One among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns by having an alleged copycat that states be getting ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive created a hive which allows honey to flow the front into collection jars, representing the first modernisation in the manner beekeepers collect honey. It took ten years to develop.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a comprehensive social networking campaign claiming to get the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow frame via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb has adopted similar phrases for example being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you can find substantial differences between your two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented worldwide. His lawyers are already not able to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show within their marketing video appears comparable to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we believe infringes on many aspects of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we will attempt to enforce our intellectual property rights decisively,” Anderson says.
“Our patent covers cells that split and honey that drains through the comb, which is precisely what they’re claiming to become bringing to showcase first. It appears similar to a blatant patent infringement if you ask me,” he says.
Flow Hive made global headlines when its crowdfunding bid broke all fundraising records on platform Indiegogo, raising more than $13 million. The campaign lay out to raise $100,000, but astonished even inventors if it raised $2.18 million within the first one day.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in than 100 countries and boasts over 40,000 customers, mostly around australia and also the US. The organization now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to be substantially different, conceding that the dimensions are exactly like Flow Hive.
“Very much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is in the internal workings that happen to be the foundation for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It is like someone has stolen something from your house and you’ve got to cope with it even if you really would like to hop on with performing a job you’re extremely enthusiastic about.
Tapcomb hives are now being tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We plan to launch Tapcomb worldwide in order to provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the internal workings of Tapcomb look like much like an earlier Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts irrespective of their depth inside of the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where flow frame set also offers a base. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that purchased in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb for being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says they have filed for patents in the usa, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he or she is hunting for a manufacturer. “The biggest thing for people like us is maximum quality at an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the 1st apparent copycat Flow Hive has experienced to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed for sale on various websites.
“There has been lots of very poor Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to discover other individuals fall under the trap of buying copies, just to be disappointed with low quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a fresh merchandise that has taken off around the world needs to expect opportunistic people to attempt to take market share. Of course, there will always be individuals out there willing to undertake this type of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It is like someone has stolen something from your house and you’ve got to deal with it even if you really just want to jump on with performing a job you’re extremely passionate about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights for example patents, trade marks and fashoins and obtaining appropriate relief could be a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be difficult to acquire legal relief within these scenarios. China is pretty much the Wild West in terms of theft of property rights, whilst the Chinese government has brought steps to improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters tend to be mobile, elusive and don’t have regard for alternative party trade mark or any other proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve great at covering their tracks, so that it is challenging to identify the perpetrators or perhaps to obtain satisfactory legal outcomes.”
Australian beekeeper Simon Mulvany ousted Tapcomb for allegedly copying Flow Hive’s design on his Save the Bees Facebook page in the week.
Mulvany has previously waged a social networking campaign against Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, accusing it of selling “toxic” imported honey and for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done so well which is now facing the possibilities of having his profits skimmed by this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever heard about.
“For an inventor, bee hive kits will always be improving his product, and people need to remember that the initial will always be superior to a duplicate.”