Patents, Trademarks and Knock Offs
Tina Aldatz Norris founded Foot Petals in January 2001. As an 11 year Fashion Industry veteran, Tina noticed there was something lacking in the marketplace for stylish women that enjoy wearing high heels, but still want to be comfortable.
In New York at the time, as Special Events and Merchandising Director for BCBG Max Azria, Tina was always on the go.
It was important for her to look stylish, and feel comfortable. Tina refused to succumb to the skirt and sneaker look, that many New Yorkers fall prey to, just for the sake of comfort. Tina was not about to give up her sexy heels or business chic pumps, instead she bought bulky orthopedic insoles from drugstores, cutting and pasting them to fit all of her various shoe styles.
The major problem now became the unfortunate look of neon blue bulky insoles cut, hanging, and glued all over the inside of her fashionable footwear! Now she couldn't even kick her shoes off to relax, due to the embarrassment of what was inside.
Years later, as an Orange County, California native, convinced there was a solution to this ongoing problem, Tina found a high performance urethane called PORON in a US factory. She began testing the PORON urethane material and found its benefits to be many such as; repels moisture, bacteria, and odor, absorbs shock, and was available in a desirable color palette.
Developed from PORON, material "Tip Toes" ball of foot cushions were created. "Tip Toes" permanently adhere to the shoe insole, are virtually invisible and will not show in open toe footwear. "Tip Toes" keep feet from sliding forward, stop "ugly overhang", and prevent blisters and calluses form forming while protecting bones and tissue. Not only has "Tip Toes" been awarded "best In Beauty, by Allure Magazine, it has been proven medically beneficial and is accepted by the America Podiatric Medical Association.
Continuing the quest for beautiful feet, The Foot Petals collection now consists of over 20 solution oriented products for women's feet and legs including , "Heavenly Heelz." The which helps keep heels from slipping in and out of shoes, prevents stiff shoes from cutting into the sensitive heel area, and eliminates blisters. This versatile product can also be used at the top of the shoes to solve sizing issues. Currently, Foot Petals, LLC is a privately held US Corporation, female owned and operated -based in Southern California. Foot Petals products are sold in the finest retail shops in the world and online. Our collection will continue to grow just as your shoe collection does… because your feet don't have to suffer to be beautiful.
Many people believe that you must get a patent before you launch a product. I say…forget it. UNLESS you are actually inventing something. Which is extremely rare, given that in this day and age, almost everything has been “invented”. Ask yourself…Am I merely “re-inventing“?
I did not invent insoles. I came up with an original design. Just like a million other designers out there that eventually get “knocked off” everyday…Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach. Yes, it is illegal, but do I really want to spend all of my hard earned working capital on lawyers fighting for something that is already done? Frankly, NO.
I am in business to do business. Think about UGG boots, everybody knocked them off, but they are doing better than ever -Simply because they are the best.
Don’t waste time. Because you have a patent pending, waiting for legal validation- seriously, it doesn’t mean much when it comes to fashion.
You can spend too much time worrying about all the little details , and next thing you know someone else has just shipped your idea.
Trademarks however are something all togeher different, this protects your “brand name” or product name(s) which I feel is very important. I’ll bet Coca-Cola agrees.
Also, don’t be deterred if your product gets knocked off- eventually it will. If this is a product you believe in ; GET INTO THE MARKET– be the best, and be first.
Great retailers like Nordstrom have a “no knock off” policy- if you are their original supplier, they often won’t carry a similar product. Think about Foot Petals, I didn’t invent insoles I just did it in a ‘better way’, Spanx didn’t invent pantyhose, she just did it in a “better way”.
It’s all about establishing yourself as a brand and creating a customer following.