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How to protect your product ideas - with Mandy Haberman
Episode 9918th February 2022 • Bring Your Product Idea to Life • Vicki Weinberg
00:00:00 01:14:21

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Mandy Haberman is a successful inventor and entrepreneur, who has created a range of infant feeding products which she has invented and successfully brought to market.

She is a recognised authority on corporate theft and patent infringement, having successfully defended her own intellectual property in the USA, UK and Europe.

Mandy joins host Vicki Weinberg, to share her story, and her insights on how you can protect your product ideas.

EPISODE NOTES

**Please remember to rate and review the podcast - it really helps others to find it.**

Today I have a fantastic interview for you with Mandy Haberman. Mandy is the founder and creative director of Haberman Global Innovations Limited.

Mandy is an inventor and entrepreneur, who revolutionised the infant feeding products industry. She has a fantastic story to share with us today, where she goes right back to the launch of her first product.

Mandy talks about patents and about design rights, and shares her story of what happened to her when a big company, and she does name them, decided to copy her product. Mandy explains the steps she took to protect her rights, the eventual outcome and shares fantastic detailed practical advice about the steps you can take to prevent this from happening to you.

Listen in to hear Mandy share:

  • An introduction to herself and her business (01:34)
  • The story behind her first invention, the Haberman Feeder (02:41)
  • How she went about going into production and setting up her own business (11:39)
  • Her experiences of being a female entrepreneur in the 1980’s (14:12)
  • How she transitioned from creating her product herself to finding a manufacturer (18:49)
  • What a know-how licence is (23:55)
  • How to create an audit trail for your trade secrets (24:25)
  • The origins of her second product, the Anywayup Cup (25:35)
  • The difference between patents and design rights (28:13)
  • The range of different rights, from trademarks to intellectual property rights, and why it is important to register for them (30:10)
  • How a big company copied her product (31:23)
  • Deciding whether to take legal action (34:16)
  • Winning the legal case (36:49)
  • How long the process took (38:40)
  • How to stop other businesses from copying you (41:23)
  • How much you can expect this to cost (46:48)
  • Why it is worth investing in protecting your products and ideas (49:35)
  • The steps to take if you think someone is copying your product (54:35)
  • Why you should be wary of trying to handle it via social media (57:28)
  • Alternatives you can pursue rather than taking the case to the High Court (01:02:27)
  • The very first thing to do if you think if you think someone is copying your product (01:05:20)
  • How she got the Anywayup Cup stocked by Tesco's and other major supermarkets (01:06:16)
  • Her tips and advice for product design (01:09:30)
  • Her number one piece of advice for other product creators (01:09:39)

USEFUL RESOURCES:

www.mandyhaberman.com

www.habermanbaby.com

Mandy Haberman LinkedIn

Haberman Global Innovations LinkedIn

Haberman Baby Facebook

Haberman Baby Twitter

UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO)

(For advice and help with all types of intellectuelle property). 

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/intellectual-property-office

British Library Business and IP Centre (BIPC) 

https://www.bl.uk/business-and-ip-centre

The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys 

(For a list of registered patent agents)

https://www.cipa.org.uk/

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Transcripts

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Welcome to the, Bring Your Product Ideas to Life podcast, practical advice,

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and inspiration to help you create and sell your own physical products.

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Here's your host Vicki Weinberg.

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Hi, today I have a fantastic interview for you with Mandy Haberman.

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Mandy is the founder and creative director of Haberman Global Innovations Limited.

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So Mandy is basically an inventor as well as being an entrepreneur.

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She has a fantastic story to share with us today, um, where she goes right back

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to the launch of her first product.

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But one thing in particular that we talk about that I think will be super useful

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and helpful is protecting your products.

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So Mandy talks about patents about design rights, and she shares her

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story of what happened to her and her business and the approach she took when

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a big company, and she does name them, decided to essentially copy her product.

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Um, and she speaks all about how she handled it the outcome of that.

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She also has some fantastic advice of how you can prevent

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this from happening to you.

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Um, and if it does happen and you do feel like someone's breaching on your

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ideas, what you can then do about it.

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So there was so much practical advice in here.

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So if you have a really originalproduct idea.

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Um, this is an episode you definitely don't want to miss.

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So with all that said, I'm now going to introduce you to Mandy.

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Hi Mandy.

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Thank you so much for being here.

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Hi Vicky.

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It's a pleasure to join you.

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Thank you.

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So can we start by you giving an introduction to yourself, your

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business and what you do please?

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So I am Mandy Haberman and I'm an inventor and an entrepreneur.

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Um, I've been an inventor since the early 1980s, um, and became an entrepreneur

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really out of circumstances and necessity.

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Thank you.

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And so let's start talking about your inventions.

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Let's dive right in if that's okay.

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Can you talk about, um, sort of the necessity around your first

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invention and how it came about?

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Before we do that can we just go back and I'll tack a bit on the end of that.

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Um, and currently, um, I'm contracted to develop technology and products

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for a major company in Asia.

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Oh, wow.

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Thank you.

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That's um, that's a lot, I believe a lot.

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We can dive into this afternoon, which we're very excited about if it's okay with

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you, let's start right at the beginning, um, back in the nineties with your first

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invention and the story around that.

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And we'll take it from there if that's okay.

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Yeah, it was actually, um, 1980 when all of this started up.

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Um, my youngest daughter was born with a particular syndrome and she

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had terrible problems with feeding.

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She had to be fed with tubes and things.

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Um, I had a sort of design background in fact it was a graphic design

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background, but the kind of design thinking, um, doesn't matter what

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the specific skill is, but, um, I was able to turn my head towards products.

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Um, there was nothing in the market that she could feed successfully with

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and she certainly couldn't breastfeed.

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So I had to improvise effectively invent and create a product that she and other

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babies with feeding problems would be able to feed successfully from, and

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that was really the start of everything.

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So she was born in 1980.

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I improvised an idea that worked for her.

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And then in 1982, I started working on turning that into an actual product.

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And that became the Haberman feeder, which is used all around the world and

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very well known in medical circles.

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Oh, wow.

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So it was you used it yourself for two years, just for personal use.

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Um, I guess that was great because you had a chance to really test

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it and work out that it works.

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Um, and it was viable.

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So what, what happened then?

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So from between you creating this, used it for your own daughter, what were

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some of the steps you took to actually create, you know, get it into a product.

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It actually, I mean, the first two years I was just using my improvised seed

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idea, which was essentially a, uh, an old rubber dummy with the edge cutoff.

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And I was syringing the milk into her mouth.

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It was getting milk into while she was able to suckle on something.

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Um, and I spent about four years researching and going to meetings

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with, um, speech therapists that dealt with infants at risk who

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dealt with feeding problems.

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I did a lot of, um, uh, published paper research.

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I went to see consultants.

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Um, I learned all about the physiology of how infants feed.

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So it was five years to actually turn my seed idea into the Haberman

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feeder, which was an actual product.

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Um, and I started out initially.

