Provo Craft Issues Statement on Cricut Cake Controversy

The Cricut Cake machine that was unveiled at CHA Winter 2010 amid much buzz will be launched on HSN on April 14th. Unfortunately for Provo Craft, as that date approaches the machine’s origin has become surrounded in controversy.

The controversy has been fueled by custom cake designer Linda McClure of Vidalia, Louisiana, who has posted a lengthy statement on her website claiming to be the real inventor of the Cricut Cake machine’s concept. Her daughter has been posting on several prominent scrapbook message boards on her mother’s behalf, drawing attention to and defending her mother’s claims.

McClure filed an application on March 24th, 2010 for a patent related to the process used to cut gum paste with the Cricut machine. Whether the patent will be granted is yet to be determined in a lengthy and complex process. Approval is by no means certain.

After McClure’s allegations worked message boards into a frenzy over a few days, Provo Craft finally felt compelled to do something that is rare for them: issue a response to negative publicity. Among other things, Provo Craft claims they started development of the Cake machine in 2007:

In 2009, Linda McClure approached Provo Craft about a method of cutting gum paste, a method with which Provo Craft was already familiar and whose documented development dates as far back as 2007. We reached an informal agreement that provided for Ms. McClure to be compensated at fair market value for her time and consulting services as we prepared to launch Cricut Cake in 2010. She accepted, performed certain activities, and was compensated accordingly.

More recently, Provo Craft and Ms. McClure discussed the possibility of extending a formal consulting agreement. We believe that some of her requests, including both financial and non-financial terms, were unrealistic. Further, Linda was adamant that her requests were non-negotiable. As a result we chose not to enter a long term agreement with her, and unfortunately our relationship deteriorated.

Provo Craft’s initial research and development for Cricut Cake began in 2007. Since then, Provo Craft has conducted extensive market research and consulted with industry leaders, and both professional and aspiring cake decorators. We’re grateful for the valuable input and the enthusiastic support of these individuals, and we look forward to our continued relationship with them. We also hope you share our excitement for the fun possibilities that Cricut Cake will bring to creative kitchens everywhere.

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6 Responses to Provo Craft Issues Statement on Cricut Cake Controversy

  1. VickiF April 10, 2010 at 9:41 am #

    Goodness me. Provocraft is getting a LOT of negative pubicity these days. Not a good thing in the current fragile scrapbooking and crafts industry these days. I am glad they chose to respond though, as that makes them seem more approachable and less “BIG CORPORATION”. Hope things work out for all parties.

  2. Jessica McClure Remington April 10, 2010 at 2:01 pm #

    Assuming I am the daughter in question, I’d like to state that I’ve posted on my blog and the two peas website my mother’s statement. I also posted the link on the Cricut Facebook fan page, but was then blocked from the site and have not been allowed back on at all. From what I’ve been told, it was posted again on that fan page.
    Others have quickly caught the enthusiasm of standing up to the company and the word has spread. I’ve been told it is on a ton of message boards and blogs now. It’s the word of mouth that helps the underdog have a voice. It’s word of mouth advertising that has helped some companies rise and others fail.
    It’s a shame that PC feels they need to manipulate the truth to cover themselves.

  3. Dean April 10, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    I frankly do not believe either the top dog or the under dog. Who ever holds the patent wins..

  4. Krissy April 12, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Interesting. It is a shame that these big companies feel they can walk all over those who present their ideas and then apparently lie about it. Sure, it’s hard to know who to believe, but based on other info I’ve heard about PC, I’m leaning towards the underdog.

  5. Stee April 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm #

    It all sounds like sour grapes to me. If this lady’s claims are true – that she gave the idea to Provo Craft while at her attorney’s office – then why didn’t her attorney make sure a non-disclosure agreement executed before she gave them all her ideas and let them take photos and film things? Why didn’t her attorney file the patent before speaking with Provo Craft at all?
    A good attorney would have insisted on having all the proper precautions in place before proceeding. Is her attorney even a patent/intellectual property attorney?

  6. noell April 12, 2010 at 7:54 pm #

    Whichever party is in the right, I’m giving Provo Craft major props for making a public statement that is as open as this one is (whether people think they’re lying or not). It’s refreshing after some of the past controversies in the industry among major companies.

    There are always going to be tricky issues such as this in an industry that is arts or craft related. Ownership can get very fuzzy.