One of Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns with the alleged copycat that promises to be getting ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive designed a hive that enables honey to flow the front into collection jars, representing the initial modernisation in the manner beekeepers collect honey. It took a decade to produce.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a substantial social media advertising campaign claiming being the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow hive via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb has additionally adopted similar phrases like being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you can find substantial differences involving the two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented all over the world. His lawyers happen to be not able to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show in their marketing video appears comparable to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we believe infringes on many facets 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 throughout the comb, which is exactly what they’re claiming to get bringing to promote first. It seems similar to a blatant patent infringement for 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 set out to increase $100,000, but astonished even the inventors whenever it raised $2.18 million inside the first 24 hours.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts a lot more than 40,000 customers, mostly in Australia as well as the US. The corporation now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to become substantially different, conceding that the dimensions are similar to Flow Hive.
“Very much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is incorporated in 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 like someone has stolen something out of your house and you’ve got to handle it even when you really would like to hop on with performing a job you’re extremely enthusiastic about.
Tapcomb hives are increasingly being tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We intend to launch Tapcomb worldwide to be able to provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the internal workings of Tapcomb look like comparable to an early 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 flow frame set even offers a base. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that bought from late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb for being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says he has declared patents in the US, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is trying to find a manufacturer. “What is important for us is maximum quality at an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the first apparent copycat Flow Hive has experienced to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for purchase on various websites.
“There were a great deal of bad Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to see other people fall into the trap of purchasing copies, just to be disappointed with bad quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a brand new merchandise that is taking off worldwide has to expect opportunistic people in an attempt to take market share. Obviously, you will always find people out there prepared to undertake this type of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It seems like someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to handle it while you really would like to hop on with doing a job you’re extremely passionate about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights including 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 difficult to obtain 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 enhance its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are frequently mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for third party trade mark or another proprietary rights. They can be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve great at covering their tracks, so that it is difficult to identify the perpetrators or 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 as well as for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done so well and is also now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed from this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“As an inventor, flow frame kit will always be improving his product, and people need to remember that the initial will almost always be superior to a duplicate.”