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Um, I could go only so far using sort of Heath Robinson type

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models, you know, sticking things together, um, bits and pieces that

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already existed and adapting them.

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Um, and then I needed to actually start having bits and pieces molded so that

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I could test it out properly and use it with babies to make sure it worked, but

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obviously doing that required money.

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Um, and I really didn't have any money in those days.

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Um, so I wrote to about, let me think, um, about just under 120 companies and

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organizations, um, and I wrote, and I told them all about Emily, my daughter

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and the problems that she'd had and our experience and how I wanted to develop a

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feeder for babies with sucking problems, because there was nothing for them.

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Um, and I told them how much I needed and amazingly companies sent money.

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Um, I don't think it would happen that way now there's so much regulation.

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Um, but I did sort of gather the money via a charity that was willing to help me.

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Um, and I raised about 20,000 pounds, which these days wouldn't take you very

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far, but back in the eighties, um, that was enough to pay for some basic tooling.

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Um, I'd have these specialized teats that I needed made.

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Um, and we used other bits and pieces, which were off the shelf and I adapted,

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um, so it was still a bit Heath Robinson, but enabled me to create a product

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that was safe to use with babies.

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Um, and then I spent about a year and a half going around hospitals and going into

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see mothers with the approval, obviously of the medical staff, um, to get them

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to try it and to see how well it worked.

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Um, and I, I remember that so vividly because there was one particular mum.

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I went in to see her baby had exactly the same thing that Emily

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had suffered with, which was something called Stickler Syndrome.

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And I walked into the ward with a nursing sister, um, and this woman was sat

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there crying, trying to feed her baby.

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And it, it re as it still gets to me because it was exactly how I felt

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when I'd gone through it with Emily.

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Um, and we sat down, we sterilize the feeder obviously.

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Um, and we tipped her feed into the Haberman feeder and she fed straight off.

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She fed successfully, um, and the mum was so happy and so relieved and, and

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it was like that, you know, it was because there was nothing else out there.

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And when you gave those babies something that was actually designed to solve

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their problem, it really worked.

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Um, and as a result, You know, once I launched, I, I set up a

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company from my kitchen table and I was selling the feeder.

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I was a one man band, one woman band.

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If you like, I was doing everything myself from, uh, cutting the teats

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and assembling all the parts and putting everything in boxes and dealing

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with the marketing and selling it.

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Um, and I was selling it by mail order.

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There was no internet in those days, um, and to hospitals and to parents.

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And it was, um, I think that you would call it a distress purchase.

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So there was a ready market for it.

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And it went very well.

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Not, I mean, we're talking, you know, it's niche market.

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Um, so not sort of massive volumes, but it was fairly highly priced because

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you have to look at how many are you going to sell and what price to make

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you need to do that, to make it viable.

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Um, and it was success, a success and doctors started writing about it in

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medical journals and when they were going abroad, they started talking, um, you

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know, uh, medical conferences abroad.

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So the word spread quite rapidly.

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Um, and I started getting orders from all over the world.

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That's an amazing story.

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Thank you.

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And what, like it, must've been amazing to see that validation that see all those

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other babies and mothers that it worked for, that just must've been incredible.

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What a difference if you haven't had something and you've got this very

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specific problem, and I'm assuming that if you're in that situation,

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you're trying everything and to suddenly find that thing that works.

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What a relief.

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Absolutely.

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I mean, I created that product because I felt passionately that there should

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be something out there for babies like mine that have feeding problems

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because I knew I'd been through it.

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I knew as a mom, that experience is horrific because

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you know, you see your baby.

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I mean, Emily became quite skeletal.

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Um, I mean, and in the end she was fed with tubes up her nose

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for four months until I found, I improvise the way of feeding her.

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Um, as a mom, your, your purpose, your biological purpose, if you like

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is to produce your young, to feed your young and to give them love.

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And if you can't feed your baby, you feel like such a failure.

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And the anxiety of it is huge.

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It's, it's like the worst thing in the world you can't provide for your baby.

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It's a really deep fundamental emotion.

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Um, and I think, you know, particularly if Emily was fed with tubes and in

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that, it's probably all different now, but in those days, mum, wasn't

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allowed to feed baby with a tube.

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It was done by the nursing staff and you had to stand there, um, feeling awful.

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Um, so yeah, it's, it really was, um, a distress product and because of that

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and because it answered the problem, um, it was successful and the difficulty

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was, I produced this thing when I first produced it, I thought, oh, well, I'll

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go to a baby bottle company and license it because in those days, All the books,

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nobody talks about being an entrepreneur.

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All the books told you, you know, if you're an inventor, you patent

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your idea and then you license it and you get a royalty income.

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And I went to see lots of different companies offering to license it, but

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because it was niche market and all of those companies were only interested in

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big volume sales, nobody wants to do it.

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Um, and it was only because it was a company called Moores.

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I think it does still exists somewhere.

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Or they may have combined as somebody else.

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I don't know.

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But the marketing director that I saw was such a lovely man.

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And he said to me, look, it's not for us because you know, we only want

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big volumes, but he said, you know, I can see this product works and I can

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see that you're passionate about it.

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And that there is a need for it.

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There's a market for it.

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Why don't you set up a company and do it yourself?

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And I honestly can tell you.

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I had no thought about becoming an entrepreneur until that point.

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Um, and I had had absolutely no training, no background, no anything.

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Um, but because I was so passionate about getting it out there and determined that

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I would make it, you know, get it there.

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Um, if that was the only option, then that was what I was going to do.

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Um, and I, I went to the, my local enterprise agency, um, and I had a

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very good chat with a guy there and he gave me the sort of fundamental,

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um, key things that you need to do for business plan to work out how

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much your product needs to cost.

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And I think I went to the seminar too.

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Um, and I think I went back to him a couple of times just to sort of

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sound him out, whether I was talking rubbish or whether this was okay.

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And he was very helpful.

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Um, And I went along to the bank.

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Um, and I couldn't, I didn't want to take any loans because I didn't

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have anything to offer security other than the house, which my

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husband had paid the mortgage for.

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So I wasn't going to take a loan on the house.

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Um, but I got a little overdraft, um, and took it from there.

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Wow.

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So as well as the product being born from necessity, it sounds like the company

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came from necessity as well because no one else was going to take it and run it.

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I guess the only option was for you to do that yourself.

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That is incredibly brave by the way, I have to say too, especially, um,

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back in a time when, as you said, entrepreneurs didn't, well, th there

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were obviously there were entrepreneurs around them, but possibly not as visible

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or seen as an option as it is today.

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Um, I think that's right and certainly not a woman.

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Um, it was.

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It was very unusual if I remember being at a party and somebody say, oh, hello

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and you go through the usual chats.

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Um, and they said, Mandy, what do you do?

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And I said, well, I'm an inventor and an entrepreneur.

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And they sort of smiley politely and started backing away.

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It was a bit like that then.

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And if you don't mind me asking, did you do, do you think you came across and

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it, or did you come across any barriers being a woman or do you think, did you

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have any experiences where you feel wow.

