One among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns with an alleged copycat that promises to be get yourself ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive designed a hive which allows honey to circulate out your front into collection jars, representing the first modernisation in terms of how beekeepers collect honey. It took 10 years to produce.
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 also 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 around the globe. His lawyers are already struggling to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show within their marketing video appears similar to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we think infringes on many areas of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we are going to aim to enforce our intellectual property rights decisively,” Anderson says.
“Our patent covers cells that split and honey that drains throughout the comb, which is precisely what they’re claiming to get bringing to market first. It seems 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 greater than $13 million. The campaign set out to increase $100,000, but astonished even inventors in the event it raised $2.18 million within the first one day.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in more than 100 countries and boasts greater than 40,000 customers, mostly within australia and the US. The organization now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design being substantially different, conceding that this dimensions are similar to Flow Hive.
“Just like lightbulbs, the differentiator is incorporated in the internal workings which can be the premise for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It is like someone has stolen something from the house and you’ve got to handle it even though you really just want to hop on with doing a job you’re extremely keen about.
Tapcomb hives are increasingly being tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We decide to launch Tapcomb worldwide to be able to provide consumers a selection of products.”
However, Anderson says the inner workings of Tapcomb seem to be similar to a young Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts no matter what their depth within the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where flow frame set also provides basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that sold in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb to be Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says he has declared patents in the united states, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he or she is trying to find a manufacturer. “What is important for all of us is maximum quality in an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the initial apparent copycat Flow Hive has had to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed for sale on various websites.
“There has been plenty of poor Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to discover others fall into the trap of getting copies, simply to be disappointed with bad quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a brand new merchandise that has taken off all over the world has got to expect opportunistic people in an attempt to take market share. Needless to say, you will always find people able to undertake this kind of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It is like someone has stolen something from the house and you’ve got to cope with it even when you really only want to get on with carrying out a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights for example patents, trade marks and designs and obtaining appropriate relief can be a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be difficult to obtain legal relief during these scenarios. China is really the Wild West in relation to theft of property rights, however the Chinese government has brought steps to improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are often mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for third party trade mark or other proprietary rights. They may be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve efficient at covering their tracks, so that it is tough 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 then for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor who has done so well and it is now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed with this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“Being an inventor, self harvesting bee hive will always be improving his product, and folks need to remember that the initial will definitely be superior to a copy.”