Spellbinders Patent is Dead
Post ReplyPost New TopicPosted 11/15/2012 by EnglishMajor in General Scrappin'
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EnglishMajor
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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:13:34 PM
All the speculation about the Spellbinders v. QuicKutz lawsuit can end. Spellbinders lost and they lost their patent in the process.

Spellbinders was shown in court to have willfully deceived the patent office AND the court on multiple occasions to obtain and keep their patent. For that the judge ruled their patent unenforceable.

Spellbinders expressed outrage that other die companies would be so unethical as to infringe their patent. When in reality, it was Spellbinders who unethically obtained a patent that they should have never been granted.

They then took that patent and tried to ruin their competitors. They sued QuicKutz and Lifestyle Crafts. They told Sizzix that they were next to be sued and I am sure it wouldn't have ended until they were alone in the market and could then raise their prices.

Spellbinders and their owners should be hiding their heads in shame. But, I am sure that they will just continue the patern of lies.

I for one would never buy from a company who behaves this way.



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Posted: 11/15/2012 5:34:06 PM
I had no idea there was a lawsuit.

so... what was your motive for coming to post this here, newbie?



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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:01:09 PM
P.S. I will continue to buy them if there is something I want because I can get them in the box stores and use a coupon.



VexedAngel
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:16:19 PM
Wow. I don't care if she's a newbie, this is unreal and I'm glad to know. I guess I would appreciate a link, though.


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VexedAngel
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:17:40 PM
Here we go.

linky loo


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VexedAngel
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:18:55 PM
Apparently this has been going for awhile, I was clueless. I don't buy any thin profile dies because I can cut the equivalent in my Silhouette, but I had been considering it lately. Veddy inta-resting!


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*kaleidoscope*
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Posted: 11/15/2012 6:43:05 PM

Wow. I don't care if she's a newbie, this is unreal and I'm glad to know.


I just like to know what the vested interest is. I'm sure there is. Maybe said person is involved with QK/Lifestyle Crafts in some way.



VexedAngel
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Posted: 11/15/2012 8:42:41 PM
Well, yeah, that's true, there probably is a connection.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 10:37:29 PM
So, what does this mean in terms of Spellbinders business? I, for one, prefer their dies, esp the Nestabilities line, 10 to 1 over the Quickutz/Lifestyle Crafts dies.

I hope this isn't the end for the product line.


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Posted: 11/15/2012 11:34:37 PM
If this lawsuit was about dies with a HOLE in them, then I'm wondering if AccuCut had wafer thin (Zip'e Cut) dies WITH a hole in them first. I've had some LONG before I ever heard of Spellbinders.

I have some Spellbinder's dies but honestly prefer my QuicKutz nested dies. I have all of the lacy edge shapes and are my favorite.


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JeanneLove
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:22:39 AM
Looking a the link provided, the only thing that is shown is other links to that same site, scrapbookupdate. I would think that it would have made some news somewhere. The comments on scrapbookupdate are just from the 14th and 15th of this month. My guess is it could be possible (just guessing here, I don't KNOW) that it is to generate sales at their site.
I did a quick google search for "spellbinders lawsuit" and the only thing I saw was blogs and of course that site and here at 2peas.

I'm not going to believe it until someone can show me some legal document somewhere. I think it would be available on a .gov site.

desdichaedo
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Posted: 11/16/2012 4:42:30 AM

I'm not going to believe it until someone can show me some legal document somewhere. I think it would be available on a .gov site.


You can read a PDF of the judge's 11/13/2012 order here: Spellbinders vs. QuicKutz Judgement



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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:25:58 AM

If this lawsuit was about dies with a HOLE in them, then I'm wondering if AccuCut had wafer thin (Zip'e Cut) dies WITH a hole in them first. I've had some LONG before I ever heard of Spellbinders.