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If I was a man, I'm sure I wouldn't have had this quite the same issue.

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I wouldn't say that there were, I think a lot of the barriers

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can be inside your head.

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Um, that's not to say there are not people that experienced barriers.

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They absolutely do.

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But for me, I didn't sort of think I didn't approach it

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differently because I'm a woman.

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I mean, it just kind of didn't come into it.

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But there were times where people reacted to me in ways that they would never in

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a million years have responded to a man.

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Um, I mean, this is not the Haberman Feeder.

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This is later.

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I remember with the Anywayup Cup when I had the prototype for that going into see

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the, the, um, CEO of a big major company.

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Okay.

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Um, and I was taking him my prototype, which worked very well.

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And I went into the room and he had me standing in front of his desk for

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about what it felt like five minutes whilst he was finishing off some work.

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Now he should never have invited me.

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And there was a sort of a, a power play going on there,

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standing there like a lemon.

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And in the end, I thought oh blow this.

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So I got my cup, which was full of juice, and I just chucked it in front

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of his nose on, on top of his papers in front of him because I'm not doing that.

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So that caught his attention.

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And then we had a very interesting conversation.

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Um, and I told him about the cup and the funniest thing was, he then became almost

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like a little boy to my prototype and he was chucking it around his office.

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It doesn't smell, it doesn't smell, you know, he got quite nice about it.

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So that was good.

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You know, I, I sort of like got his attention and I showed

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him that the product was really good, innovative, and it worked.

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Um, and then when you finished talking the sort of the business side of things,

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he was sort of asking me about myself.

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Then he started telling me about his love life and how he was

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having an affair with his au pair.

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Never in a million years, never in a million years.

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Could he even said that if I was a man, I felt extremely uncomfortable.

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So that was one instance.

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And then another one I w I was, um, with the Haberman Feeder, um, when the

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business was getting going, um, I decided to use a local business that was run

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for disabled people, um, who could put things together as an assembly line.

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And I thought that seemed appropriate.

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It was a nice thing to do.

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Um, and there again, I went in to see the guy that ran it.

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Um, very nice chatting.

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Um, and then he went to kiss me on the way out.

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It's like my space, you know, these days.

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I mean, I mean, God knows what he was doing with the

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women on that assembly line.

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Just, I don't want to think about it, but you know, things like

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that went on in the eighties.

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Yeah.

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And I'm sure it's possibly things like that they'll go

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on now, which is sad to say.

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Um, but, um, yeah, I'm definitely glad to hear that your experiences are few and

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far between, and also that they certainly didn't hold you back or in any way.

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So that's positive at at least coming back to um, you just mentioned the

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assembly lines, just going back to Haberman Feeder for a moment.

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That's what I was interested in is how you transitioned from, um, sort of

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assembling this product and put it in boxes at your kitchen table to having it

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go actually into production elsewhere.

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And you stepping back from that hands-on putting it all together yourself phase.

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Yes.

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Um, I mean, it, it was pretty ridiculous.

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I was doing everything myself and the house was full of boxes.

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I had three small children under five, um, and I was working around the kids

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so that, you know, they were going to nursery and preschool and, you know,

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I was fitting in, work around them.

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Um, and it was beginning to get a bit ridiculous.

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And then when I started to get the orders coming in from overseas, I thought I've

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got, I can't, I've got to do something.

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Now today I think if I was in that situation, I probably would

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have taken on a small premises and taken on staff and grown it.

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I, and this is, I think is the, you know, the being the woman,

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where does it hold you back?

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I didn't have the confidence in myself to take on the responsibility of

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paying salary and having overheads.

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Um, so I decided at that point that I would have another go at trying

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to license the product because I had a UK patent and I had trademarks.

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Um, at the time when I did my patents, I had, you know, I, I,

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wasn't seeing the bigger picture.

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I was seeing myself as a cottage industry, if you like.

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Um, and also I didn't have very much money.

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So I had a UK patent and I didn't think I would need any more.

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Cause you know, I was going to sell this product.

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I know, I didn't think ahead that that'd be exports you know.

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Um, so I decided that what I would do was to license out the overseas side

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of it because I could manage the UK supplying, um, But I only had a UK patent.

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However, I eventually found a very good company, um, that sold things like,

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um, you know, with baby incubators and things that went into hospitals.

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Um, and I managed to negotiate a five-year license based on know how and

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know how is like your trade secrets, the things that, all the things I'd learned

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about the production of this product or the experience that I'd gathered.

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Um, and I did the license based on know how and use of the trademark.

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Um, and that was fine.

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And they took over production because I, when I, when I was negotiating

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that license, I had a major quality control issue with the manufacturer.

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And that is such a headache.

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I mean, I got it sorted out, but you know, you don't want those sorts of headaches.

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So when they said, well, look, we can manufacture, you know,

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we've got our own factories.

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It was in Switzerland, very high standard.

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Um, I was very happy to let them manufacturer.

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So then I took product off of them to supply the UK market and they

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sold to the rest of the world.

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Um, the only hitch came at the end of the five years.

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They didn't need me anymore because they already knew how to do it.

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And they'd made a few changes themselves, et cetera.

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Um, and I could see it coming that they wouldn't renew the license and I would

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not be on strong grounds to renegotiate.

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However, the bulk of their sales were to America through their sister

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company there are the product was well-established as the Haberman feeder.

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So I got in touch with the American sister company, um, and I negotiated a

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license with them based on trademark.

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And that was fine.

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I carried on getting a royalty, um, and it worked very well.

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Um, I ceased that, uh, I terminated the license some quite a few years

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later because they were doing something a bit naughty with my trademark.

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So, um, it, they now call it something different, but it's the same product.

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Oh, okay.

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So in the, in the U S at the moment, it's the same products being

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sold, just under a different name,

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It's being sold globally, but it's, it's called the, um,

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Medela special needs feeder now.

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Um, but the strange thing is that if you go online and look in medical

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circles, everyone still calls it the Haberman feeder, which I love.

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And so you have no involvement with the product anymore.

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Is that right?

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No, not, no, not now.

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Okay.

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And that, that license that you mentioned, the knowhow license

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I've never heard of that before?

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Is that something that still exists today?

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Yes.

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You can do a license or based on trade secrets.

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And if that can be a very good way of protecting your product, because

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patents can be expensive, not everything is appropriate for trade secrets,

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but I'm you think about Coca-Cola their recipe is a trade secret

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and it's a very well kept secret.

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Um, if you have trade secrets, it's no good just to say, oh, I've got,

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you know, I've got this secret.

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You actually have to sort of, um, Create a sort of audit trail.

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So everything's on paper.

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So you can prove a lot, one way of doing it is to write, write it down when you

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have that idea or whatever it is, and post it recorded delivery to yourself.

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So that it's in an envelope it's sealed, it's got the date

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stamp, it's got everything else.

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So you can, that's a way of establishing that that is your secret.

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You've had that idea then in that time, um, and keeping an audit

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trail of everything so that if at a later stage, if you produce

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something commercially successful, you know, it's going to get copied.

