Among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns by having an alleged copycat that states to be getting yourself ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive developed a hive which allows honey to flow out of the front into collection jars, representing the first modernisation in terms of how beekeepers collect honey. It took ten years to develop.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a thorough social media advertising campaign claiming to become the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow frame via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb also has adopted similar phrases like being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you will find substantial differences in between the two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented worldwide. His lawyers are already unable to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show in their marketing video appears much like cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we feel infringes on many elements of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we are going to attempt 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 being bringing to market first. It appears just like 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 greater than $13 million. The campaign lay out to raise $100,000, but astonished including the inventors when it raised $2.18 million from the first one day.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts greater than 40,000 customers, mostly australia wide and also the US. The business now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to become substantially different, conceding that the dimensions act like Flow Hive.
“Just like lightbulbs, the differentiator is with the internal workings that are the foundation 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 even if you really would like to get on with carrying out a job you’re extremely excited 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 internal workings of Tapcomb look like similar to a young Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts regardless of their depth inside the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where self tapping beehive even offers basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that bought from late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb to be Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says he has filed for patents in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is trying to find a manufacturer. “The most important thing for us is maximum quality at an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the initial apparent copycat Flow Hive has already established to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for sale on various websites.
“There has been plenty of very poor Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to find out other people get caught in the trap of getting copies, just to be disappointed with sub-standard,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a fresh merchandise that has gotten off worldwide must expect opportunistic people in an attempt to take market share. Of course, there are always individuals able to undertake these kinds of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It is like someone has stolen something from your house and you’ve got to manage it even though you really would like to get on with doing a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights such as 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 hard to get legal relief within these scenarios. China is pretty much the Wild West with regards to theft of property rights, although the Chinese government has brought steps to further improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters tend to be mobile, elusive and don’t possess regard for alternative party trade mark or other proprietary rights. They may be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve great at covering their tracks, making it 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 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 then for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done very well and is also now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed through this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“Being an inventor, bee hive kits will definitely be improving his product, and folks need to understand that the initial will almost always be much better than a copy.”