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Among Australia’s most celebrated modern inventors will lock horns by having an alleged copycat that states be get yourself ready for a global launch.

Flow Hive designed a hive that permits honey to circulate out of the front into collection jars, representing the 1st modernisation in terms of how beekeepers collect honey. It took a decade to build up.

Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a comprehensive social media advertising campaign claiming to be the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow beehive via Facebook retargeting.

Tapcomb has adopted similar phrases such as being “gentle on bees” and offering beekeepers “honey on tap”. However, it told MySmallBusiness you will find substantial differences between the two hive producers.

Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented around the world. His lawyers have already been not able to uncover patents for Tapcomb.

“The frame they show inside their marketing video appears similar to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we believe infringes on many aspects of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we will seek 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 become bringing to advertise first. It looks just 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 set out to increase $100,000, but astonished the inventors whenever it raised $2.18 million in the first 24 hours.

Flow Hives have since been adopted by beekeepers in additional than 100 countries and boasts greater than 40,000 customers, mostly in Australia as well as the US. The business now employs 40 staff.

Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to be substantially different, conceding how the dimensions are exactly like Flow Hive.

“Just like lightbulbs, the differentiator is within the internal workings that happen to 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 deal with it even if you really just want to get on with doing 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 so that you can provide consumers a selection of products.”

However, Anderson says the inner workings of Tapcomb seem to be just like an earlier 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 supplier even offers basics. An address search reveals a residential townhouse that purchased in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb for being Hong Kong-based.

Kuhn says he has filed for patents in the usa, Australia, Hong Kong, China and India. He would not reveal pricing and said he is looking for a manufacturer. “The most important thing for all of us is maximum quality in an agreeable price point.”

This isn’t the very first apparent copycat Flow Hive has already established to tackle, with strikingly similar products listed available for sale on various websites.

“There were plenty of bad Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to view other individuals get caught in the trap of buying copies, only to be disappointed with low quality,” Anderson says.

“Any inventor that develops a new item that has taken off worldwide has to expect opportunistic people to attempt to take market share. Naturally, you will always find individuals ready to undertake this sort of illegal activity for financial gain.

“It is like someone has stolen something from the house and you’ve got to handle it while you really would like to get on with doing a job you’re extremely enthusiastic about.”

Asserting ownership of IP rights like 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 difficult to obtain legal relief during these scenarios. China is really the Wild West in relation to theft of property rights, although the Chinese government is taking steps to improve its IP environment.

“Chinese counterfeiters are usually mobile, elusive and don’t have regard for alternative party trade mark or another proprietary rights. They may be usually well funded and well advised, and hivve efficient at covering their tracks, which makes it difficult to identify the perpetrators or perhaps 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 and then for using misleading labelling.

“I feel for an Australian beekeeper and inventor having done so well and is now facing the possibilities of having his profits skimmed with this profiteering Chinese cowboy no-one has ever heard about.

“As an inventor, bee hive kits will almost always be improving his product, and people need to remember that the very first will almost always be a lot better than a duplicate.”