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Um, and if it becomes a dispute in court, having all that evidence

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shows that you kept it secret and it is your secret and it was your

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idea and that's when you had it.

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So that's, that's quite a good way of, uh, this is a belt and braces way.

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If you've got other protections,

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That's really helpful.

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Thank you.

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And I do want to talk about infringements and things like that in a moment.

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And, um, but I know that relates to the Anywayup Cup.

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So I guess that's probably a good time to start talking about that product

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and how that came about if that's okay.

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Okay.

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Um, so, oh, I've got one in my hands.

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This is the Anywayup Cup, which is basically it's a cup with a valve

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to control the flow of liquid.

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So the child can drink.

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I don't know if you can hear this child can drink, but then take it out.

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Their mouth can turn upside down, shake it around right around the room.

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And it won't spill.

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Now everybody's got valve cups now, but I invented that in,

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um, 1996, no, sorry, 1991.

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When I had the idea.

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Um, and in those days, trainer cups were a cup, with a lid on a spout with

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a row of holes on, um, and of course when you turn it upside down, it's

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a watering can and children love it.

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So I used to sprinkle juice everywhere and you'd end up mopping up, spending

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your time, mopping up and trying to get the stains off the sofa.

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So, um, it was a revolutionary thing.

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Um, when I brought it out, I launched it in 1996.

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Um, and this time I'd learnt a lot from my previous experience with the feeder.

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And I knew that I needed patents in all of my major markets.

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Um, so I protected it with patents.

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If I'd have been really clever, I would've registered design rights on it as well.

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Um, at the time I, I didn't really understand the full purpose of

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design rights, but design rights protects what something looks like.

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Um, and some of my designs became quite iconic.

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Um, and of course, patents only protect you for 20 years and you've

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already used up maybe five years by the time you reached the market.

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So their life is limited and they're very expensive.

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Um, whereas design rights, you'd have to look it up, but they go on,

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I think it's something like 70 years and it's maybe even longer than that.

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Um, and I could have carried on getting royalties, even when my patents ran out,

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had I have registered my design rights.

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So yeah, I made lots of mistakes, but I learned as I go along.

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And we all do, we definitely all do Do design rights um, are they

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just around how the product looks or how it functions as well?

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If that makes sense.

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Certainly does.

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Uh, a patent protects technology, which is how something works, how it functions.

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It could be embodied in any form or designs.

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It could look completely different in all sorts of ways, but if it works

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in that way, if the technology is the same is covered by that person,

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A design right just protects what something looks like.

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And the reason I didn't take out my register, my design rights was that

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people can get round design rights.

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They only need to change.

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I think it's seven things.

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Uh, you know, the angle of this, the color of that, the slight shape

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of it, they can get around them.

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So I felt they weren't strong enough as a design right by itself.

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But the reality is, is that I have, I've had licensees who have produced things

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to my designs that they've been under my patent, but they've been my design.

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It's my cup.

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In fact, they were my tools they were using.

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And when my patents ran out, they carried on making those cups exactly the same.

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And I could have carried on getting royalties if I'd have had design

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rights, so design, you know, go on for your lifetime practically.

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Whereas the patent is only 20 years.

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That's so helpful.

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Thank you.

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So I guess in the case of your cup, the design rights protected, what the

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cup looks like, but you know, on the outside and the patent protects the

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technology inside that prevented leaks, this is a good way of thinking of it.

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Perfect.

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Thank you.

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Just so we're super clear on that.

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Um, okay.

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Thank you for explaining all of that.

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I think that's really, really helpful.

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Um, I I'll be honest.

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I hadn't heard of design rights.

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I've familiar with patents, but design rights, wasn't something

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that I was familiar with.

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So that's good to know.

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There's a lot of different rights, intellectual property rights.

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Um, most people have heard of copyright obviously, but there's image rights.

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There's, there's a whole there's trademarks.

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Trademarks are hugely important because you build up your brand.

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And even though patents expire.

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If you were established in the market under your brand, that

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brand has a huge amount of value.

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So, you know, registering these things is vitally important because

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it's what protects you in the market.

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Not only is it what protects you in the market, but they

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are things that you can sell.

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So you can license them, you can sell them.

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Um, you know, it's part of trade.

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I know, I know so many people that have a wonderful idea, a wonderful

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product, or even a wonderful service.

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And they build up their business, but they haven't registered anything.

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And somebody comes along, uses the same name because it's not registered, so they

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can still use it if they want to use it.

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And they set up a more or less copy of the business and they make loads of money

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and the other person goes out out of business or loses a lot of money because

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there's nothing that they can do about it.

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My case, because I had patents, you know, when I launched the Anywayup Cup

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um, it was a massive, I wouldn't say overnight success over a few nights.

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Maybe it was a massive success very quickly.

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Um, because it took a large amount of market share away from

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the market leaders in baby cups.

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It wasn't long before one of them decided to copy it.

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Um, it looked different, but it was my technology and, you know, blow me down.

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It was one of the companies that I'd gone to with my early

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prototype, because I thought again, I thought, yeah, I'll license it.

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I don't really want to set up a company and have salespeople and everything else.

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I just, I just wanted to make some money from it.

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It was one of the companies I'd gone to and offered them a license.

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When I was showing them my prototype and they'd signed a confidentiality agreement,

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they knew I had a patent in fact I had two patents on it, but they still copied.

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And I think I can only give my alleged my opinion of what I

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thought went on in their heads.

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I think my cup was suddenly very successful and they go, well, this is

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a rather good product and Hey, it's taken like, you know, 40% of our sales.

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We can't have that.

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Um, we'll copy what she going to do about it, because the reality is

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that if you go to court to enforce your rights, it's hugely expensive.

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And they thought that they could bully me and what would I do about in the end?

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You know, little Mrs.

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Haberman, she'll, she, she won't do anything, you know, she would turn the

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other cheek and she'll, she'll go away.

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Um, and at worst, what would happen, maybe we'd have to take a license and give

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her a role too, but they thought they'd try to on that's what I said anyway.

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Um, so they came out, it was a think, you probably all know

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the brand is Tommee Tippee.

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They came out in the market with a cup that had, it was so much like my

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early prototype, um, unbelievable.

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But they were Tommee Tippee.

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We were the new kids on the block, Tommee Tippeewas a brand,

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everybody had grown up with.

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It was a trusted brand.

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And if you go to baby, do you buy products from a company you've never heard of?

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Or do you buy it from the trusted brand?

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Of course you buy it from the trusted brand.

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And it had a devastating effect on our sales, um, against slight exaggeration,

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but almost overnight, we lost about two thirds of our sales because we

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couldn't compete with them alongside us.

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And it was a really difficult decision, um, to do anything about

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it, to actually take legal action.

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Um, I'd been to see my solicitor, um, uh, my patent agent and my patents agent

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had looks at the Tommee Tippee product and said, you're clearly in infringement.

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Um, go see the solicitor.

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I went to city solicitor, um, and my legal people said to me, you must settle.

