Certainly one of Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns with the alleged copycat that claims to be getting ready for a worldwide launch.
Flow Hive developed a hive that permits honey to circulate out your front into collection jars, representing the very first modernisation in the manner beekeepers collect honey. It took decade to build up.
Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking an extensive social media advertising campaign claiming to get the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow beehive via Facebook retargeting.
Tapcomb has adopted similar phrases like 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 elements of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we shall seek 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 get bringing to advertise first. It seems like a blatant patent infringement in my opinion,” he says.
Flow Hive made global headlines when its crowdfunding bid broke all fundraising records on platform Indiegogo, raising more than $13 million. The campaign lay out to increase $100,000, but astonished including the inventors when it raised $2.18 million from the first round the clock.
Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts over 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.
“Very much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is within the internal workings which can be the cornerstone for product quality and intellectual property,” US director of parent company Beebot Inc, Tom Kuhn says.
It feels like someone has stolen something through your house and you’ve got to deal with it while you really would like to get on with carrying out a job you’re extremely excited about.
Tapcomb hives are increasingly being 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 interior workings of Tapcomb seem to be comparable to an earlier 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 beekeeping equipment also has 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 filed for patents in america, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he or she is looking for a manufacturer. “The biggest thing for us is maximum quality with an agreeable price point.”
This isn’t the very first apparent copycat Flow Hive has experienced to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed on the market on various websites.
“There has been plenty of bad Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to view other people fall into the trap of buying copies, just to be disappointed with sub-standard,” Anderson says.
“Any inventor that develops a fresh item that has brought off around the globe has to expect opportunistic people to try to take market share. Naturally, there are always individuals ready to undertake these kinds of illegal activity for financial gain.
“It is like someone has stolen something out of your house and you’ve got to handle it even if you really would like to get on with carrying out a job you’re extremely keen about.”
Asserting ownership of IP rights like patents, trade marks and designs and obtaining appropriate relief can be quite a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.
“It can be hard to have legal relief in these scenarios. China is really the Wild West in terms of theft of property rights, although the Chinese government has taken steps to enhance its IP environment.
“Chinese counterfeiters tend to be mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for alternative party trade mark or another proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve efficient at covering their tracks, making it hard 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 also for using misleading labelling.
“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor that has done so well which is now facing the prospect of having his profits skimmed from this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever been aware of.
“As an inventor, self harvesting bee hive will always be improving his product, and other people need to understand that the very first will be superior to a duplicate.”