Well, I looked up zip'e cuts and I don't think they're the same thing. Granted, I haven't seen every die put out but I gather they are different. I think in this case they are talking about the 'hole' being used as part of the die for embossing. I'm not aware that before Spellbinders there were other dies designed the same way.



mommamoonrn
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Posted: 11/16/2012 7:30:18 AM
Sad to see, I still like their products...


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Posted: 11/16/2012 8:02:43 AM
Wow! I had no idea!

Thanks desdichaedo for the PDF!



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EnglishMajor
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Posted: 11/16/2012 9:53:21 AM
To answer the question as to my motive for posting here. I do have friends who work for QuicKutz/Lifestyle Crafts. I don't work there.

They have been dealing with a Spellbinders group who would say or do anything to keep their patent with no regard for what was the truth. The judge finally called them on it.

This unwarranted lawsuit almost put them out of business. It is sad to see good people who only want to make good product be taken advantage of by unethical people.

Thanks to whoever posted the link to the judge's decision. It is an interesting read. Your opinion of Spellbinders will never be the same.

Sweet Dreamer
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Posted: 11/16/2012 10:07:03 AM
Just wondering, OP, how many other scrapping websites did you post this on?


Also, my opinion of Spellbinders products won't change even though my opinion of the owners has been modified.

devildog
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Posted: 11/16/2012 10:38:56 AM

Just wondering, OP, how many other scrapping websites did you post this on?


If people don't share it, people won't know about it. Whether or not people decide to not buy the products anymore remains to be seen, but nothing wrong with sharing facts.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 10:50:08 AM
Like I said, I was just wondering. No snark intended.


EnglishMajor
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Posted: 11/16/2012 10:51:13 AM
This is the only scrapbook/craft forum that I am aware of. I didn't post anywhere else.

To answer a question posted about Zip 'e Cuts from Dayco/Accucut. They were exactly the same as Spellbinders dies and they were introduced first. Just ask the Dayco owners. They even confronted the Spellbinders owners about it back in 2005. The Dayco owners were subpoenaed for information in this case and said as much. The lawyers also produced a catalog of the Dayco dies that predates the Spellbinders dies. Guess where they found the catalog??? In Spellbinders' office files.

If you really want the details. Here you go. QuicKutz filed for a similar patent 2 years prior to Spellbinders. When the PTO was shown the QK patent application they threw out the Spellbinders patent. It was only reinstated when Spellbinders submitted declarations from their friends in the industry raving about how great their dies were. Only they didn't disclose to the PTO that they had financial relationships with the declarants (a very big no no).

The owner of Spellbinders then submitted a number of false declarations and contradicted himself. In a previous lawsuit he testified that he invented his dies in Nov 2004. He testified that he would "never forget the day". But when confronted with the Dayco dies released in early 2004, he changed and said that he now invented them in 2003.

I know that I may appear to be biased. Well, what would you do when you have seen terrible injustice and then the truth comes out. People need to know what happened and how ugly it really was. Everything I have posted can be verified in the court documents if you care to read them, which I have.

VexedAngel
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Posted: 11/16/2012 11:17:10 AM
Jeanne, have you ever heard of Scrapbook Update? It's been around for awhile, it's really the only outlet I know of for scrap business news. Not sure why you think the OP was trying to sell something on there? I don't think Nancy Nally sells anything but ads. That AND the fact that the OP didn't share the link--I did! I just googled, and that came up and I knew SU was a reliable source.


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3kidmama
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Posted: 11/16/2012 11:19:23 AM
I have 2 Spellbinder's machines plus many, many of their dies. I read through the entire Judge's ruling.

Quote about Spellbinders owner from the judge in his ruling: "...Plaintiffs' pattern of deception and discovery abuse make it impossible to conduct a trial with any reasonable assurance that the truth will be available."

It looks like Spellbinders even got Gina K drug into their lawsuit!

kelseymel
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Posted: 11/16/2012 11:26:47 AM
I'm wondering what this means for Spellbinders now? It's all a little unsettling. I love LOVE their dies, but now have a bad taste in my mouth due to the company's lack of ethics.



