever Pip Lincolne "Queen of Mikes' has put together 26 of the best projects from the cleverest Aussie crafters to insure crafty fun abounds.

There's something for everyone; from beginners to the more experienced among us. Toys and softies, hankies, purses and even mini baby yoga pants! Cute!

The instructions read as if you were talking with Pip herself, and set out everything you will need as well as any preparation required before you start, so there are no surprises. The best bit by far (well besides the beautiful photography) is that each project comes with a FULL SIZE pattern - yay! No enlarging on the printer, phew!

This is a great book - Pip has outdone herself. It is so beautiful that it would make a fab coffee table book, and is just as wonderful as a starters guide to crafting.

It is ring bound paperback and retails for $45 (but is available for less if you look around).

SHOP: 'Meet Me At Mikes' at 63 Brunswick St Fitzroy VIC
BLOG: Where you will find fun tutorials, regular updates on local crafting events and some mighty find recipes.

Till next week, peace! Beckie
Little Wise Owl

Editor's Note: Pip recently Tweeted that she has just finished writing her second book 'Sew La Tea Do': and this time all the projects are her own stuff. Too exciting! You can follow Pip at

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh MAEVE, how we love you!

MAEVE is a beautiful, clever online magazine put together by the very talented Kate and Lou. It's aimed at 30-40 something ladies who may or may not have children, and whom don't necessarily relate to the glossy women's magazines out there.

Featuring a fabulous self portrait of Elle Moss on its cover, the very first issue - MAEVE winter '10 is hot off the 'press'.
With an array of feature writers, including the likes of Nancy Alice Wood of 'wolf and willow', Jodie Headly Ward author of 'You sexy mother - a life changing approach to motherhood' and Melbourne photographer Lauren Bamford, there is never a dull moment.

In this issue you will enjoy; a chat with Naoko Stoop - self taught illustrator, children’s fashion, women’s fashion, an amazing almond croissant recipe, a great article on starting up a business after kids, and a great collection of fun websites to visit.

MAEVE is beautifully presented, cleverly written, and a joy to read (of course while relaxing with your hot beverage of choice).

Cheers! Till next week,


Little Wise Owl

Where you can find MAEVE:




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Sunday, May 16, 2010

No Comps on Facebook!

OK so a great way to attract new ‘Fans/Likers’ is by having a competition, right? Well sure, people love the possibility of a freebee, but the risk you run is having your page shut down altogether. A risk I doubt you should be willing to take.

And yes, it is a very real risk. I know pages which have been shut down for this very reason and have struggled to re-establish new pages again; never getting back all the followers they had before. Heart-breaking! Some of them as small as under 500 followers; some of them as large as 5,000+ followers.

So perhaps this is news to you, or perhaps you heard about it, but reading the Facebook Terms of Service sent you mental trying to make sense of it all. Before you kick and scream that Facebook are being big meanies, let’s break it down and look at it reasonably.

The Terms of Service State that you can’t have a Sweepstake or Competition on your page. An explanation of these, in relation to FB are:
Sweepstakes - just becoming a fan/liker enters you into the draw.
Competition - some participation is required, such as answering a question, writing a response, or another demonstration of skill of some kind.

Why do you think that is? My belief is that it is impossible for Facebook to govern or regulate these competitions in accordance with local, state and federal laws throughout the world. They can’t guarantee that your competition isn’t in violation of law; they can’t verify that you have the required permits; and they can’t guarantee that the winner will actually get their promised goodies.

So what can you do instead? Well, I quote Facebook with this response:
“The Pages with the freshest, most engaging content stand to gain the most from this new product—since each track played, video viewed, review written and event attended can generate News Feed stories that propagate through the social graph. Facebook will accelerate the rate at which unknown entities become popular, and it will also fortify the position of those who are already recognized highly among users. Whether large or small, all artists, businesses, and brands have the potential for exponential distribution through the graph if they can engage users. Powerful reporting and insight tools are provided free to Page Admins.”

In other words: be interesting, be engaging and find a way to stand out from the crowd. Offer a quality product, well thought out ideas, opportunities, connections - whatever you do, do it well with thought and professionalism. Use your contacts, talk to people, network. Share their pages with your followers and most times they will do the same for you. But do it with class.

And finally, if you really want to hold a competition to get attention, then do it on a third party platform such as a blog or Twitter. You can promote the competition on Facebook as long as you don't indicate in any way that 'Facebook is a sponsor or administrator of the promotion or mention Facebook in any way in the rules or materials relating to the promotion.' No can you require participants to take any action within Facebook to participate - such as 'liking'.

But' we're all creatives. We can come up with lots of other fun ways to get attention!

Cheers, Chicken

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