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Nobody goes to court, you'd be mad to go to court.

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You've got to settle.

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We had a meeting with the company.

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Tommee Tippee companies, company called Jackal International.

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We had a meeting with them, but we couldn't arrive at

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a sensible viable solution.

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Um, because they really thought I'm just going to go away.

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I'm not going to push it.

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Um, and I, I went grey almost well.

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I went gray over all of this, um, just trying to decide what to do.

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Should I take legal action?

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Shouldn't I take legal action.

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I, if I w what happens in the UK is that the loser has to pay both sides costs.

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And because this would, because we needed a speedy resolution, it would

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mean that we had to go to the high court, not like the local county court level.

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Um, and it meant risking everything.

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If I lost, I would lose the house.

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Um, my kids would have to come out to the schools that they were at.

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We would have been bankrupted because you're talking about millions of pounds.

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Um, but eventually I, I just had this sort of light bulb moment, and I realized that

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if I didn't stop them and set a precedent.

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Then every single company in the baby industry would copy and

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I wouldn't have anything left.

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I wouldn't be making any money.

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And I put so much into this in terms of sweat as well as money.

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Um, and I wasn't prepared to see somebody steal it and just lose

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it and make it all for nothing.

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So I took the decision to go to court.

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Um, once I taken that decision, my legal team was like yes, let's do it, you know?

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And I think it was because they, they didn't want to give me any encouragement

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to go to court in case I lost because the risk was so enormous, but we went

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to court and thank heavens I'd won.

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Um, and I mean, it, it, they tried to go to appeal in the end.

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They settled before appeal, but I, I won and I got all my

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costs back and I got damages.

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Um, so it, it, it was very good.

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So it was a nightmare scenario, but it turns out okay.

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And it does show that the patent system works, even if you are a very

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small player, but because I enforced my rights, it meant that sales of

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my product escalated very rapidly.

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And so instead of infringing companies started to come to me, asking for

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licenses, and I did grant several licenses to very major players.

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Um, so not only was I selling my own product and making revenue from

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that, but I was also getting a very, very good revenue from royalties.

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What would it be?

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My competitors?

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So intellectual property is, is a brilliant thing because it not only

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protects what you're doing and protects your position in the market, but it

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enables you to explore your idea in ways beyond your own sort of personal business.

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Thank you so much for that.

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What a story, um, what a position to be, and I'm so pleased that

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it works out for you as it did.

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Um, because as you said, that just sounds like an enormous listen to your story.

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My heart was in my chest, even though I knew the ending, it just

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seemed like, you know, it's wow.

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It's um, quite a thing to have gone through.

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And how long did this whole process take from sort of you being aware

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that Tommee Tippee had infringed on your rights to get an, a resolution?

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How long was that process?

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From memory?

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I think it was getting to trial was fairly quick.

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Um, I think we did it in about four months.

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Um, and the trial itself actually in court was just a few days.

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Um, and then the other side put in an appeal, which would have

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been heard about 18 months later.

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So, you know, you, you, you break open the champagne because you win, but then they

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appeal and you have that hanging over you.

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Um, but actually when it came to close to the appeal date they settled.

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Um, and that's when we got everything paid out.

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So.

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Well I'm glad it all works out.

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Cause that is a long, I mean, four months.

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I know it was probably relatively quick.

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That's a long time to be living under this kind of stress and uncertainty.

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And especially if it was affecting your sales, because I'm assuming

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that while this is all waiting to go through the courts, Tommee Tippee

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still selling their cups, um, still having a knock-on effect on your sales.

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Is that the case or, or are they asked to cease, when you, um, when you

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initiate the legal action, are they allowed to carry on selling until the

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court date or do they have to stop?

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Uh they've uh, I'm trying to remember exactly what happened.

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I, from memory, um, I think we w we wanted to have them stop straight

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away and to do that, you have to have something called an interlocutory

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injunction, which is granted by the court.

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Um, but the downside of doing that is that.

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You stopped them straight away, and it can be a while till you get to

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court and you get everything resolved.

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But if you lose, you then have to pay them for all of the sales that they've lost.

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So when we went to court to get this interlocutory injunction, the judge said

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to me, I'm not going to give you that.

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He said, well, what I will do is give you a speedy trial.

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And that's how we managed to get into court within about four months.

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So, so that was very good, I think, at the judgment for that first

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court hearing, um, I think that's when they had to stop producing.

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Um, but they put in an appeal, but I think that they'd already been stopped.

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That's my memory.

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I could be wrong, but I think that they had to stop straight away.

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Okay.

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That's good.

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So I'd love to have, um, your thoughts on how people can prevent this sort

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of thing from happening and what to do if it does happen, because I

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mean, even just last week I was on Instagram and I saw the story of a

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small business, um, whose products have been copied by a much larger retailer.

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Um, yeah, literally just last week.

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So obviously this sort of thing is still happening.

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I do see, you know, these stories do pop up from time to time.

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Um, so how would you, first of all, suggest someone best protects their,

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their products and their ideas initially.

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And then second part of the question.

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If you are in a position where you believe actually someone's copying

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my ideas, what do you do then?

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Um, I think the very first piece of advice would be before you.

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If all you do any, anything, you know, when you've had your idea and

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you, you think you've got something, you've got an idea of what it's

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going to be and how it works.

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Do your homework go.

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You can do everything online now.

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I mean, in my day, I had to go along to the patent library and

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climb up these wooden steps and get great big dusty volumes down.

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But now everything's online go to the UK patent office website and you get

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all the links from there about how to search and you can search trademarks.

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You can search design rights, um, logos, you can search patterns as

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there's different sections and you can search just about anything.

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Um, do a really good search.

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And then if the it, because you can save yourself a lot of heartache, if you've

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had this wonderful idea and you want to put all this money into it, um, and you

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want to set up a company and do that.

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And somebody has already done it.

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And in fact, you're infringing them.

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You don't want to be in that position.

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You know, you want to know early on whether your idea is original

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and different and protectable.

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So that's the first thing.

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Then I would go along and see either phone up the helpline at the patent

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office, or get in touch with the, um, Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys

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who are based in hope and in London.

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And they will send you a list of registered patent attorneys go and

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see an appropriate patent attorney because not only do they know about

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patents, but they also know about trademarks and design rights and

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copyrights important, the other rights.

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So if you're not in the right room, they'll, they'll very soon

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guide you to the right person.

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Um, Then you talk to them about your idea and describe to them, show it

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to them, whatever it's confidential, it's like going to a doctor.

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They're not going to sit, uh, they're not going to steal your ideas, um, and discuss

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that with them the best way to protect it.

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And then the other thing you must do as absolutely essential

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is you must keep it secret.

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Um, don't start, you know, you have your idea.

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Don't start showing it to loads of other people, because if you've disclosed

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it publicly without a nondisclosure agreement or a secrecy agreement,

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confidentiality agreement, the same thing.

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If you disclose it without having a nondisclosure agreement in

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place, then you can't patent it.

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Um, and I think.

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Design rights.

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I don't know for sure.

