Among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns with an alleged copycat that states to be getting ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive developed a hive which allows honey to circulate out of the front into collection jars, representing the very first modernisation in the manner beekeepers collect honey. It took ten years to produce.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a thorough social media marketing campaign claiming to get 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 you will find substantial differences between your two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented around the world. His lawyers have already been unable to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show inside their marketing video appears comparable to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we think infringes on many elements of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we are going to seek to enforce our intellectual property rights decisively,” Anderson says.
“Our patent covers cells that split and honey that drains with the comb, which is exactly what they’re claiming to get bringing to promote first. It looks 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 a lot more than $13 million. The campaign lay out to improve $100,000, but astonished even the inventors whenever it raised $2.18 million within the first round the clock.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts over 40,000 customers, mostly within australia along with the US. The business now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to become substantially different, conceding the dimensions are like Flow Hive.
“Just like lightbulbs, the differentiator is incorporated in the internal workings which can be the basis for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It seems like someone has stolen something from the house and you’ve got to handle it while you really simply want to jump on with carrying out a job you’re extremely passionate about.
Tapcomb hives are being tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We intend to launch Tapcomb worldwide as a way to provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the interior workings of Tapcomb seem to be similar to a young Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts irrespective of their depth within the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where beekeeping equipment also offers basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that available in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb as being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says they have declared patents in the united states, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is hunting for a manufacturer. “What is important for people like us is maximum quality in an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the first apparent copycat Flow Hive has had to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed for sale on various websites.
“There were lots of bad Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to find out other folks get caught in the trap of buying copies, simply to be disappointed with sub-standard,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a whole new merchandise that is taking off around the globe has got to expect opportunistic people to attempt to take market share. Of course, there will always be individuals ready to undertake this type of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It feels like someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to handle it even though you really would like to hop on with doing a job you’re extremely excited about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights including patents, trade marks and designs and obtaining appropriate relief can be quite a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be difficult to get legal relief during these scenarios. China is really the Wild West when it comes to theft of property rights, even though the Chinese government has taken steps to enhance its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are usually mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for 3rd party trade mark or other proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve good at covering their tracks, so that it is challenging to identify the perpetrators or obtain satisfactory legal outcomes.”
Australian beekeeper Simon Mulvany ousted Tapcomb for allegedly copying Flow Hive’s design on his Save the Bees Facebook page this week.
Mulvany has previously waged a social websites 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 having done very well and it is now facing the possibilities of having his profits skimmed by this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“Being an inventor, flow frame set will almost always be improving his product, and other people need to understand that the very first will definitely be better than a duplicate.”