One among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns having an alleged copycat that promises to be getting ready for a global launch.
Flow Hive created a hive that permits honey to flow the front into collection jars, representing the initial modernisation in how beekeepers collect honey. It took decade to formulate.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking an extensive social networking campaign claiming being the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow frame 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 worldwide. His lawyers are already not able to uncover patents for Tapcomb.
“The frame they show with their marketing video appears just like cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we believe infringes on many aspects 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 through the comb, which is precisely what they’re claiming to be bringing to advertise 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 a lot more than $13 million. The campaign set out to raise $100,000, but astonished the inventors when it raised $2.18 million from the first round the clock.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in than 100 countries and boasts over 40,000 customers, mostly in Australia along with the US. The organization now employs 40 staff.
Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to be substantially different, conceding that the dimensions are similar to Flow Hive.
“Very much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is in the internal workings which are the cornerstone for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It feels as though someone has stolen something out of your house and you’ve got to manage it while you really would like to get on with carrying out a job you’re extremely passionate about.
Tapcomb hives are tested by beekeepers in Tasmania, Britain, Hong Kong and Greece, he says. “We want to launch Tapcomb worldwide so that you can provide consumers a choice of products.”
However, Anderson says the internal workings of Tapcomb appear to be comparable to a young Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts regardless of 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 available in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb for being Hong Kong-based.
Kuhn says he has declared patents in america, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is trying to find a manufacturer. “The biggest thing for all of us is maximum quality in 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 purchase on various websites.
“There has been lots of lousy Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to find out other people fall into the trap of purchasing copies, merely to be disappointed with sub-standard,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a whole new merchandise that has gotten off around the world must expect opportunistic people in an attempt to take market share. Obviously, there are always people out there willing to undertake these kinds of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It feels like someone has stolen something out of your house and you’ve got to handle it even though you really simply want to get on with performing a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights including patents, trade marks and fashoins and obtaining appropriate relief might be a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be hard to get legal relief over these scenarios. China is pretty much the Wild West when it comes 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 possess any regard for alternative party trade mark or some other proprietary rights. They can be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve great at covering their tracks, rendering it hard 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 media campaign against Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, accusing it of selling “toxic” imported honey and then for using misleading labelling.
“I sense of an Australian beekeeper and inventor who may have done so well which is now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed with this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever heard about.
“As an inventor, self harvesting bee hive will definitely be improving his product, and individuals need to remember that the very first will be better than a copy.”