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I think there might be a little bit of time, but if you've already shown it to

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people, it's much harder to protect it.

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So keep it secret.

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And if you want to show it to people, get them to sign a nondisclosure agreement

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or a confidentiality agreement, and you can get all these things online

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as like templates you can find.

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Um, so keep your idea secret, go and get advice from a patent attorney and then

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decide what the best way of protecting your idea is and apply for those rights.

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Um, some people might be tempted to do their own patents

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to write it out themselves.

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That's a very bad idea because patent right drafting a patent is

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a really difficult skill because.

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Th this is sort of, um, there are different words that are used, which can

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create a broader patent or a narrower patent, and that there's ways of doing it.

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And we as lay people, we don't know how to do that, that needs special

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training, but if you're applying for, um, a design, right, that can be done

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online through the patent office, and you can do that yourself, trademarks,

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you can register yourself, obviously domain names, and we do that differently,

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but, um, get your generic domain names.

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So there's quite a lot that now that you can do yourself, but

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don't try drafting your own patent, get professionals to do that.

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Thank you.

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I just wanted to pause them and just ask, um, about cost really.

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Um, and just to get an idea of wherever applying for a patent is something people

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should be expecting to pay a lots of money for, or, um, cause I'm not really sure.

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I mean, I know it might be a ballpark thing.

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It's a,

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yeah.

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It's how long is a piece of string?

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Um, the cost of a patent depends on actually getting to grants is a process.

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You start by applying and then there's, um, various procedures.

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And then there's an examination where they look at your patent and they decide

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if there's other things that mean that you can't have a patent because it's

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already been invented or that technology's already out there in some way.

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Um, or this, that the examination will come back, citing certain documents.

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Um, and you can adjust the words in your patents to, or take out parts of patent

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of the things that you claim to still have a patent, but so that you're, you're

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not falling foul of these other things.

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And then you get to grow and you, so you, you then pay, you say, right,

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my patent is costing me XML, but then you probably going to want to

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have patents in other countries.

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So, you know, don't be like I did with the Haberman Feeder and just have a UK

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patent these days, it's not enough because you know, everything is sold online and

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you're immediately out in the world.

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Um, I would say, you know, patenting worldwide is hugely expensive and

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you really don't want to do that.

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Work out where your important markets are and patenting those countries.

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And there are ways of deferring costs.

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Um, and there's also ways of protecting or deferring costs, by um,

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they do patents in sorts of blocks.

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So the whole of Europe all the EU countries are in a block and

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you can get a patent for that.

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Um, at a later, later stage, you then divided up into Germany and

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France and wherever, but you can start by going through the block.

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Um, and there are other blocks.

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There's a sort of, um, you know, the Stans are all in a block.

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Yeah.

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So I find that since your question, I'm not sure.

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I think that the cost of a patent, if you you're talking about

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thousands, you're not talking about hundreds, but so start the process.

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You're probably looking, um, under 5,000 pounds.

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I mean, it's, you know, somewhere probably around two to 4,000,

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if you're using a patent agent.

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Thank you.

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And I know that, I just think it's good for people to have

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an idea of what it might cost.

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Um, but also I think your story is a really good illustration of the fact

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that it can cost you a lot more should, you know, should you not have it?

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And then something go wrong down the line.

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I think that's right.

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If I hadn't have had patents, then honestly I would have made, I've made

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a little bit of money in the first couple of years and then it would have

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stopped and I wouldn't have made a penny.

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So yeah, I mean, to me, patenting is, is the backbone of my business.

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Really?

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Yes.

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And if you also, if your idea is original, I think it does sound like you

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absolutely need to invest in that upfront.

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Um, so you protect your business for the long-term.

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Yeah.

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I mean, I think you have to.

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You don't want to part with a lot of money until you know that you've got

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something that's going to make you money, essentially we're in business.

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The idea is to make money.

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Um, I think it's very important to before you start very, very early

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days to do your homework and make sure that this idea that you have, that

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people are actually going to put their hand in their pocket to pay for it.

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And there are ways of doing that without disclosing your idea.

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You can talk, you can do, um, do a questionnaire if you'd like and sorts

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of people about the problem with doing something, you know, how much,

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you know, how big a problem is this.

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How would you get round this problem?

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If there was a product that solves that problem, what would

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you be prepared to pay for it?

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You know, there are ways without actually saying I've got this idea is this.

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Um, and again, you have to be wary because people want to be kind.

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Everyone wants to please, you, you know, there's a big difference

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asking somebody, would you buy this product and then actually putting

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their hand in their pocket to part with their hard-earned cash.

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So wording your questions, um, is quite a skill, I think because it's only is

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any really worthwhile doing something.

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If there's a cheap, if there's an easier way or an alternative way of solving

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that problmen andit's going to cost them less than it would to buy your product.

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Guess what?

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They're not going to buy your products.

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They're going to solve it in an easier, cheaper way.

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Um, so costing your product is all important.

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And even if you're going to be sending it direct through the

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internet, there are costs along the way on top of your product cost.

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So you need to find out how much your production cost is going to be.

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And it's worth having that value engineered to make sure that you are

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producing it at the lowest possible cost.

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You can always have a bigger margin, um, but being able to produce it in

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the easiest and simplest way, lowest, lowest cost ways, very important

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because apart from anything else, if somebody copies your idea and they

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can produce it cheaper than you.

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Then you're going to be out of business quite soon.

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So, um, you know, quality is important too, but you've got to produce a

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quality product, a reliable product and have it engineered so that it's

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the cheapest way you can produce it.

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Thank you.

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And I think you make a really good point about sort of working out whether people

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would actually pay for it as well.

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And then something I often say to people is make sure you are also making

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sure you're asking the right people, because for example, we've, I mean, the

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Haberman Feeder is probably not a good example, but if it had you been asking

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your friends and family, let's say who weren't in that unique situation of

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having a problem, you had a solution for, they might have said yes, yes.

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This is a good idea because they knew you had liked you, but actually the

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real test is asking the people who actually have a need for that product.

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Yes, exactly?

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I mean, you know, when I, when I was doing the Anywayup Cup, when I started

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with that idea, um, I was asking mums if there was a cup that didn't spill

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and it was like, when can I have it?

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Um, and then I, when I had applied to the patents, I produce my prototypes

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and I put them out with, you know, 10 mums to try out with their kids.

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Um, And, you know, it was again, would you buy this product if it was for sale?

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Well, when can I buy it?

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When can I, you know, I mean, it's that, that's the kind of

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response that you're looking for.

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Yes.

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So coming back to idea infringement, and so say you are a small business,

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um, and you have a unique product and then you suddenly realize the, um,

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Mark's and Spencer's just as example, Marks and Spencer are selling, something

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that looks, suspiciously like your main design, what do you then do?

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Okay.

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So you buy that product and you keep the receipt.

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Um, then you go along to your patent attorney and you showed them, show it

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to them and get an opinion from them.

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They will examine it and look at.

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So if you have a patent, you have what's called claims, which are all

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the different things that need to.

