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.


  1. Excellent, helpful information, thanks!

  2. There is so many things to consider when selling your own creations. Amazing that one could own a patent on a ribbon looped between two pieces of fabric!! Thankyou for passing this on.

  3. Thanks for digging further into this... I am one of those etsy sellers who have had my listings deactivated and have been issued with an infringement notice, not just for tag blankets mind you but also my tag giraffes!

    Leonie @ porkchop

  4. Hi Leonie,

    Did they issue with an infringement or just the notice to remove from your shop :).


  5. Hi Jemma, the emails I received had 'etsy infringement notice' as the subject line. However the body of the message just said that Taggies had said that certain items infringe on their patent and they had therefore been made inactive.

  6. I also had some removed from etsy and was astounded as you can buy these everywhere. I did a search and found them in just about every site I searched!. I also had them removed from Artfire the same week. I never thought there was a patent on it as it was such a common item.


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