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A win for IP rights and innovation

November 8, 2018

HivesWith our weather warming up, the flowers  blooming and Explore’s own Flow Hives (pictured this morning) ramping up honey production, there was great news today with the hive’s inventors winning their fight against a ‘copycat’ manufacturer.

The global reach that businesses now have with the Internet is both a blessing and a curse – especially for innovators like Flow Hive. It would have been next to impossible for them to have raised so much money so quickly, together with global market awareness they generated for their product, without the help of the crowdfunding platform they used.

At the same time, it’s been just as easy for scammers and copycats to take a short cut and make a quick buck on the back of Flow Hive’s hard work and experimentation over ten years – and this is despite the attempts Flow Hive has made to legally protect its intellectual property rights globally.

Part of the problem is that the so-called ‘tech disruptors’ like Google, Amazon, Facebook and eBay are facilitating these IP contraventions, while claiming to bear no responsibility for the actions of their users. The issue with this is that they are deriving direct benefit from the contravention – which seems to have little bearing on their complicity. I’m not sure why they aren’t forced by the regulators to take a more active role in policing and enforcing the IP rights of the legitimate holders. And this isn’t something new. It’s been at least 20 years since I first complained to Google about a competitor using one of our trademarks as a paid keyword search term.

Surely, technology is now at the stage where we can have APIs into the various IP administrative systems globally, so that companies like Google and Amazon can connect to the data sources and automate a large part of this IP enforcement process?

Cedar Anderson from Flow Hive says they have had to spend a huge amount of money and time trying just to shut down copycats. “In some cases it makes it hard for people like us with a legitimate product. For example. Amazon and eBay even advertise counterfeit products on keywords, which really shouldn’t be allowed to happen. It’s bad enough that they are allowed to list counterfeits, let alone advertise them.” – Flow Hive pest free after parasite brand folds

Let’s keep up the good fight!

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