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That will be in your product.

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And if somebody is infringing, even one of them, it's an infringement.

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Okay.

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Um, so they will examine it and they'll make a decision if it's a design right.

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You know, it's a similar thing.

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You need somebody other than yourself to look at it and say, you know, looking at

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it objectively, is this infringing, is it the same color is, you know, has it got

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the same radius veer as it got the same shape there, all of those things will

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be in the design, the design right, how it looks, um, and copyright is a similar

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thing that we'll look at it, um, to see whether actually you owned copyright,

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what you had and whether this is infringing then, um, and lots of patent.

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It used to be that, um, patent attorneys wouldn't do legal action.

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You had to go to a solicitor, but now a lotof patent attorney firms do that are

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able to do their own, um, legal action.

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Um, and it often goes to a solicitor that they're all things that can be done.

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I mean, you, your solicitor would advise you whether it's worth sending them a

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letter, which might be on your solicitor's headed paper, which says Joe draws their

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attention to the fact that there is this product in it is to be saying that

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they're very making that sending that letter needs to be done by a lawyer or, or

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your patent attorney, because there are.

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There are legal implications.

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I don't know whether the law has changed, but it used to be that if

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you wrote to someone and implied that they were infringing, even if you had

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no intention of going to court, they could Sue you for saying that, that

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you were for you coming to them as trying to say that they should stop

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because they're infringing, they could actually take legal action against you.

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Um, I don't know if that's still the case and how the words in the

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laws has changed over the years.

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Um, but take legal advice.

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Don't jump into things.

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I do know some people that have dealt with matters through social media, um, I'm

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person, a person I'm wary of doing that.

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I think that you might be okay if, if it's handled very carefully, I would

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still feel very nervous of doing that.

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Um, and I would still have.

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Legal advice before you start handling things through social media.

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I just think it can backfire when you very badly.

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And the other thing too recognize is that if you use social media or

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a lot, everything that you've ever written on social media or said on

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social media is out there and it's out there forever and it's retrievable.

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So if you end up in a court case, they could point to something that you've

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said or something that you've written and it can really compromise you.

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So I just think, you know, I'm not personally, I'm not a huge fan of

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social media, but I think that's more to do with my age than anything else.

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Um, but I think if you are using it and you're using it for business, just, just

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remember, keep it back of your mind.

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Everything is out there and it's out there forever.

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So just be careful with what you say.

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Um, and that, I mean, I think that's generally the general advice anyway.

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Um, so going back to your question, I, I purchased a sample.

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I kept the receipt.

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I went to see my lawyer, the lawyers that I went to see my patents

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agent who sent me to the lawyer.

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Um, and I did have a little bit of legal costs insurance, um, which turned out to

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be nowhere near enough, but it enabled me to at least have a few meetings with

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my lawyer and then decide what to do.

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Okay.

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So that's something people could possibly think about as well as part

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of your business insurance is having a little bit of legal costs insurance.

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I, that I have that actually, I think it's quite standard on lots

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of policies as just on actually.

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Yeah, that's really good advice.

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Thank you.

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And I, I, I like your advice to sort of handle it with a letter initially, because

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I think there always is the chance.

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I mean, I like to always be a glass half full kind of person, I

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guess there always is the chance that this is a genuine mistake.

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This company has never seen your product.

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They've got no idea that they're infringing on your, on your rights

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Don't you believe it.

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Oh, I like to think oh.

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I mean, there are, as there are some cases where you get like small companies,

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um, startups and entrepreneurs who will set up something and, and they,

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they don't know tht you've got the same product and they shouldn't be

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doing that, that that can happen.

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And, you know, obviously then you're not going to drag them through the

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courts and it's only worth going to court if there's a very significant

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sum of damages to be made, you know, what's the point of doing it just

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for, um, you know, more moral justice.

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I, I, you know, you mustn't do that because it's mine.

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Um, it's only worth doing it if.

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Value in doing it.

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That's true.

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And actually now I know that my brain's whirring, I'm thinking actually a larger

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company presumably should be doing their due diligence before launching

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something, just to be sure that they, you know, they presumably have people

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employed to make those sorts of checks.

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Absolutely.

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I guess if they've gone ahead and done that, they've gone ahead

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knowingly, possibly assuming, you know, making the same similar

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assumptions Tommee Tippee made about you, that this is a small company.

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They won't do anything.

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It's fine.

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It goes back to what I said at the beginning, in terms of the advice, do your

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homework before you start your business, or before you start with your product,

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it's the same for these big companies.

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If they are going to launch a product, they would have sat down, looked at

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the market, see, you know, they will, they know exactly what's in the market

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and they they've got the resource to do a much better job of that search

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than I have, or any other small business has, you know, they have a

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department that deals with these things.

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They know exactly what's there and they know what's being successful.

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They know they've got their eye on the things that they're going

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to copy or try and get round and they'll try and get around.

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Sometimes, I think I'm incredibly naive.

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I do like to believe, but these things don't happen on purpose, but

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yeah, that's, it's good to know.

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It's good to have that knowledge.

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Definitely.

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If you were entering into, if you're a startup and you're entering

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into a business in a particular sector, it's very important to have

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a good knowledge of that sector.

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You know, there's no point in with anything in creating a product.

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That's a me too product that's being sold somewhere else.

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What you, why would you do that?

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Because you will only get safer.

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So what I'm interested to know Mandy is if you do face a patent

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infringement, are there many alternatives to go into the high court?

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Is there anything else you can.

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Well, yes, actually.

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I mean, a lot yes.

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A lot has actually changed since, um, I took my court action.

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Um, I mean, you know, it was really, really scary and there's lots of

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now alternatives to going to court, which make it much more accessible

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to get justice without having to sort of resort to the courts.

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Um, for instance, I mean the UK IPO, that's the UK patent office.

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Um, they offer a procedure which is like opinions.

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So you go with the person that's challenging your patent, or

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that is infringing your patent.

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Um, and you both make your arguments to the patent office and they

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have like a tribunal and they listen and they give an opinion.

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Now that's not legally binding, but on the other hand, if they say, oh,

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these people are infringing, um, it makes it much easier to then sit

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around a table and negotiate and just come to a settlement between you.

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So sort of dispute resolution.

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Um, and obviously there's mediation and alternative dispute dispute resolution,

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which is being used a lot more these days.

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And there's as well as the high courts, there's now something which

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is a bit like the sort of the county court level, if you like, which is

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called, um, IP and Enterprise court.

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And that's available to people, um, damages are capped and I'm not sure of

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all the ins and outs, but I think that each side pays their own costs, but it's

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a much quicker way of getting a decision.

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Um, and it's much cheaper and you get that much more easily, but a

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couple of years ago, um, the Judges.

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Realizing, you know, that there is a problem for people on a low

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budget that want access to justice.

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Um, the IP judges set up something called IP pro bono.

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Um, and if you are appropriate for that, that's the way of getting

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legal advice without having to pay or without having to pay very much anyway.

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Um, so there's lots of alternatives now.

