Up until late last week we were been using the word onesie to describe our baby bodysuits, just like almost everyone else. Why? Because that’s what everyone else calls them. We had no idea that this might get us into legal trouble.
The Onesie Trademark
Last week we were warned by someone else, that “onesie” is a trademarked word owned by Gerber Childrenswear. As such, we’re not allowed to use that word. Instead, we need to use the phrase “one piece bodysuit.”
Actually, Gerber is quite happy for us to use the word “onesie,” provided it’s for their products. However, our one… errr, bodysuit designs are not printed on Gerber onesies, which means we cannot use that word.
Is it Fair?
Is it fair that they own the most common word for onesies/bodysuits? Yes, it is. They saw value in the word “onesie” and trademarked it. Their trademark doesn’t suddenly become invalid because everyone now uses it as the de-facto name for bodysuits.
Onesie becoming the common name for bodysuits gives them a huge advantage, but also a headache. That’s because it’s so common that we didn’t even consider that it might be trademarked. And, we’re not alone.
Some small shop owners have complained, and think that Gerber should give them a break. After all, what threat could a small shop selling printed baby clothing possibly have to a big corporation?
- Small businesses can grow quickly, and
- If Gerber fail to enforce their trademark, then it weakens their claim, and they could even lose the trademark.
Gerber need to defend their trademark consistently. So, while the trademark was unwelcome news to us, we don’t think that Gerber should just “let us be.” They’re simply upholding their trademark. Plus, our goal is for Bountiful Potential to grow, so it’s in our best interests that our products have no trademark or other intellectual property claims on them.
“One Piece Bodysuit” It Is, Then
It doesn’t have the same ring to it, and certainly doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as “onesie.” Nevertheless, we’ve updated all our product listings to use “one piece bodysuit” or “bodysuit.” This blog post is the only page on this website still using the word “onesie.” We can use it here, because we’re describing Gerber’s products and trademarks instead of our own.
We’re grateful to have been warned now, when we’ve got a small selection of products. I shudder at the thought of having to update hundreds of product descriptions. As a bonus, neither Gerber nor ourselves need to waste any further time on the matter.
We hope you love our cute one piece bodysuits.