Tailoring Made Easy with U-Dazzle Folding Sewing Ruler

U-Dazzle: A Brand Name Steeped in Meaning

Rhona Jack started sewing when she was just six years old – watching her mother. When she was ten, she won a special prize for needlework in a national primary school competition. From there it became a passion for life. She could have never imagined that she would go on to leave such a mark on the clothing industry. Today, she is a designer, entrepreneur and fast becoming one of Trinidad and Tobago’s most celebrated inventors, not to mention an amazing motivation to other female innovators.

Rhona Jack inducted into the Trinidad & Tobago Intellectual Property Office’s “Inventors Hall of Fame”.
Image: Tobago House of Assembly
In March 2022, Rhona was inducted into the Trinidad & Tobago Intellectual Property Office’s “Inventors Hall of Fame”.

The spark of creativity behind the U-Dazzle foldable tailor ruler

Rhona’s school days were challenging – though no name was put on it at the time, she suffered from dyslexia. This, combined with other major health challenges, eventually prevented her from completing her formal education. Having always dreamt of becoming a seamstress, Rhona signed up to a fashion design course.

Over the years, Rhona got married, had four children and worked as a self-employed seamstress. She continued going to sewing classes, and gave private needlework lessons to young girls at home. Driven by a strong desire to make a difference and share her passion with others, Rhona also helped to reintroduce needlework into, and teach part-time at, three local primary schools.

Rhona would always have all of her sewing rulers of different shapes and sizes with her. They were rigid and cumbersome, and did not fit into any regular bag. Her father’s foldable carpentry ruler came to mind, and Rhona started to wonder if something similar existed for seamstresses.

It didn’t… at least not yet, and a creative idea started to form!

Introducing the U-Dazzle multi-purpose fashion ruler

Rhona’s unique, multi-purpose and collapsible sewing ruler – branded under the name “U-Dazzle” – has the potential to revolutionize the work of fashion designers across the world. It comprises three different kinds of rulers:

  • L-square – a two-piece ruler arranged in a L-shape, used to create scaled versions of sewing patterns;
  • Hip curve – used for creating curves for hip lines; and
  • French curve – used for drawing necklines, armholes, sleeve caps and more.

Designers simply have to place the ruler into the desired configuration and trace its lines and curves for an endless number of unique combinations.

The ruler has double-jointed hinges, enabling each section to rotate 360 degrees, and the ruler itself to collapse down to one-fourth its actual length. It comes complete with a built-in calculator, and to top it all off, has a customized carrying case for easy transport and storage.

U-Dazzle ruler showing the double-jointed hinges, different rules types, built in calculator and carrying case
Image: Rhona Jack
Photos of the U-Dazzle ruler showing the double-jointed hinges, different rules types, built in calculator and carrying case

Entering the Trinidad and Tobago IP Office’s Hall of Fame

Though so ingenious, it took many years for Rhona’s invention to reach the public eye. With a very clear picture of the ruler in her mind, Rhona sketched out her invention and took it to a local engineer. He loved her idea, but warned her not to show it to anyone until she had patent protection.

She knew nothing about intellectual property (IP) and did not have the financial means to do anything about it anyway. So, she hid her sketches safely away in a drawer for nine whole years for fear that someone would steal her idea.

She continued to work and give classes, but Rhona desperately wanted to be more than just a housewife and a seamstress. She became aware of a national training initiative – the “Women to Women Program”. She signed up and started taking classes covering everything from computer literacy to customer service and entrepreneurship. “It was a dream come true! They taught us the whole nine yards, and I seized the opportunity to learn”.

It was through this program that she learnt about the “Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister’s Invention and Innovation Competition.” Rhona took a leap of faith and entered her ruler into the competition, winning a special prize. Next, having researched more into the concept of invention and innovation, she filed an industrial design application through the Trinidad and Tobago Intellectual Property Office and, slowly, her journey into the world of IP started.

Seeking international design and trademark protection for Fashion Ruler

The IP machine is set in motion

Intellectual property rights are vital. Over the years, people have lost their rights of proof of ownership because they did not seek intellectual property rights. I have protected my invention – and its name – by all the IP-related means possible!

Rhona Jack

By 2017, Rhona had both an industrial design registration and a trademark registration in Trinidad and Tobago, and a design patent in the United States of America (US). In 2018, she signed a licensing agreement with the Danish Company Garngaarden and Associates, giving them rights to sell the ruler all over Europe.

