Spellbinders Loses Appeal in QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts Lawsuits

On August 12th, the appeals court brought to an end the long saga of the court battle pitting Spellbinders against QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts with an opinion that consisted of a single word – “AFFIRMED” – confirming the previous ruling that QuicKutz had won from the lower court.

Procedurally, there are two avenues of appeal open after losing a case in U.S. Appeals Court. One is to request the case be re-heard “en banc”, meaning before the entire three judge Appeals Court panel. To secure an en banc hearing, however, the party must be able to cite a point in the original appeals decision that they want to argue with the court. Since the Spellbinders decision was issued without an accompanying opinion, the company is effectively denied the option of an en banc appeal.

The only other option would be an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, which is extremely selective about which cases it hears. After the case was decided at the Appeals level without even an opinion being issued, the Supreme Court would appear to be off limits as well, bringing the case to an end except for the continued fight over the payment of attorney’s fees from the litigation.

Eric Ruff, President of QuicKutz, release the following statement to Scrapbook Update about the decision:

This is finally over!  What a wonderful relief to be fully vindicated by the courts on all accounts.   As of today, Spellbinders’ patent is officially unenforceable and all threats it represented cannot be used against anyone else.  I sincerely hope that customers and retailers who were reluctant to consider QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts products due to perceived legal threats will now take a renewed look at them.

Spellbinders and Lifestyle Crafts have not responded to a request for comment on the matter.

13 Responses to Spellbinders Loses Appeal in QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts Lawsuits

  1. Addy August 26, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    Spellbinders needs to move on with their own business–there are so many other companies with the same ‘thin metal dies’ it’s crazy. I can’t remember the last time I bought either a spellbinder or QK/Lifestyle Craft die with all the other fantastic dies available now. Which makes all the other companies winners because of Spellbinders, is that minding one’s own business? Very sad to see this type of school yard bickering and not even notice the competition passing them up.

  2. Erik August 27, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    Interesting result. From a manufacturers point of view, this industry has always seemed to be rife with “copy-catting”, and though I didn’t follow the specific arguments of this case, it is interesting to see how the eyes of the law protect (or do not, depending on your side.) Thanks as always for the update Nancy.

  3. DebP August 27, 2013 at 1:04 pm #

    I agree with Addy. There are so many other thin metal die companies out there, many that have superseded Spellbinders in their variations or artistic designs. I still love Spellbinders, but they are not my most sought after die company any more. There is so much demand out there for dies, and in my opinion, enough profit to be made for all. The profit margin on that little bit of metal has to be tremendous. Why should one company have it all?
    thanks so much for the update…

  4. Laura Weed August 27, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

    Actually, Deb, so you know. The profit on that bit of metal is very small. A manufacturer has to buy thousands and thousands of dies as a minimum initial purchase. If thousands and thousands of crafters don’t leap on that one die, it ends up at closeout dealers and the manufacturer takes a loss.

  5. Addie August 27, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    I was surprised when Spellbinders pursued this appeal. It would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reverse the lower court with its emphatic and well written decision. I wonder if Spellbinders had the best legal advice (or if they disregarded their legal advice) in pursuing their appeal.

  6. Sandy peplinski August 27, 2013 at 5:07 pm #

    What many don’t realize is the original manufacturer of spellbinder dies and quikutz dies was American based. Now even that company is outsourcing to china!

    • Kathy September 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

      That’s the saddest part of it all. All of these products were american based and now….. it is not. SAD

  7. Mary August 27, 2013 at 7:59 pm #

    I can only hope and pray that Spellbinders now will focus it’s energy and money on manufacturing dies. I started with Quickutz dies, branched out into Spellbinders and have progressed on to other manufactures because of the Spellbinder bickering. If and when Spellbinders and QK come out with dies that appeal to me I will buy them. Until them I buy from which ever company has great dies.

  8. donna c August 29, 2013 at 11:03 pm #

    I think the actual design of the dies (style-wise), are like comparing apples to oranges! To me, most of the Quickutz dies have a more modern feel, while Spellbinders tend toward extremely detailed, and somewhat “frilly” looking, and Victorian-esque….is that even a word?! LOL! BUT…in terms of quality, Spellbinders blows Quickutz away. Quickutz dies are very thin, and bend easily. The only thing I buy from Lifestyle (rarely) are their embossing folders. Love the modern designs!
    Hopefully, both companies can just move forward. I didn’t read the appeal, just had a general idea that Spellbinders felt that Quickutz infringed on their patent, or some such thing. After all this, I wonder if Spellbinders thinks it was worth the time and money. As others said, the industry has continued to blossom with lots of companies producing thin-metal dies, so there are lots to choose from!

  9. Gab August 31, 2013 at 10:04 pm #

    Thanks for the update Nancy

  10. Shelly September 11, 2013 at 3:12 pm #

    Actually Laura i think you will find the profit on this thin bit of metal die is extremely high. If you disagree than its very obvious you dont know the chinese price of them. Its upto the company to make sure the designs are saleable and not bring out some ridiculous ” designer” die that hasnt a hope in hell of selling. If the manufacturers dont have the experince in knowing what sells and what doesnt then its time to get out of the kitchen. You forgot to mention the huge profit on the ones that do sell. Not to mention we are very ripped off by a large die price that is three times the price then charged again for the smaller die that has been cut from the same piece of metal!
    All in the name of “extending and goes with” marketing. Dont be fooled. The profit is extremly high. Would the countless other companies be playing in this field if it wasnt? Spellbinders certainly need to wake up and realise that many other brands are now much cheaper and quite a few much more appealing! Move on and see business will have competition and deal with it. Its also very obvious that some spellbinder designs are also copied!!! The is room for all if your good enough.

  11. Kathy September 11, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    I wish that they would all lower their prices a bit. If they would lower the prices then a lot more people would purchase their own full sets instead of selling, trading or borrowing. I don’t have that many actual dies simply because they cost so much. Electronic cutting seems to be so much cheaper and flexible. I love the thin dies though,… just too costly.

  12. Joy Thornborough November 11, 2014 at 1:54 pm #

    I have been a Quickutz fan since day one and still continue to be a big fan. Sorry that this market got so big that other’s try to knock you off your pedi.

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