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Another company trying to steal FlowHives design


#1

Watched their video and it looks so very similar it isn’t even funny.


Yet another ripoff sold by Romanian beekeeping online store
What is Tapcomb?
New knock off of Flow hive
#2

Pretty ballsy of them…

I do hope the Honeyflow guys have some lawyers?


#3

I agree, it isn’t funny. That makes my angry. They get what looks like an aging used car salesman to do a sales pitch on the product.

He talks about the tapcomb only having one competitor that he knows of, when in fact the tapcomb is a blatant copy. I don’t know how they can get away with it. I hope they get shut down real quick.


#4

Very bad Karma here.


#6

I like it; Competition breeds improvements.


#7

Competition is all well & good but when someone goes out & steals a design, it’s just blatant theft. They (a Hong Kong business man) have another trade mark pending for Hivewiz, possibly the same thing with a different name.


#8

It’s dog eat dog in the business world.


#9

You are right Ed, it is:) It doesn’t matter which way you turn, there’s always someone ready to rip you off, if they can.

I’ve just been looking at flow hives on aliexpress, you can buy a full flow hive for around $365.00us. I looked at some reviews. There was a word for word review we saw on this forum about a week ago. Complaining about the dovetail joints etc.etc. Then I smiled when I saw that the same person gave it 5 stars.


#10

If Flow put all the work into designing and making the flow hive come to being and they have the patent on it then I hope they take the tapcomb mob for everything they can.

I am not doubting the flow team just saying it how it is.

If the tapcomb mob have changed just enough to make their design get past the patent then I hope they fail.


#11

What can Flow do about a trademark? That’s a trademark for their logo design.


#12

“I like it; Competition breeds improvements.”

you can’t honestly believe that can you?? Do you endorse this lie: “Tapcomb is the worlds first truly bee-friendly tappable hive. Discover the most natural honey extraction method ever created!”??

The shame… the shame.

actually- blatantly ripping off other peoples intellectual property hampers innovation. If a company cannot recuperate its R&D- and gain IP protection for it’s innovations- there is less impetus to innovate. If an inventor cannot be sure that their invention won’t be shamelessly copied there is no incentive to go through the very difficult and expensive process of obtaining a patent. If the invention is not patented then the innovations do not necessarily enter the public domain… In terms of the flow hive it is a relatively easy matter for someone to get one and copy it. A LOT LOT easier than inventing it! Infinitely easier still to go to AliBaba and simply order some from a Chinese faker- then steal the original inventors marketing material… But consider the case of a complex new anti-cancer drug- if it is not patented- the inventor does not have to publicly describe and detail the innovation. It may not be possible to reverse engineer it- and in that case the public loses as the information is kept a secret- potentially forever… That is anti-competitive and monopolistic and the inventor could charge whatever they like- forever- or lock up the drug and let no-one use it…

Intellectual property laws are known as a ‘social contract’ - in return for monopoly control over an invention for a period of time through a patent- the patent holder agrees that their innovation will be published and exist in the public domain- so that other entities can study the patent- and further innovate on the idea. The patent has a fixed life- and when that period is over the design fully enters the public domain and ANYONE is free to copy it. It is a balance- between the right of the innovator to get protection and rewards for their idea- and the right of the public to utilize previous innovations and innovate further.

If you ask me these people are shameless- lazy - and certainly engaged in a criminal enterprise in direct contravention of Patent law. They are making false and misleading claims. For God’s sake they have even copied the type of music used in the flow video.

I don’t like it- at all. And I wonder if you would: if you had invented, tested, patented, trade marked and invested a large part of your life into Flow frames… methinks not. How would you feel if someone simply copied exactly your honey bottle labels?

If I was on the Flow team I would immediately be contacting that company and threatening them with litigation. Cease and Forever Desist!

Here is the patent for the flow hive:

http://www.google.com/patents/WO2013091018A1?cl=en

I have no doubt that this bullshit half arsed lying company is blatantly infringing on that patent. Even if they have made some small changes to the design- it does not matter. The intention is clear. And in any case the frame he is holding is a Chinese manufactured fake- and if they knowingly imported it as such to the US- they have already broken US law. It is cynical and criminal what they are doing. beyond patents I feel they are arguably in breach of copyright (with their rip off video) and possibly also trade mark- and design rights. And they have a US address listed- I hope they find that in the USA patent infringement is a very serious matter.

The big problems with IP laws- is that it’s the job of the rights holder to enforce their rights. Failure to aggressively assert those rights can be construed by courts as acquiescence. therefore it is vital that Flow immediately and aggressively threaten these people with imminent litigation :wink: I’d be happy to offer my services and pen a nasty letter for free- let the lawyers at the other end read it- and charge their client accordingly… God Knows: they deserve it!


#13

I don’t use facebook- but perhaps those that do could go to facebook war with these shameless fraudsters…

As to how their ‘invention’ differs from flow frames… a critical question in the upcoming legal dispute- let’s see what they say themselves:

Question: How is this different from the Flow Hive?

Answer:
Tapcomb
We use the term to mean the use of beeswax to complete the frames, which is natural for honey bees. We also brush our frames with beeswax to further induce this behavior from honey bees. With a queen excluder installed, bees will not raise brood in the frames.