Using the services of a US-based lawyer, Rhona then filed for national trademark protection in the US but, after some time, she discovered that the application had been abandoned. Having heard about the WIPO Madrid System – and that Trinidad and Tobago was likely to join soon – she decided to wait until she could apply for trademark protection in the US and various other countries, under the umbrella of an international application.

I was so happy to hear that using the Madrid System I would be able to file just one application in English to seek protection for U-Dazzlee internationally.

U-Dazzle – A brand name with a very personal message

From early on, Rhona had always referred to her ruler as “Rhona’s collapsible ruler”. When it came to protecting her product, she realized that she wanted to rebrand to something that did not include her own name.

She had always told herself that if she could motivate at least one person a day, then she could sleep well at night. Putting this together with Rhona’s strong belief in the role that fashion plays, it’s not hard to imagine where the inspiration for the brand name “U-Dazzle” came from.

U-Dazzle logo

Fashion is about being glamorous and pretty. And, I believe that I dazzle people’s lives – I leave a statement; I leave a mark! “U-Dazzle” – that’s exactly what I believe I do.

Rhona Jack

It’s catchy, meaningful and easy to remember – all key elements that help ensure a brand name’s success. As for the design of her logo, she’s added a personal and symbolic touch there too – one star for each of her daughters!

International trademark system opens up new doors for U-Dazzle

The Caribbean islands of Trinidad and Tobago are relative new comers to the Madrid System, joining only in October 2020. From January 12, 2021, local brand owners in Trinidad and Tobago started to leverage WIPO’s international trademark system to protect their national trademarks in all or any Madrid System member countries.

Rhona was quick to contact the Trinidad and Tobago IP Office. With their support and assistance to complete her application, she became the first individual in Tobago to file an application for international trademark protection. Through that single application, filed in English, she was able to request protection in multiple markets – Canada, China, European Union, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States of America, and within just a few months, her application was registered (international registration No. 163713).

Reminder! The European Union and the African Intellectual Property Organization (OAPI) are both members of the Madrid System. By designating these two intergovernmental organizations in an international application, your request for protection automatically applies to all their respective member states.

The Madrid System makes life easier. There are so many people like me with few resources. I wanted to file my trademark in multiple countries but could not find the finances to pay lawyers to file and manage my registrations. The Madrid System simplifies the process; it helps you to focus on the countries where you want protection, and to get up and running quickly!

Rhona Jack

Tackling intellectual property rights challenges

It’s not been all plain sailing for Rhona. Though protection of the brand U-Dazzle was granted in most of her target markets – to her astonishment, China was the first country to grant her protection – the IP Offices of the Russian Federation and the United States of America refused protection.

Fortunately, if Rhona can adjust the list of goods and services that she has connected with her brand name, the US should be able to grant her that protection, finally opening the door to trade in North America.

You can find out more about her International Registration No. 1637134 in Madrid Monitor available under eMadrid.

Helping other female inventors to dream

When Rhona Jack founded U-Dazzle, she really hoped to inspire other female inventors and entrepreneurs from developing countries, who – like her – all too often underestimate their talent, or are unaware of the tools at their disposal to help them and their businesses to reach their full potential.

Rhona Jack with a group of high school kids in a classroom
Image: Deneisia Jack
Rhona Jack with a group of high school kids in a classroom setting inspiring female inventors, and young people to reach their full potential

I was self-employed, had no money and very little education. With the numerous personal challenges that I had in my life, I often felt like giving up. But giving up was not an option. I was determined to bring U-Dazzle to life. I want to share my story with other women, to let them know that with belief and perseverance they too can make it. Speak your truth; don’t be ashamed to share your story, because your story is what will empower others.

Today Rhona is helping to spread this message within Trinidad and Tobago, going into high schools, church groups, and women’s groups, and even trying to secure national media support.

Her advice to others? “Start! If you have an idea put pen to paper, and then protect that idea. If you don’t start, you can never go forward. There are resources to help you. I’m very proud of the progress that Trinidad and Tobago has made. It’s hard work but we have advanced leaps and bounds in intellectual property.”

More about the Madrid System

The Madrid System is a convenient and cost-effective solution for registering trademarks in up to 130 countries by filing one application and paying one set of fees.

Quick links

Last update:

May 23, 2023

Trinidad and Tobago

Company name:

Share this content: