What if you invented a product, sold it as a unique item among similar, but inferior products for nine years, then suddenly found that someone else was claiming to have invented your product? You’d be pretty angry! Well, that’s exactly what’s happened to Eyal Levy, inventor of the zero-gravity bean bag, the Yogibo. Since 2009, Levy has been selling his product to millions of consumers who needed a comfortable furniture solution that didn’t look like a traditional bean bag. Then came 2018, when John Fiorentino began hawking a similar product, called the Moon Pod, and the Yogibo vs Moon Pod war ignited.
Levy was busy minding his business in 2018, managing his 120 retail showrooms and selling his popular bean bag when he started receiving messages that someone was ripping off his idea. At first, Levy wasn’t too concerned, since he knew there would be similar products on the market at some point, but then he learned that the new company’s founder, John Fiorentino was claiming he invented the zero gravity bean bag. This didn’t sit well with Levy.
After all, if you had been selling a unique product for almost a decade and someone else came along and said they invented it, you’d be pretty angry, too. Then, if you find out that the person who is now selling a similar product purchased your product at least seven times before launching their Kickstarter fundraising efforts, you’d be downright furious. That’s exactly what happened to Levy, although Fiorentino denies he purchased the Yogibo that many times. He does admit that he purchased products from several companies for market research before developing his own.
Even though Levy was unhappy with the new company’s claims that they invented the inventive zero-gravity chair, he was hoping it was a case of having misspoken. He thought he might be able to clear it up by just bringing the issue to Moon Pod’s attention.
Since Levy knew that Moon Pod was not the first product to boast the supportive, zero-pressure-point features it claimed to have, he decided to get his lawyers involved. His legal team sent John Fiorentino and Moon Pod a cease-and-desist order to remove the assertions that Fiorentino invented it. However, despite evidence to the contrary, Fiorentino indicated he never claimed invention and ignored the order.
Levy believes that when a company claims to be the inventor of a product, they create a value proposition that can’t be replicated by any marketing strategy. As such, Yogibo is losing potentially millions of dollars in value proposition from Moon Pod’s assertions that it’s the first one of its kind. Anyone who is familiar with Yogibo knows that it’s impossible for Moon Pod to have come first because Levy has been selling his nearly-identical product since 2009, when he was inspired to develop it for his then-pregnant wife.
It’s not so much the revenue that Levy will lose from this Moon Pod’s invention claims that upsets Levy. It’s more the fact that Fiorentino almost certainly knew about Levy and Yogibo and didn’t concern themselves with their existence. Levy’s pride hurts more than his wallet does.
The battle between Yogibo and Moon Pod has only just started, and it’s probably going to get more intense as the months go on. Levy is considering further legal action and Moon Pod has started getting complaints about quality issues with their product. Their cotton-poly blend cover is not as luxurious as Yogibo’s cotton-lycra blend cover, and Moon Pod’s fabric is more susceptible to pilling than Yogibo’s fabric. Additionally, when consumers have contacted the customer to complain, they are reporting issues with Moon Pod’s customer service as well.
Moon Pod customers are struggling to return defective products or missing parts, and some are even calling the company a scam. This may be a little far-fetched, as there are satisfied Moon Pod customers, but where, there’s smoke, there’s fire. When the negative reviews start to pile up, that company is doing something wrong. While the complaints may cause this situation to die down faster than it would if both products were as good as Yogibo, Levy still needs to ensure other potential competitors don’t follow Fiorentino’s lead and try to claim his product as their own.
Once the war between Moon Pod and Yogibo is over, there will likely be just one company left standing, at least in its current form. When a company is convicted of intellectual property theft, they usually have to change the product to be different from the one it copied. If this happens in this case, it’s probable that Moon Pod will be the company that will be required to alter their design. Levy has significant evidence that he has been selling his product since 2009 and can offer proof that he was the inventor of this type of bean bag chair.
In the aftermath of the fight, it’s possible that both brands will have suffered from negative exposure; however, with the recent customer complaints about Moon Pod, it appears that Fiorentino’s product may have other brand-damaging issues to deal with, while Yogibo continues to offer a high-quality bean bag chair and superior customer service. Even so, Yogibo will need to exercise some damage control related to the claims that Moon Pod was the original product, especially to potential customers who don’t know about the battle or Levy’s journey to creating the original.
When an inventor develops a new product, there are protections in place to prevent others from stealing their ideas. However, it appears that this case slipped through the cracks, especially since both are claiming to have invented it. Now that Yogibo has received a patent on his design, he has an advantage over Moon Pod, which does not appear to have one yet. Fiorentino stated in an interview that he would be pursuing a patent, but there is no evidence that he has.
If and when this case goes to court, Levy has the more solid foundation for his invention claims. As such, Moon Pod may need to change its design to differentiate itself more than it has, but the fight could be long and the outcome may not be known for years.