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Posted: 11/16/2012 11:52:45 AM

Also, my opinion of Spellbinders products won't change even though my opinion of the owners has been modified.


Yep. Like I said, I can get them in the store with a coupon.

Same thing with Provo Craft. I still like my cricut even if the way the company runs sucks rocks. I don't really need any more carts though (17 physical and 7 digital) so unless they came out with something that made me or was dirt cheap that I liked, I'm not likely to buy any more. But that has nothing to do with their business practices, etc. It's a money standpoint.

I would REALLY like to see the dies that are claimed to have come out before Spellbinders. Because if they did exactly what Spellbinders does, I'd imagine they'd have been popular. Unless they had a lousy marketing team.



ridelow
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:07:25 PM
Wow, I've never heard any of the history of this story. It's always a surprise to me to hear these sorts of behind-the-scenes business dealings.



JeanneLove
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:22:55 PM
VexedAngel, no, I hadn't heard of SU before. I did google and couldn't find anything but talk about it on message boards and SU.
Thank you for the pdf link tho. I appreciate it!

AimeeInOhio
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:32:55 PM
This makes me so sad. I know Stacey, and I've been in love with Spellbinders since the very beginning...I had one of the very first machines made right here in Ohio.

I need to think about this a bit...I was planning to apply for the next DT term, but, ah, I'm not sure now. I don't buy Provo because they suck business wise (I take that back, I DO buy the Cricut Mini mats, because I have the Sil SD and cant get mats locally, but that is the ONLY product I buy) and are underhanded.

How they can think this is OK blows my mind.


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alone_inacrowdedroom
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Posted: 11/16/2012 12:59:57 PM
I didn't know there was speculation, as I'd never heard of this lawsuit. Where did you see speculation, if you just joined this site and it's the only scrappy forum you know of? I have not seen any posts about this on here, but maybe I just skipped over them or something.

I'm not trying to be snarky, by the way, just wondering.



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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:15:35 PM
People can read here without joining. They only have to join to post. She may have been reading speculation here for years for all we know.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:17:11 PM
A while back this lawsuit was all over SplitCoast. People were getting nasty, supporting the different companies and calling the other ones liars and cheats. It was not pretty. I am glad to see the issue is finally resolved...I don't buy a ton of thin dies and I don't support one particular company. I wish good luck to all the companies and people involved in this. It seems like it has been a pretty ugly situation in an industry that has devoted itself to beauty and good feelings.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:34:06 PM
I read a good chunk of the 33 page order, but admittedly not all of it. My thoughts are as follows:

Wafer thin dies came out first. Granted, they did not have a hole in them, but I'm pretty sure the process for making them was used first by either QuicKutz or Accu-cut. The process for making them would be what the lawsuit was really about, not just the addition of the hole.

The Zip-e-Mate was a crappy machine, which is why it never caught on, and few people bought their dies. I bought the machine and hated it, although I liked some of the dies. The dies were definitely the wafer thin dies. I still have a couple. I do not remember if I saw QuicKutz dies first or Zip-e-Mate, but I'm fairly confident that the process of making the wafer thin dies is probably what the patent was about, and that Spellbinders came along after QuicKutz. Using a process patented by someone else, and just adding a hole for a new use, seems kind of similar to a derivative work in copyright law. A lot of people think they can take someone else's design, make a few small changes, and presto, claim copyright. It doesn't work that way, at least not anymore. Anyone who wants to take a copyrighted work and alter it must get permission from the copyright holder BEFORE making a derivative work.

I assume the court viewed this in a similar way. Unless Spellbinders patented the process of the wafer thin, chemically etched dies first, their patent would be nullified once it had been researched and found that the process had been patented already by someone else. It shouldn't matter whether or not Spellbinders decided to add a hole and a new use if the process for making the dies was already previously patented.

