A Trademark War Almost Tore Apart The Adult Baby Community

A company in which makes diapers for the adult baby/diaper lover fetish community (known as ABDL) gave up on its attempt to trademark the term “ABDL” on Thursday after message boards for the community exploded in anger last week.

Rearz, a Canadian-based supplier of adult diapers with cutesy patterns along with also also different adult baby accessories, like pacifiers, told BuzzFeed News, “we had no malicious or strange intentions in trying to register the item, nevertheless obviously the item struck a nerve with people. This kind of will be a community we love along with also also serve, along with also also we don’t want to make people feel less valuable.”

Adult babies/diaper lovers are, as their name suggests, adults who enjoy role-playing as babies or simply wearing diapers. For some people, This kind of will be sexual; for others, the item’s not. There’s a wide spectrum of ABDLs — some people want to role-play as babies; some are only interested inside diapers along with also also not the rest of the age-play. Some want to wear the diapers, some want to just see others wearing them. There are teen ABDLs along with also also older ones, along with also also the community includes people of all gender identities along with also also sexual orientations.

Rearz filed to trademark “ABDL” in October 2017, nevertheless the item was only This kind of week in which someone inside community noticed. At This kind of discovery, the /r/ABDL subreddit filled with angry threads about Rearz’s trademark filings. “This kind of will be scummy. Period,” wrote one user. In another thread, angry ABDL redditors planned to ruin Rearz’s standing on Facebook by rating the item one star on its business page. On a forum for adult babies called ADISC.org, one adult baby said, “Rearz will be currently off my shopping list.” People even made memes about the scandal.

The owner of Rearz, a woman named Laurie who asked to use her first name only to protect her family’s privacy, says This kind of will be all a misunderstanding. After learning of the community outrage, Rearz wrote a currently-deleted blog post on its website explaining in which the item filed for the trademark to help the company’s online sales:

“Over the last several years we have faced many challenges using the term ABDL in major online marketplaces. We have ads along with also also accounts permanently blocked on Facebook, eBay, Kijiji, Google ads with payment processors along with also also more simply by using the term.”

Laurie said in which, starting about two years ago, eBay, which had previously accounted for about 20% of her company’s business, began taking down items because the item classified them as “adult content.” Sometimes Rearz’s listings for items like adult diapers along with also also adult-size baby clothes would likely be allowed to stay up, nevertheless certain keywords would likely get the stuff delisted. eBay does allow adult items to be sold, nevertheless its policy isn’t specific about ABDL items.

inside past, Rearz’s credit card processor for its website, as well as PayPal, blacklisted Rearz. Credit card processors have varying policies about whether they will take on clients in which sell adult items or pornography. Facebook has also removed Rearz’s ads. Currently, Rearz sells directly by its website, along with also also people can visit its brick-along with also also-mortar location outside Toronto.

Laurie believes in which if she trademarked the term “ABDL,” the item would likely help keep her ads along with also also eBay listings online. “In order to be able to push back to some of these larger corporations in which are blacklisting the item, we can say, ‘hey, This kind of isn’t just a term; This kind of will be a trademark term we have,’” Laurie told BuzzFeed News. “Because the item becomes your brand name, along with also also they don’t blacklist brand names. If we don’t hold the item as a brand name, then we have nothing to stand on.”

Rearz also claims in which the item had no plans to enforce the trademark in a way in which would likely hurt the community. Its blog post says, “we promise to always be Great stewards of the mark along with also also to use the item to build along with also also improve the community.”

Joshua Jarvis, a trademark lawyer at the firm Foley Hoag, points out in which “[Rearz’s] purported willingness ‘to allow others to have free use of the ABDL trademark’ doesn’t seem consistent with trademark ownership, which as you may know requires in which a trademark owner diligently police along with also also enforce its trademark rights so as to avoid consumer confusion.”

Rearz also pointed out they’re not the first to trademark the term — another seller, TheABDLShop.com had already trademarked the term “The ABDL Shop” for the use of selling apparel. nevertheless in which trademark has some legal quirks. In their filing, TheABDLShop.com’s lawyer says in which “ABDL” has no significance or meaning, even though the item will be a somewhat well-known term in a community of people. the item’s possible in which Rearz’s trademark application would likely have been rejected since the term will be well known for a community of people interested inside globe of diapers.

Several hours after BuzzFeed News spoke with Laurie about the ABDL community wrath, she told us in which she had read through the message boards along with also also decided to drop the trademark. “These are customers we care deeply about, along with also also we don’t want to make them feel like we’re trying to take something away by them in which they value.”

Katie Notopoulos will be a senior editor for BuzzFeed News along with also also will be based in brand-new York. Notopoulos writes about tech along with also also internet culture will be cohost of the Internet Explorer podcast.

Contact Katie Notopoulos at katie@buzzfeed.com.

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