Right… despite the fact that that answere makes Zero sense_I am sure it will stand up in court_…sure… they rub bees wax on them… what amazing ‘innovators’. I wonder if they will take out a patent on that? From the CrapComb TM patent application: “We took the existing patented technology, purchased and illegally imported counterfeit copies of it, and applied our new innovation of rubbing bees wax onto it… see appendix A” O Wait: RBK already invented that. O wait: Bobby also did that… Maybe he should threaten to sue them for infringing his IP?


#14

Well said Jack, after reading your comment, I have no doubt whatsoever that you’d be able to draft a decent letter for the flow team.

That’s a good point that @RBK made, it’s only the logo they are applying for copyright, actually 2. The other one being Hivewiz… I can see what you mean, that salesman probably IS holding up a cheap Chinese copy. What a cheek.


#16

Trade marks are different than copyright and patents- in a legal sense they are called a ‘badge of origin’. Their job is to indicate the type, quality and origin of goods. Unlike the other types of IP protection they can be renewed indefinitely.

This company however is also arguably in breach of TM law as they are claiming to be the inventor of an item they didn’t invent- and are being misleading abut the origins of their counterfeit product. Given that their entire enterprise is essentially based on a clearly illegal patent infringement- the Trade Mark is also likely invalid- even if it has been given approval. Given that their aim is to mark the counterfeit product with their label: even if the TM isn’t illegal- the product it is marked on is. Whatever way you cut it these people are involved in a criminal conspiracy and if they ever sell a single counterfeit item they are liable to pay damages and costs to Flow :wink:

Copyright is different again- as it does not need to be applied for - but automatically comes into being whenever someone produces copyrightable material. For instance Jeff- you could arguably claim that many of your videos are protected by copyright- whether you use the symbol or not. The flow video falls in that category and the CrapHive company has clearly copied that video extensively. A court would have little difficulty with a finding against them on that. In fact their entire operation stinks to high heaven from an IP perspective and I am surprised at the chutzpah they demonstrate… Although they have given it an American face- it is clear they are operating out of Hong Kong - which is a signatory to many IP trade agreements- as is China more broadly. They can be sued in the US, Hong Kong and China.

What is unfair is the expense and difficulty of doing that for Flow- they have to take action themselves. A good first step is always some seriously threatening letters. Let the fakers lawyers stew (and bill their client) on those… My advice to Flow is don’t spend too much money at the early stages- just write the letters, point out the clear illegalities and warn the other party that they will be liable for costs and damages. Demand that they sign undertaking to immediately halt their criminal enterprise. Such letters will stand them in good stead should the matters ever come to court- the opposing party cannot then claim they were ignorant of their crimes (which they clearly are not).


#17

Fair enough Jack, sounds like you know a fair bit about this kind of thing. Yeah, well it gets kind of expensive when lawyers get involved. I remember a fair while ago, someone from the flow team mentioned something about their “legal team”.


#18

unfortunately- a necessary evil…

Also it’s unfortunate- but I learnt a fair bit about IP law when I found myself at the receiving end of those types of threatening letters from Lawyers. Not nice. Luckily in my case it was the senders who were in the wrong.

I studied up and (mostly) represented myself. It was a great pleasure to fire off a detailed letter of my own and contemplate the other parties legal team going over it for a few hours- and then charging their client a few thousand dollars for the effort :wink: It was an inexpensive way for me to get back at them… My opponent hated me: her lawyers probably loved me.

One thing about Lawyers- even when they lose the case- they generally cry all the way to the bank…

Specialist IP lawyers are not cheap- and it would pay for Flow to learn some of the basics of IP management for themselves as you really don’t need a lawyer to fire off a three paragraph warning letter (though the letterhead carries more fear when it comes from a big name lawyer type).

I once engaged a law firm to send a letter on their letterhead which another lawyer had written. They changed two words in the three paragraph letter and then billed me $700 for the effort… nice gig if you can get it.


#19

Well done Jack & good on you for employing that strategy. You’ve got a good head on those shoulders:) You’ll be a success at beekeeping for sure:)

It’s funny that thief & lawyers have both been mentioned in this thread, however not linked.


#20

I think this blatant copying without acknowledgment of Flow Hive is outrageous…however I do believe there was a ‘prototype’ patented for very similar idea years before Flow. I agree that it can result in improvements, but you must acknowledge precedent.


#21

There is a patented design from 1940 - and it has similarities- however if you do a detailed study of it you’ll see the mechanism is quite different:

https://www.google.com/patents/US2223561

In addition- as far as I have seen- it was never manufactured or used widely. It’s possible it never worked at all. Certainly it never took off…

I’ve little doubt Stu and Cedar found - and were influenced by it- which is exactly how published patents are supposed to work. They become a resource for any to access and enable further innovation. If it worked- there would have been nothing to stop Flow- or anyone making them -as the patent expired many decades ago. That flow obtained their own patent is a kind of proof that their design is different enough to be novel and therefore patentable…

This CrapHive company is simply engaging in outright intellectual property theft- and importation of counterfeit items. It’s criminal opportunism: end of story.


#22

“I like it; Competition breeds improvements.”
“you can’t honestly believe that can you??”

I believe competition breeds improvement, with all of my heart. Look at the uproar it’s caused with this one thread, the passion, the emotion.