Shark Tank last week featured the baby products company, Inchbug. This is one of my practice areas, so I was interested to hear about the company and their patent strategy. Inchbug is headed by Brenda Lee Feldman who first came up with bottle labels, followed by a juice box holder she calls MyDrinky. Her online sales are $2 million annually.
Kevin O’Leary who usually likes women-owned and operated companies offered Brenda $400,000 for a no-so-generous royalty deal. Barbara Corcoran said she would be crazy to accept, and Brenda declined the offer.
In the baby products area, copying is rampant and I wondered how Inchbug was attempting to protect its products. I’d heard that Feldman had secured patents on her design, so I looked them up. She actually has both a design and a utility patent. This is a strategy I fully embrace. The design protects the overall appearance, while the utility protects the functional aspects. I would recommend this strategy to anyone having a retail product.
Kudos to Brenda for having the foresight to protect her invention.
If you are interested, here are the details on her patents.
U.S. 9,016,514 issued on April 28, 2015.
Claim 1. A beverage container holder, comprising: a base having an interior compartment configured to support a beverage, and a flexible tab having a lock button extending therefrom; and a housing configured to be mounted to the base such that the beverage is located between the base and the housing, the housing having a lock hole configured to receive the lock button and secure the housing to the base, the housing also having a release button separate and spaced apart from the lock hole, the release button being configured to selectively engage the flexible tab without contacting the lock button to indirectly release the lock button from the lock hole.
U.S.D. 721,925 issued on February 3, 2015