However, I am not a lawyer, and I didn't read the whole order. What I did read left me rather disgusted with Spellbinders, though.

I like their dies, but I have no need to buy any more of them. It didn't affect my decision to buy from Provo Craft because I felt their lawsuit was to some extent justified, even though I thought they were shooting themselves in the foot by doing so. The Spellbinder's case appears to have some other aspects to it that seem a lot more underhanded and deceptive if the court order is correct. That bothers me.

Provo Craft underestimated how customers would react to their lawsuits, and they had more justification for legal action than it appears (to me) Spellbinders had. It's quite possible that this will cause some of the Spellbinder customers to turn their backs, just as some customers did with Provo Craft.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 1:45:57 PM
Scrapn Nana - see.... I thought the patent was for the type of dies. That you could cut, emboss, and stencil with the one die. Not how it is made (i.e. etching). I would think that if quickutz or accucut had a patent on the process, spellbinders would have been sued for it when they first started.



EnglishMajor
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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:41:11 PM
Kaleidoscope you are correct. Only part of the patent was for how the dies were made. Part was the structure and part was the use. Unfortunately, all three were done previously. In the craft industry Dayco came out with them first. I have seen the Dayco dies and they are identical. In other industries they have been around for decades. The dies that are used to cut cereal boxes and to make windows in envelopes are all etched dies with holes.

When you apply for a patent the PTO relies on the applicant to research what they call "prior art", or everything that is already known in the art. Even though QuicKutz filed for a very similar patent 2 years prior to the Spellbinders application, the QK patent application was denied because they presented the relevant prior art. Spellbinders didn't and the patent was granted. You would be surprised how little the PTO researches patents. They rely on two things. Patent applicants to be honest and the court system. They figure that if a patent shouldn't have been granted, that when the owner tries to assert the patent the research will come out in court. They just pass the buck to the court system. The problem with that is that the court system gives deferrence to a patent holder. They have the innocent until proven guilty advantage. The burden of proof is on the defendant.

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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:45:52 PM
well, I'd like to see these original pre-spellbinders dies myself.
Your example of envelope window openings does not sound the same to me. 1. it serves a different purpose and 2. they aren't embossing and stenciling.



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Posted: 11/16/2012 2:58:21 PM
Still trying to hunt down these so-called identical dies.
I found zip'e snaps, which cut and emboss and they are not identical to Spellbinders.



3kidmama
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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:13:59 PM
Trust me, Ladies. I am a Spellbinder's fan - I even use a Spellbinder's "Wizard" instead of the "Big Shot" everyone else loves/uses. I own a Grand Calibur. I have many,many metal dies and all but 2 are Spellbinder's dies. Until this am, I had no reason to dislike this company!

If you doubt, read the Judge's ruling!

Spellbinders deliberately filed 2 deceitful patents with the Patent office. The owner of Spellbinder's also got a bunch of people (including Gina K) to file statements on theif behalf of how original and wonderful this "new" die invention of Spellbinders was - without telling the PTO or court that these people had a financial relationship with Spellbinders. When caught on it, they were evasive and stalled. They delayed giving their "prototype" dies for months and months to the defense as ordered by the court, and on it went.

Think about it, it was in Spellbinder's interest to delay and hide and drag a trial like this out, because meantime they are making big $$$ sell dies when they stole the design from someone else!

I'm sickened by this. My parents and siblings own their own small businesses. When you end up in court(no fault of your own), the expenses can easily bankrupt you, and many times unethical people (and lawyers) COUNT ON THAT!

scrapkatze
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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:17:12 PM
Kaleidoscope, I googled for etched industrial dies and came up with five pages of companies for Germany only, who seem to have been in that business for quite a while, so I'd suppose the original patent has expired (here in Germany after 20 years) a long time ago. I highly doubt that embossing and stenceling would make enough difference to warrant a new patent.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:22:07 PM
I am not doubting they did things wrong and/or were trying to hide things, etc.

