Willow-s-Breast-Milk-Cooler-and-Patent-Infringement-Why-moms-deserve-to-know. Mila's Keeper

Willow Breast Milk Cooler vs Mila’s Keeper: Patent Infringement? Why moms deserve to know.

Ten months ago, many of you spoke out on our behalf when Willow Innovations, came out with a breast milk cooler that looked surprisingly similar to our patented MilKeeper. And now I can finally speak out.  Are they infringing or not? This is the update that you deserve to have.
A Guide to Postpartum Yoga for Breastfeeding Moms Reading Willow Breast Milk Cooler vs Mila’s Keeper: Patent Infringement? Why moms deserve to know. 5 minutes

Ten months ago many of you moms spoke out on my behalf when Willow Innovations came out with an insulated breast milk cooler that looked surprisingly similar to our patented MilKeeper, which uses a removable ice pack that attaches to the lid.

Soon after they launched, I hired a very reputable law firm to dive into the details of our utility patent and their cooler, and they arrived at the precise conclusion that Willow infringes on Mila's Keeper patents.  I am sharing transparently the exact Cease and Desist letter here or pictured below,  that we sent to Willow, which outlines very clearly how they are infringing.

Now you don’t need to be a patent expert to form your own opinion.  You can see the similarities on your own - and decide what you think about their VP of of Product purchasing our Duo Set Breast Milk Coolers, then 9 months later coming up with a similar product.  You can also form your own opinion about whether or not this male-founded company with $150M in venture capital from Silicon Valley which has been working in this space for 9-10 years, only now, coincidentally came out with a breast milk cooler working so similarly to mine a year after I launched.

Mila's Keeper's situation is a clear representation of the stark reality of US patent law and how it fails to protect true innovation, unless you have the big corporate bucks. In the last ten years, the ease of large companies infringing on small companies’ patents have become so commonplace, that willful infringement has become an actual "business model" with a formal term: called Efficient Infringement.  Efficient infringement is the deliberate, calculated act of infringing on a patent because it is cheaper to do so than to pay out royalties due to the patent owner.  You see, it costs on average $3.5M to sue a company for patent infringement, and now US patent law has made it easier for the infringer to come back with a petition to invalidate the patent which would additionally cost $100k+ for the patent owner to defend.  So as a small company, it is highly unlikely that a lawsuit would be afforded. The worst part about this is that even if somehow the small company were able to find a way to sue and win, the only fee that an infringer would have to pay out is the licensing fee that they were supposed to pay in the first place.  In fact, win or lose, according to the Center for Intellectual Property & Innovation Policy the patent infringers "pays less in either legal fees or in court-ordered damages than it would have paid in a license negotiated with a patent owner."

For me, the main issue lies not even in this failure of our patent system, but in the fact that moms deserve products that come from an industry that works with  honesty and integrity. When those that don't share the same value system exist in our community, moms ultimately lose. However when we have legitimate competition in our space, moms will always win because she has more choices -something that has been lacking in our space especially when it comes to breastfeeding!  I am proud to work side by side with my “competitor”, Lisa Myers from Ceres Chill.  We love this community and the work we do for our moms comes out of pure love and passion for helping moms lead better and easier lives. I will always have great respect for her and anyone that comes with innovation to serve moms.

In fact, during this journey, I have connected with and learned of many other mom-founded businesses who are suffering from infringement as well, and sadly it is hard for us to speak out.  So thank you for your continued support of mom-founded businesses.  We are borne from a deep understanding of the challenges that you face.  No amount of venture capital in my opinion, will ever pay for the level of attention and love we pour into the details of our products.  

So what's next for Mila's Keeper?  While we can't afford to defend our patent rights against Willow, this isn’t over for us.  We aren't going to sit back and do nothing.  We will also continue to work hard to come out with more innovative and great quality products that speak to your challenges and that you can depend on.   

We may not have the big bucks, but we can speak out. I can't thank you enough for those who have done this on our behalf, then and now.   All of you, are our true voice - even with the odds stacked against us, we do have a voice and I think we can be pretty darn loud!

Please share this if you feel someone should know.  Please share with another mom-founded company that may be dealing with this issue.  Write to me with your thoughts or suggestions, I welcome any and all support!



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