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So I wouldn't be put off and think, oh my God, you know, if you

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go to patents, that means you're going to end up in high courts.

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You're not.

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And to be honest, you only end up in a dispute if somebody

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is infringed your patterns.

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And if, if that happens, it's because you've got something

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that is commercially successful.

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So you're only going to have to get into that situation if there's money coming in.

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Yeah.

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That's perfect.

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Thank you, and thank you for all these options you've given.

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Cause I think that'd be a relief to people to realize they don't necessarily have

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to go straight to the highest level.

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Um, I know we covered this before briefly Mandy, but just as a reminder,

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what would be, if someone's in a situation where their patents being

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breached, what would you say is the first step because of there's lots

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of options open, what would it be to contact your lawyer in this instance?

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Um, well you could contact your lawyer.

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Um, also there's the business, an IP center that's run by the British library.

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Um, and then they have, I mean the main one said it started in London,

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but they have branches all over the country now and they have, um, a

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lawyer, uh, sort of like in residence.

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So you can go and you can talk to that lawyer and that won't cost you anything.

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That's perfect.

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Thank you.

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Just for anyone who's listening and thinks, oh, I need to do something, but I

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don't know which of these routes is best.

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That's so helpful.

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Thank you.

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So I just have a few more questions, Mandy.

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Um, and I know we've gone a little bit out of order because you know,

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we're having a conversation and that's how conversations tend to go.

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But before you go, I can't let you leave about asking you something I'm really

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curious about, which is the story of how you got the, Anywayup cup launched.

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I know you managed to get that product into Tesco and I would love

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to hear the story around that please.

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Yeah, well, when we first started out with the Anywayup Cup, we knew

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that we had to get big volumes to make it viable, and that really

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meant getting into the supermarkets.

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Um, but because we were a one product company, none of them

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wanted to buy product from us.

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So we thought this is crazy.

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You know, they w they said, no, we know that once this gets on

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the shelves, it's going to fly.

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How do we do it?

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So we decided we've got to sort of sit up and make them take notice.

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So we did something which, oh my God.

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Now I think, oh my God, how did we ever do this?

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Cause it was, it was taking such a risk.

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We took one of our cups and we filled it full of concentrated black current

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juice like Ribena, pop the lid on.

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And we put it inside a white cardboard shoe box, no plastic bags, no

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cling film or anything like that.

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Just a couple of juice rolling around inside a white box.

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And we sent it through the post to the head buyer at Tesco's put a

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little note inside that said, well, if this arrives as a soppy mess,

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we've shot ourselves in the foot.

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But if it arrives and it hasn't spilled, please, could you give us a call?

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So we posted this thing off.

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I mean, yeah.

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Anything could be, it could have got crushed in the post.

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I could have got sued by the post office.

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Um, we sent it off and we waited four days later, the phone rang and it was

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the head bar of Tesco's phoning us.

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And she said, Oh, my God, I've received this.

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It's amazing.

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I can see you.

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It's a cup.

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It's got a hole in the spout.

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I can see the juice and it hasn't come out I want it.

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Um, and within when you have some pipe fill in everything else, but

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within a matter of a few months, we were on the shelves in Tescos.

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And then of course, once one, supermarket's got it and

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it's flying off the shelves.

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There will be others quickly come on.

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So that's how in the first year of trading.

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So that's right from when we very first started.

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Um, and so really it was only about nine months of trading.

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I would say we were into two supermarkets.

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We'd sold half a million cups, which was pretty good.

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That's amazing.

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Good.

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Um, yeah, I love that story.

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I had no idea what the story was, but that's, that's really bold.

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I think, I think what the lesson that's to pick up from that is that you've

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really got to stand out from the crowd.

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You've got to make people stand up and take notice, and sometimes

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you have to take a bit of a risk.

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Yeah.

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And then yeah.

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And sometimes risks can really pay off.

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Absolutely.

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That's a great, that's a great story.

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Thank you for sharing that.

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That's a pleasure.

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Okay.

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I'm keeping an eye on the time Mandy.

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Cause I know we are possibly starting to go over, so I had we just one

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more thing I'd like to ask you about, I can't resist the opportunity

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because you are known as an inventor.

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Um, so I would just love to ask you if you have any tips or advice

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when it comes to product design.

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Cause I think that would be great to ask about as well.

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I think my, my biggest tip it, it's a sort of a formula that I have.

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You have to have technology.

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That's your intellectual property.

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You have to have great design because, and combine the two because you

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can have the best product in the world and it can be on the shelf.

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It can be online, whatever, unless somebody, it actually catches somebody's

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eye and makes them want to know more.

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They're not going to pick it up and read about it.

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So if you combine intellectual property, your patent with great design, then you

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get that stop me and buy one moment.

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And that's when you can be very successful.

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Um, yeah, just very quickly.

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So when I first launched the Anywayup Cop, it looked just like everybody

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else's cup because, um, I've made basically I bought a, uh, off the shelf

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cup base and I'd applied my lid and it looked just like everything else.

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A year later, when we had it designed, I had a top designer to look at the

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aesthetics and make it look great.

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It flew, I mean, we, we were doubling our sales monthly, um, and we ended

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up selling over a million cups in our first year with the new designs.

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So I think the secret is, you know, with the original, it looks like everything

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else design, we would have been successful, but it would have grown much

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more slowly as it was a great design.

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And it flew off the shelf when we got 40% market share.

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That's great advice.

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Thank you.

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And I think it's, it's a good, it's good to remember that while something has

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to solve a problem and be functional, people do care how things look, if you're

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choosing to put something in your home and your car, carry it wherever it is.

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We do like things that look nice.

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Well, good design enhances life.

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Doesn't it it gives you pleasure.

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And if your product is a pleasure to use and to look at

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it's going to be successful.

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Thank you.

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And I've got one final question for you Mandy, before we finish, if that's okay.

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And then that's, what was your number one piece of advice be to any

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new or aspiring product creators?

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I know it's a big question.

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Well, it's a general answer.

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Do your homework.

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You know, don't jump into it too quickly.

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Look at it really objectively and make sure your idea is your idea.

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And you're not pinching somebody else's idea inadvertently and make

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sure that the market is going to part with their money to buy your product.

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That's brilliant.

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Thank you so much, Mandy.

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Thank you for everything you've shared.

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I think your story and your examples are fascinating.

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I think you've given us so much so useful practical advice.

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Um, I've certainly learned a lot from you as well.

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Thank you.

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It's a great pleasure talking to you.

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Thank you so much for listening all the way to the end of this episode.

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If you enjoyed it, please do leave me a review that really helps

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other people to find this podcast.

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Make sure you subscribe so you don't miss any future episodes and

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do tell your friends about it too.

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If you think that they also might enjoy it, you can find me@vickiweinberg.com.

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There you'll find link to all of my social channels.

Speaker:

You'll find lots of more information all of the past podcast, episodes

Speaker:

and lots of free resources too.

Speaker:

So again, that's Vicki weinberg.com.

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Take care, have a good week and see you next time.