Clips for popular rubber-band bracelets at center of patent fight
Posted Sep 13, 2013 5:20 AM CST
By Debra Cassens Weiss
A former crash test engineer at Nissan Motor Co. patented his kit for rubber-band bracelets and the clasp that connects the rubber bands in 2010.
Now the inventor of Rainbow Loom, Cheong Choon Ng, is suing rival kit makers, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. Ng tells the newspaper he is suing because he created the market for rubber-band crafting, he worked on it for three years, “and now everyone wants to come in."
The Wall Street Journal calls rubber-band bracelets "the hottest crafting craze in years."
One of his suits, filed against Zenacon in August, claims its FunLoom product copied the "distinctive trade dress" of Rainbow Loom's C-shaped clips that connect the rubber bands, the story says. Ng also sued LaRose Industries, the creator of Cra-Z-Loom, and Toys "R" Us, which sells the competing kits.
Cra-Z-Loom filed a countersuit Aug. 28 that claims actions by Ng’s firm were “maliciously calculated to procure a breach of contract.” Zenacon, meanwhile, claims that its C-clip is superior because it is larger, making it easier to handle and able to hold more rubber bands.