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Old 03-22-2019, 05:11 AM   #1
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Default The Fate of Coordinating Dies?

End of February/beginning of March, The Ton Stamps announced they were discontinuing offering coordinating dies. I thought that was odd since Effie has a lot of florals which would be a pain to fussy cut. I figured since she was a smaller stamp company perhaps the overhead was just too much.

But now, in getting lost in the World Wide Web following breadcrumbs, I stumbled across a crafting group that was discussing Ellison (Sizzix) bringing lawsuits regarding patent infringement on chemically etched dies.

So far I've found filings against Heartfelt Creations, Stephanie Barnard Designs, Hero Arts, Prima Marketing, and Avery Elle. I am in NO way fluent in legal-ese so in case anyone wants to read them and translate them here's a link to their patent with the filings attached (click on 'Show All Events' on the right-hand side):
US9079325B2 - Chemical-etched die having improved registration means - Google Patents

I'm now wondering if The Ton had received a cease-and-desist letter and that's why they're discontinuing their coordinating dies.

I bought a ScanNCut to eliminate the need for coordinating dies but I still buy some occasionally. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
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Old 03-22-2019, 06:43 AM   #2
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That's very interesting. It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

A lot of companies offer dies for their own images though, so those can continue without an issue. But overall, I expect the numbers would scale back anyway, just because of trends. (Not that offering them will go away, just that they wont necessarily be offered for SO many sets.) Using dies can often make the image look like a sticker, plus the expense of coordinating dies and storage will get old for some. I’ve read quite a few comments from people saying “I dont buy them anymore...” for these reasons.
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Old 03-22-2019, 07:29 PM   #3
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Hmmm... wonder if this has anything to do with the sell out of a number of SU dies and their announcement that some will not be coming back as originally planned in the new catalog.
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Old 03-23-2019, 03:18 AM   #4
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But wouldn't this affect ALL companies that sell co-ordinating dies? If Ellison-Sizzix are successful in their lawsuit, this opens the door for other companies to either be sued by them or they will have to withdraw selling their dies that co-ordinate with their stamps. Smaller companies like Avery Elle wouldn't be able to fight something like this. I just don't get why all this legal stuff has be hitting the industry. The thing is that personally I would choose other brands over Sizzix because of it & would support the companies that have been sued. Very, very disappointed
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Old 03-23-2019, 06:02 AM   #5
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I'm confused?!

Why would Sizzix have any legal rights with "thin" dies, Spellbinder was selling them long before they did. Not only that but I thought Sizzix and others started selling them after lawsuits said Spellbinder did not have exclusive rights. Wouldn't that mean No One has exclusive rights?
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:05 AM   #6
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I should have followed the link before I replied above. Yes, this would apply to all of those companies who create the steel rule dies unless they can find a way to create something different enough. (Consider the stamp platform issue.)

A scan n cut sounds like a good option for images but this would also affect nesting shape dies. Boo.
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by MsGarden View Post
Hmmm... wonder if this has anything to do with the sell out of a number of SU dies and their announcement that some will not be coming back as originally planned in the new catalog.
Sizzix makes the SU dies so I'm thinking they're ok and that's just normal SU misjudgement on what will be popular or not.
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Old 03-23-2019, 07:23 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by stampin stacy View Post
I'm confused?!


Why would Sizzix have any legal rights with "thin" dies, Spellbinder was selling them long before they did. Not only that but I thought Sizzix and others started selling them after lawsuits said Spellbinder did not have exclusive rights. Wouldn't that mean No One has exclusive rights?
I think law-related stuff is purposely written to be confusing!


In the Heartfelt Creations suit, they reference videos. I looked at one and the video was showing how the die cuts, and how you could cut out a template, tape the die back into the now cut paper, then stamp your image and align the die over the stamped image so that it would cut perfectly.


Are they claiming they patented the chemically etched dies or a technique on how to use them?


I'm thinking (and could be wrong) that they hold the patent on the chemically etched dies and that these other companies should be going through Sizzix to have their dies manufactured, like SU.
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Old 03-23-2019, 12:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by fifiwesfan View Post
Sizzix makes the SU dies so I'm thinking they're ok and that's just normal SU misjudgement on what will be popular or not.
I’m sure their forecasting is part of it but they’ve also reported to Demos a problem with their manufacturer... so makes you wonder what’s going on.
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Old 03-24-2019, 06:52 AM   #10
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I’m sure their forecasting is part of it but they’ve also reported to Demos a problem with their manufacturer... so makes you wonder what’s going on.
Yes, that does make you wonder!
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Old 03-24-2019, 07:29 AM   #11
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Wow! Another interesting lawsuit to watch.

