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

Flow Hive created a hive that permits honey to flow out the front into collection jars, representing the initial modernisation in the way beekeepers collect honey. It took 10 years to develop.

Alleged copycat Tapcomb is undertaking a substantial social media campaign claiming being the world’s first truly bee-friendly tappable hive, contacting flow hive 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 there are actually substantial differences in between the two hive producers.

Flow Hive co-inventor Cedar Anderson said Flow Hives are patented around the globe. His lawyers have already been unable to uncover patents for Tapcomb.

“The frame they show inside their marketing video appears comparable to cheap Chinese copies we’ve seen, which we think infringes on many aspects of the Flow Hive intellectual property. Where necessary, we will aim to enforce our intellectual property rights decisively,” Anderson says.

“Our patent covers cells that split and honey that drains through the comb, which is exactly what they’re claiming to be bringing to advertise first. It seems similar to 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 lay out to raise $100,000, but astonished even inventors in the event it raised $2.18 million within the first 24 hours.

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

Tapcomb, however, claims its hive design to get substantially different, conceding the dimensions are similar to Flow Hive.

“Much like lightbulbs, the differentiator is incorporated in the internal workings which are the premise 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 when you really would like to jump 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 in order to provide consumers a selection of products.”

However, Anderson says the interior workings of Tapcomb look like comparable to an earlier Flow Hive prototype, adding that his patent covers the moving parts regardless 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 sold in late January. Other online searches list Tapcomb to be Hong Kong-based.

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

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

“We have seen a great deal of bad Chinese fakes, and it’s sad to discover other folks belong to the trap of buying copies, just to be disappointed with bad quality,” Anderson says.

“Any inventor that develops a new item that is taking off worldwide has got to expect opportunistic people to attempt to take market share. Naturally, there will always be individuals able 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 deal with it even though you really simply want to get on with performing a job you’re extremely passionate about.”

Asserting ownership of IP rights like patents, trade marks and fashoins and obtaining appropriate relief can be quite a challenging exercise for inventors, Wrays patent attorney Andrew Butler says.

“It can be difficult to acquire legal relief during these scenarios. China is pretty much the Wild West in relation to theft of property rights, even though the Chinese government has brought steps to enhance its IP environment.

“Chinese counterfeiters are frequently mobile, elusive and don’t possess any regard for alternative party trade mark or other proprietary rights. These are usually well funded and well advised, and hivve efficient at covering their tracks, so that it is hard to identify the perpetrators or even 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 this week.

Mulvany has previously waged a social media campaign against Australia’s largest honey producer, Capilano, accusing it of selling “toxic” imported honey as well as for using misleading labelling.

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

“As being an inventor, flow frame set will always be improving his product, and people need to remember that the initial will definitely be a lot better than a copy.”