I would like to provide some clarification to a recent article printed in this newspaper, â€œBattle of the binsâ€? (Oct. 7-14).
For the record, the SLOIWMA requested a formal quote for our recycling container design first, and then asked if we could manufacture someone elseâ€™s design (once made by another company but no longer available). We declined.
They state that they â€œdidnâ€™t like my designâ€? and instead hired a company produce a different container. But what they purchased ended up looking, as the article states â€” â€œstrikingly similarâ€? â€” to our product. They paid â€œalmost $400 each,â€? we quoted $335. At the time, Eco-Pop Designs was the only company in the U.S. that made a laser-cut, stainless steel retrofit recycling container.
Our design was aesthetically appealing enough that it was chosen by other cities. So then why was it necessary for the waste agency to go into the design and manufacturing business?
In the article, the county attorney stated that there is no patent on the container; this is true. However, the design is protected under federal and state copyright laws, and we intend to aggressively pursue any person, business, or entity that violates these laws.
Are the actions SLOIWMA ethical?! Is it okay for a government agency to use state funds to rip off an artistâ€™s design and use county funds to defend their shameless actions? This violation has serious ramifications for artists and designers everywhere, hence why I felt it important for the public to know about it.