Pocket Bra Inventor Claims Patent Infringement

Wisconsin resident Tammy Pintor has filed suit against fellow Wisconsinite Leslie Van Dorf and her company Purse-Les for allegedly violating her US Patent on the Pocket Bra.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Tammy Pintor, owner of TJ Secret in Menomonee Falls, has a patent for a brassiere that holds and conceals electronic devices, cosmetics, money or other items. Court documents say Pintor began designing a pocket bra because she was frustrated that there was no product on the market that offered a secure, yet inconspicuous way to store small objects.

Meanwhile, Leslie Van Dorf of Nashotah was working on her own idea and launched a limited liability corporation called Purse-Les. Van Dorf promoted the product with a website and even got it placed in the swag bags at this year’s Golden Globe awards.

Pintor learned about Van Dorf’s company and sent her a cease-and-desist letter that also asked for an accounting of all Purse-Les apparel sales. Van Dorf said she ignored the letter.

imageIt looks like Pintor filed her US application for ARTICLE OF APPAREL FOR CONCEALING OBJECTS in September 2008, claiming priority to a US Provisional Patent Application filed in October 2007.  She doesn’t yet “have a patent,” as the article states – the application is still pending. 

A quick web search shows that Pintor and Van Dorf are not the only ones out there selling bras with pockets – dozens of companies manufacture pockets that attach to existing bras, and several others offer bras with built-in pockets.  I’ve personally seen them out in the wild – pockets have long been popular on sports bras. They hold a key, an ID, a small MP3 player, things like that.

A quick reading of Pintor’s patent application seems to show that Pintor is claiming a bra with a pocket positioned toward the outer portion of the bra, with the pockets on the side of the bra.

…the article further comprising a pocket layer having a perimeter, wherein a majority of the perimeter of the pocket layer is attached to the inner surface of the breast cover defining a pocket between the pocket layer and the inner surface of the breast cover, the pocket having a mouth for receiving objects to be carried in the article, wherein the pocket is disposed toward the lateral side of the breast cover with the mouth toward the upper lateral portion of the breast cover, such that when the article is worn on the body of a wearer with the breast cover held in place over a breast, an object received in the pocket is biased against the lateral side of the breast

Van Dorf’s innovation, on the other hand, has at least one pocket positioned smack dab in the middle.  I’ll refrain from linking the image, to keep this article as “safe for work” as possible, but if you’re inclined, you can view Van Dorf’s bra here.

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