From what I read, this corresponds to only the dies where the cutting edge is exactly inside the inner edge of the die, which makes them easier to line up to your stamped image. Some dies seem to have that edge in the middle, so it was harder to line up. ODBD put 4 dots on some of their images so that you could line up the dots instead of the outline.

I feel for these crafting companies. There is a lot of real competition for a smaller market, and they have to deal with the fake products from China. They do have to protect their products and ideas.

However, these dies have been produced for years, right? Why wait to sue now?
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Old 03-24-2019, 12:45 PM   #12
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I'll see how this plays out but seems like it would affect sales of the Big Shot. It won't make me buy more Sizzix dies. Where are Sizzix dies made-US or overseas?

Seems like Cheery Lynn (Maker's Movement) would be affected by this. They make a lot of the US made dies.
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Old 03-24-2019, 01:44 PM   #13
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Wow! Another interesting lawsuit to watch.

From what I read, this corresponds to only the dies where the cutting edge is exactly inside the inner edge of the die, which makes them easier to line up to your stamped image. Some dies seem to have that edge in the middle, so it was harder to line up. ODBD put 4 dots on some of their images so that you could line up the dots instead of the outline.

I feel for these crafting companies. There is a lot of real competition for a smaller market, and they have to deal with the fake products from China. They do have to protect their products and ideas.


However, these dies have been produced for years, right? Why wait to sue now?
Thank you for explaining what they have issues about. Yes, strange the suits didn't happen right away.


I wonder if this could play out where companies can get a license from Sizzix to continue producing their own dies. That could get costly and just not be worth it. I can see the availability of more coordinating digital cut files appearing on the market.
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:45 AM   #14
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It doesn't encourage me to buy more from them either, quite the opposite. My BS is wearing out and needs replacing. I've been on the fence as to what brand/machine to buy and this controversy may just have taken them out of the running.

Already don't want another brand of machine due to recent "events" and now they are out of the running too. That doesn't leave a lot of options since I don't want electronic.

Maybe it's time to give up this hobby and move on. Buying instead of making would be quicker, easier and cheaper anyway. More importantly it would be less stressful given the current climate of greed over all else.
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Old 03-25-2019, 10:42 AM   #15
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If Sizzix stops other companies from making dies that fit their own stamps then I will boycott Sizzix. This is so not needed. If Sizzix sales are suffering they need to offer better dies and look at lowering prices to be competitive.
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Old 03-29-2019, 07:21 AM   #16
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...and the battle continues...

Got an email this morning, Stephanie's' stuff is on clearance. Get it while you can, IF you are willing to give Sizzix your $$$$.
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Old 03-29-2019, 05:16 PM   #17
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Well that is sad Might be the beginning of the end of co-ordinating dies
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Old 03-29-2019, 08:43 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stampin stacy View Post
...and the battle continues...

Got an email this morning, Stephanie's' stuff is on clearance. Get it while you can, IF you are willing to give Sizzix your $$$$.

I am so disappointed as I LOVE Stephanie Barnard's dies and have alot of them. I don't get this whole scenario - it makes no sense whatsoever
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:52 AM   #19
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I find this rather odd. I thought Stephanie Barnard’s dies were made by Sizzix. Or, does she make her own dies now?
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Old 03-30-2019, 03:55 AM   #20
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I find this rather odd. I thought Stephanie Barnard’s dies were made by Sizzix. Or, does she make her own dies now?

That is exactly what I thought too. In fact, on her website, at least some of the dies say right in the description that they are made by Sizzix.

And she has a page on Sixxiz’s website as a designer: https://www.sizzix.com/designer/stephanie-barnard
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Old 03-30-2019, 05:45 AM   #21
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I'm not convinced the dies will go away, they will just have to be redesigned to not fit the description of the patent. That's a tall order because the open design helps us to line up the die with the stamped image but with some creative thinking, I think it could be done. I would think dies are popluar enough, sell well enough, making it a worthwhile investment for other companies to consider. What do you think?
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Old 03-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #22
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I think they will come up with something. I have a lot of older closed dies. I just cut first and stamp second. Not impossible. I would buy closed dies again vs no coordinating dies at all. I don’t like open dies with the cutting line set further back though. It leaves that indentation. I would also consider buying a lot less and buying from the U.K.
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Old 03-30-2019, 07:22 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fl_beachbum View Post
I'm not convinced the dies will go away, they will just have to be redesigned to not fit the description of the patent. That's a tall order because the open design helps us to line up the die with the stamped image but with some creative thinking, I think it could be done. I would think dies are popluar enough, sell well enough, making it a worthwhile investment for other companies to consider. What do you think?

