Certainly one of 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 that enables honey to circulate the front into collection jars, representing the 1st modernisation in terms of how beekeepers collect honey. It took a decade to produce.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a substantial social media advertising campaign claiming to become the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow beehive via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb also has adopted similar phrases for example being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you will find substantial differences involving the two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented around the globe. His lawyers are already unable to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show inside their marketing video appears much like cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we know infringes on many areas 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 precisely what they’re claiming to be bringing to market first. It looks such as 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 a lot more than $13 million. The campaign set out to increase $100,000, but astonished the inventors whenever it raised $2.18 million within the first 24 hours.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts more than 40,000 customers, mostly australia wide and the US. The organization now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design being substantially different, conceding the dimensions are similar to Flow Hive.
“Just like lightbulbs, the differentiator is within the internal workings which are the basis for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It feels as though someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to deal with it even though you really only want to hop 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 decide to launch Tapcomb worldwide in order to provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the internal workings of Tapcomb appear to be comparable to an early Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts no matter what their depth inside the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where beekeeping supplier also has basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that sold in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb for being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says they have declared patents in the usa, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is trying to find a manufacturer. “The main thing for all of us is maximum quality at an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the very first apparent copycat Flow Hive has had to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for purchase on various websites.
“There has been plenty of very poor Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to discover other people fall under the trap of purchasing copies, merely to be disappointed with low quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a brand new product that has brought off around the world needs to expect opportunistic people to attempt to take market share. Of course, there will always be people out there prepared to undertake this type of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It feels as though someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to deal with it while you really would like to get on with performing a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights including patents, trade marks and fashions and obtaining appropriate relief can be quite a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be difficult to acquire legal relief over these scenarios. China is really the Wild West when it comes to theft of property rights, although the Chinese government has taken steps to improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are frequently mobile, elusive and don’t have regard for third party trade mark or other proprietary rights. They may be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve proficient at covering their tracks, rendering it hard 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 media marketing campaign against Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, accusing it of selling “toxic” imported honey as well as for using misleading labelling.
“I sense of an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done so well and it is now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed through this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever heard of.
“As an inventor, flow frame kit will be improving his product, and folks need to understand that the first will almost always be superior to a copy.”