One among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns having an alleged copycat that states to be getting yourself ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive developed a hive that permits honey to circulate out your front into collection jars, representing the initial modernisation in the manner beekeepers collect honey. It took a decade to formulate.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking an extensive social media campaign claiming to be the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow frame via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb has additionally adopted similar phrases for example being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness there are substantial differences involving the two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented around the world. His lawyers have been incapable of uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show inside their marketing video appears just like cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we think infringes on many areas of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we shall aim to enforce our intellectual property rights decisively,” Anderson says.
“Our patent covers cells that split and honey that drains through the comb, which is exactly what they’re claiming to become bringing to advertise first. It appears similar to a blatant patent infringement to me,” he says.
Flow Hive made global headlines when its crowdfunding bid broke all fundraising records on platform Indiegogo, raising over $13 million. The campaign lay out to raise $100,000, but astonished even inventors if it raised $2.18 million within the first twenty four hours.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in more than 100 countries and boasts greater than 40,000 customers, mostly in Australia as well as the US. The company now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design being substantially different, conceding that this dimensions are like Flow Hive.
“Very much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is with the internal workings which are the cornerstone 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 handle it even if you really would like to jump on with carrying out 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 intend to launch Tapcomb worldwide in order to provide consumers a selection of products.”
However, Anderson says the internal workings of Tapcomb appear to be just like an earlier Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts no matter their depth within the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where beekeeping equipment also provides basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that bought from late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb as being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says he has declared patents in the usa, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he or she is looking for a manufacturer. “What is important for people like us is maximum quality with an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the initial apparent copycat Flow Hive has experienced to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for purchase on various websites.
“There have been lots of lousy Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to discover other folks fall into the trap of buying copies, only to be disappointed with low quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a fresh product which is taking off around the globe has got to expect opportunistic people to try and take market share. Of course, you will always find people out there able to undertake these kinds of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It seems like someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to manage it even when you really only want to jump on with doing a job you’re extremely passionate about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights like patents, trade marks and fashions and obtaining appropriate relief might be a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be hard to have legal relief over these scenarios. China is pretty much the Wild West in terms of theft of property rights, whilst the Chinese government has gotten steps to further improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are often mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for third party trade mark or some other proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve good at covering their tracks, rendering it 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 also for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done very well and it is now facing the possibilities of having his profits skimmed from this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“For an inventor, flow frame kit will always be improving his product, and people need to understand that the first will definitely be a lot better than a copy.”