I have some closed dies from years ago and it was a pain in the neck & fiddly to line them up with images & diecut them perfectly. I had lots of wasted images which annoyed me! But that was before I had my SU Stamp Platform which would make things alot easier. However, it would still take alot more time and if I was doing lots of images eg: if I was stamping and diecutting a whole scene of Lawn Fawn images for one card, I would probably just handcut them instead.

If companies are starting to bow out instead of challenging the lawsuit because they don't have the finances & don't want to risk the possible cost of damages or legal fees etc., I would bet that this is just the beginning and other companies will be sued as well. Trouble is, nobody wins and it leaves a nasty taste in your mouth. Boo!
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Old 04-01-2019, 02:44 PM   #24
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I guess I don't understand why people are upset with Sizzix. They developed the technique, same as Ilyana and MISTI. Everyone backed her with her lawsuit
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Old 04-02-2019, 05:56 AM   #25
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I guess I don't understand why people are upset with Sizzix. They developed the technique, same as Ilyana and MISTI. Everyone backed her with her lawsuit

Exactly.

Difference because it is a small business owner vs large company?

I REALLY hope that other companies come out with an alternative.

I don't think SU will have an issue, as their dies are made by and with cooperation from Sizzix.

The issue SU was having with a factory regarding the dies was a quality issue. They would rather pull the product than send out product that isn't to their standards. I think that speaks highly of them.
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Old 04-02-2019, 06:31 AM   #26
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They made changes/improvements to an existing product, they did not invent it. This after busting someone else's patient. IMO they should never been given exclusivity, feels like pure greed to me. I have been deleting their emails without even looking.
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Old 04-04-2019, 03:09 PM   #27
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Quote:
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They made changes/improvements to an existing product, they did not invent it. This after busting someone else's patient. IMO they should never been given exclusivity, feels like pure greed to me. I have been deleting their emails without even looking.

A change is worthy of a patent.

A lot of money goes into the research and then applying for and being granted the patent. Also in enforcement and defending lawsuits.

Who's patent did they bust?

They pay a lot of money to patent lawyers to get these patents, so if they did get it, then the law believes they deserved it.

If they were the first to put that cutting edge on the inside, and got a patent for it, then why shouldn't they protect their innovation?
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Old 04-05-2019, 08:26 PM   #28
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I sub Scrapbook Update. Here is an overview of what is supposedly going on in terms of the lawsuit.

Ellison Sues 5 Companies, Alleging Patent Infringement - Scrapbook Update
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Old 04-06-2019, 05:20 AM   #29
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I sub Scrapbook Update. Here is an overview of what is supposedly going on in terms of the lawsuit.

Ellison Sues 5 Companies, Alleging Patent Infringement - Scrapbook Update

Thanks for this link. This next paragraph jumped out at me, considering that many (most) design team members are unpaid, except through free product.

“Several designer/bloggers are called out by name in the various court filings as examples of infringement of the patent by teaching in videos this method described in the ‘325 patent. This will almost certainly have a chilling effect on the production of influencer content using stamps with matching dies until more clarity is brought to the legal situation regarding the ‘325 patent.”

I’m not sure if the validity of their patent will be upheld (read the entire blog to see why or why not) but it really seems silly to patent how to line up a matching die with an image. That seems unpatentable, since it could be figured out by any clever person.
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Old 04-06-2019, 07:52 AM   #30
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I just took a look at every one of my matching dies that have an open center. Except for Sizzix-manufactured dies (Stampin Up and some of the Tim Holtz), all of my open-center dies have a tiny lip on the inside of the die. It's less than 1/2 mm wide (sometimes it's really tiny), but it is there. I have many, many brands of dies (well, you probably have more brands than me, but just sayin' ) that match my stamps and none of them would be affected by the suit. So, a "wait and see" might be a good attitude to adopt. I am.

You might take a look at your open-center dies to see what yours look like. The patent is for a type of die that has absolutely no edge extending into the center.

