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.