Collapsible Watering Can Proposal, Full of Holes
3 March 2015 by Ashton Carter
For even the most hardened of viewers of the popular BBC television programme ‘Dragons Den’, the fundamental flaws in the business plan proposed by ‘Colapz’ for their collapsible watering can, would have brought a grimace to their faces.
Whilst it was agreed amongst the dragons that the idea was a good one and marketable in today’s trades and industries, it soon transpired that the business partners had a previous equity partner who retained the Colapz Intellectual Property (IP) rights in the product in question, which he acquired as part of a buyout settlement deal with the continuing business partners.
Whilst the idea itself was a hit, the fact the business partners pitching the deal didn’t own the product or its fundamental idea, immediately led to each dragon declaring themselves ‘out’.
Unfortunately, the business partners were unable to prove they owned the product without the IP rights. They were therefore unable to prove they were responsible for its invention; or entitled to manufacture it. Despite their previous success in selling over 65,000 units through their own website, as well as through worldwide distributors.
Since filming the show back in 2014, the business partners have spoken with their estranged former equity partner and ensured that the intellectual property rights in the product have been acquired and registered in their own company name.
As a result, the pair have gone on to tally up a further 125,000 units-worth of orders since the show; with that number ever increasing. Furthermore, investment has been free-flowing into the business. Ensuring Colapz will be able to expand its reach for the collapsible watering can; and even develop further ideas and products.
However, had their former equity partner not wished to relinquish the product intellectual property rights that he retained, this would have inevitably seen Colapz descend in to the ‘failed-ideas’ doldrums along with so many other budding entrepreneurs.
The situation only highlights how important it is to ensure that you secure any new product, idea or invention formally. This is so you can be sure that you retain the exclusive rights to said product; and can prevent others from using the idea.
Intellectual property rights securing new ideas and products are becoming increasingly important in an ever-changing and highly-competitive market. Some may even view the registration of such intellectual property rights as too expensive. However, it is now proving to be highly important; and even an essential expense to incur at the outset of new product development.
If you would like any advice regarding intellectual property rights, as well as details for potential registration of trademarks, designs or any other form of intellectual property rights, please contact our Corporate Commercial Department here at Fisher Jones Greenwood LLP. On 01245 584515 or [email protected].
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