Now, I'm not making any claims to one side or the other, either on the original patent validity or the suits that have been filed. But neither am I going to make assumptions about rightfulness or wrongfulness on either side of the issue. Just remember the Spellbinders suit from 10 years ago.
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Old 04-06-2019, 11:24 AM   #31
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I find it hard to believe that you can patent a technique. On the other hand, other companies have won ridiculous lawsuits too.
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Old 04-07-2019, 06:13 AM   #32
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I looked at their sale the last couple of days because some of the prices were so good but I just could not bring myself to make a purchase. The few odd dollar bills that I could have spent for crafty goodness just would not jump into that digital shopping cart. I'd swear I heard them say, "nope we ain't doing it".
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Old 04-09-2019, 09:54 AM   #33
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WOW! LM
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Old 04-14-2019, 01:36 PM   #34
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Friday's customer email from Hero Arts consisted of the letter below. Here is the link if you'd like to read the comments: For the Love of Stamping - Hero Arts

FOR THE LOVE OF STAMPING

by Hero Arts April 12, 2019
Hello friends,
You may have heard that Ellison, the parent company of Sizzix, has made claims of patent infringement against a number of companies in our industry, including Hero Arts.


Just so you know, there is absolutely no reason to change any purchasing patterns with Hero Arts, as Hero Arts does not infringe, believes the lawsuit is without merit, and intends to fight this lawsuit and win for the good of Hero Arts and the industry. Whether we like it or not, the legal process is a method to resolve disputes, and we must let that play out.


There is no reason to allow a chill on creativity or a disruption to business to creep into our beloved industry despite the current situation. In fact, let's work to do just the opposite and rally together to make our community even stronger. Hero Arts and the other companies involved remain the same creative, reliable, top selling brands you trust and love.


If you have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us at [email protected] or leave a comment.


Yours in creativity,

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Old 04-15-2019, 02:03 PM   #35
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My biggest question is about the part of the lawsuit where it claims that the companies being sued produce videos showing users basically how to use the dies, according to the ScrapbookUpdate article:


Quote:
Claim one goes even further though, taking ownership of the technique of using dies designed like this by aligning the die with a shape (such as a stamped image) on material (such as paper) and then putting the die and material through a die cut machine to cut the shape out.
So if they win, only Sizzix/Ellison can show users how to cut out a stamped image with a die (regardless of whether the die itself has an extra lip/metal)?
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:38 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleflowers View Post
My biggest question is about the part of the lawsuit where it claims that the companies being sued produce videos showing users basically how to use the dies, according to the ScrapbookUpdate article:

So if they win, only Sizzix/Ellison can show users how to cut out a stamped image with a die (regardless of whether the die itself has an extra lip/metal)?

I don't get that bit. How can you patent how to use a die? Jennifer Maguire shared in her Instagram Story the other day about her support for Hero Arts who are being sued & how they are fighting the lawsuit. I throw my support behind Jennifer too - as well as all the other companies. Jennifer Maguire seems to be one of the kindest & nicest people in the Craft industry & I am sure she wouldn't knowingly support something & stand behind a company unless she felt really passionate about it.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:12 AM   #37
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Does anyone remember Little B Dies? I was wondering if they were being made before or after the 325 patient was granted and if they could be used as a "technology already existed" defense to invalidate the lawsuits and hopefully the patient itself. I really hope this thing backfires on them in a big way.

The more I read, the angrier I get with Sizzix. From an customer/outsider's perspective this looks exactly like a 2 years temper tantrum.

We all know know what they say about how to handle those tantrums ... walk away and ignore. That is exactly what I am going to do, they no longer exist is my eyes and things that don't exist... DON'T GET PURCHASED.
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Old 04-16-2019, 07:21 AM   #38
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I was hoping to get another LARGER manual die cut machine in the next month or two, and was leaning towards the big shot pro....however this is leaving a bad taste in my mouth, so don't think I will be getting it. Will go with the spellbinders one. I wasn't around when the spellbinders suit was going on...so maybe thats not any better, but don't have a lot of choices, when I want the larger platform, and not electric. So sad! Do NOT like how sue happy everyone seems to be these days.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:23 AM   #39
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This morning's email was titled "check out this heartfelt project". I was stunned, what an incredibly low blow. I couldn't hit the delete button fast enough.

I realize they will probably claim it wasn't meant the way I took it but they started all this so they should be extra cognitive and careful of what they say and do going forward IMO. Shame on them.
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Old 04-19-2019, 05:52 PM   #40
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What is real reason SU not going to sell the Big Shot anymore?
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