One of Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns by having an alleged copycat that states to be preparing for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive developed a hive that enables honey to circulate out the 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 marketing campaign claiming to get the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow beehive via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb has also adopted similar phrases such as being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you can find substantial differences between your two hive producers.
Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented all over the world. His lawyers have been not able to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show within their marketing video appears similar to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we feel infringes on many facets of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we shall 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 to become bringing to market first. It appears 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 lay out to increase $100,000, but astonished including the inventors when it raised $2.18 million in the first twenty four hours.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in than 100 countries and boasts a lot more than 40,000 customers, mostly around australia and also the US. The business 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 within 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 your house and you’ve got to manage it even though you really simply want to get on with doing a job you’re extremely passionate about.
Tapcomb hives are now being tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We decide to launch Tapcomb worldwide so that you can provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the inner workings of Tapcomb seem to be comparable to an early Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts irrespective of their depth inside of the hive.
Tapcomb lists its office address as Portland, Oregon, where beekeeping equipment even offers a base. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that sold 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 or she is trying to find a manufacturer. “The main thing for us is maximum quality at an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the very first apparent copycat Flow Hive has experienced to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for sale on various websites.
“There have been plenty of lousy Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to find out other individuals get caught in the trap of buying copies, simply to be disappointed with bad quality,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a fresh product that has gotten off all over the world needs to expect opportunistic people to try to take market share. Of course, you will always find people ready to undertake these kinds of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It seems like someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to cope with it even though you really simply want to hop on with doing a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights such as patents, trade marks and styles and obtaining appropriate relief could be a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be difficult to acquire legal relief during these scenarios. China is really the Wild West with regards to theft of property rights, even though the Chinese government is taking steps to further improve its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters are usually mobile, elusive and don’t have any regard for alternative party trade mark or some other proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve great at covering their tracks, making it challenging 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 websites campaign against Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, accusing it of selling “toxic” imported honey and for using misleading labelling.
“I sense of an Australian beekeeper and inventor having done very well which is now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed by this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever read about.
“As an inventor, flow frame kit will be improving his product, and individuals need to remember that the first will always be a lot better than a copy.”