I'm just trying to figure out where the egg came from.



scrapkatze
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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:28:01 PM

I'm just trying to figure out where the egg came from.


Yep, that's something I'd be interrested in too


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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:30:27 PM
So who owns the original patent?!?!? Was Spellbinders eventually ordered to cease production of any and all new dies altogether?

I remember the QK wafer thin dies...and if memory serves correctly, zipemate/dies came out soon after.

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Posted: 11/16/2012 3:48:52 PM
A couple of years ago there was a kerfluffle in the pub when SB sent an email asking for help with the case but they sent it to consumers; not just wholesalers.

I'm on my phone so I can't search but someone might be able to find it.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 4:11:13 PM
Kaleidoscope and English Major, thank you for the clarification on patents.

After all is said and done, 3kidmama said exactly what I was feeling. She just stated it a lot better than I did.


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Posted: 11/16/2012 4:32:35 PM
I bought a Zip e' Mated die machine for $10.00 at a yard sale. So far, so good.

I'm curious where it first started too. If Spellbinders was suing QK for copying "their patent" then QK was copying another companies patent. It just wasn't Spellbinders.

Also, who is Gina K?

BrownCatScrapper
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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:14:27 PM
I was at A.C. Moore last week and was not able to use the 50% off coupon on any of the spellbinder's dies. I was told they were already on sale/clearance and will not be carrying the product anymore.
Wendy in Northern VA

EnglishMajor
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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:33:48 PM
Neither QuicKutz nor Spellbinders has a patent on etched dies with holes in them.

The way patents work is they are meant to teach a new skill or product to the market. For bringing that knowledge, the US government gives the patent applicant a right to preclude others from using that new idea for 20 years. After that time, anyone can use the technology.

The technology in these etched dies is spread over multiple patents. Some from the 80's.

The reality is that this technology has been around for many decades and no one company should be able to stop others from using it.

My hope is that both QuicKutz and Spellbinders will just go back to making good products and competing on an even playing field.



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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:34:28 PM
Oh no... will this be like the mad rush on Twinkies??



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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:41:56 PM
well, isn't this interesting?


The CHA Industry Achievement Award is granted to a CHA member who has contributed to the growth and vitality of the craft and hobby industry as a whole. This year's Industry Achievement award recipient is Stacey Caron, Co-Founder and President of Spellbinders(TM) Paper Arts LLC. Stacey's vision has created many "firsts" in innovation that have contributed to and changed the craft industry. One of her notable inventions includes the Spellbinders Wizard(TM) Universal Craft Tool, a universal die cutting and embossing machine that was the first to accept dies from all manufacturers and enable crafters to emboss brass stencils for the first time without the need for a light box. One of Stacey's nominators stated: "I have personally seen her change designers lives, give hard-earned cash to crafting charities (as well as product) and raise the spirits of women everywhere who need to be creative." Stacey received the 2012 Enterprising Women of the Year award from Enterprising Women magazine that recognizes highly successful, entrepreneurial women leading fast-growing companies.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/cha-awards-committee-announces-2012-industry-awards-2012-11-07

Ok, i don't know about the other stuff but I'm not so sure they were the first to allow people to emboss brass stencils without a light box. If the Zaz came out before Spellbinders did, then I know for a fact they aren't first.



IScrapCrap
StuckOnPeas

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October 2012
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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:54:56 PM

Oh no... will this be like the mad rush on Twinkies??


Hey now. I just bought a package of my favorite Hostess product today; crumb donettes.

At least spell binders dies will last a lot longer.

EnglishMajor
PeaWee

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November 2012
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Posted: 11/16/2012 5:55:57 PM
Is she really trying to take credit for "inventing" the roller press?

I guess the wheel is next.

Nicole in TX
The Peas did what we do and went insane over it

PeaNut 16,696
June 2001
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Posted: 11/16/2012 6:13:32 PM
So you registered on Two Peas just to post this crap? Who are you really? Why the personal vendetta?


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