Shark Tank Episode 4 – Australian Creativity

Shark Tank

Shark Tank moved to its new time slot last night, but if you didn’t get the memo then don’t worry – we’ve got everything you need to know right here. Well, we’ve focused on how the entrepreneurs protected their ideas, inventions or brands. It’s what we do after all…

From cars, to guitars, then back to cars and finishing with shoes, last night’s episode featured intellectual property (IP) quite heavily. So here’s our wrap-up.

A showcase of Australian ingenuity

Perry Ormsby set out with $1800 and a dream and turned it into Ormsby guitars – his custom built, handmade guitar company. With his last 20 handmade guitars pre-selling in 66 seconds, the sharks were impressed by his success.

Melbourne duo Steve and Christian pitched Carhood, a business that allows people to avoid parking costs at airports by renting their cars out to others. Think AirBNB for cars! They are driven to take their business global in three years and had their brand protected with a trade mark.

The sharks’ advice was to get things right in the Australian market first, before expanding overseas.

Are you full of good ideas?

Matt Gillett originally pitched his 2Shu (a thong that could be converted to a closed-toe shoe) to the sharks, seeking $150,000 for a 40% share. However, we soon realised that this was just one of his many ideas and that Matt was, as put by the sharks, a ‘walking R&D incubator’. We like to think of him as an 'ideas man' (anyone reminded of this scene from The Castle?).

Matt has applied for seven patents, including a standard patent for 2Shu in Australia. For Matt, ‘everything (he does) is a solution to some kind of problem’, which is important as ideas and inventions must be useful to be patented.

The opportunity was too great for Janine who offered $150,000 for 25% of him. This included his business, his ideas and his patents. With Matt accepting this deal, Janine was left wondering what exactly was in his other patents… if you can’t wait to find out, you can always perform a patent search.

Protection – Rhinohide’s business and ours

Rhinohide is a revolutionary way to protect your 4wd’s paintwork from scratches. It's a completely removable, high impact, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (fun fact – this is the plastic used in LEGO bloks) exterior that fits onto the outside of your 4wd.

Rhinohide is in the business of protecting its assets, having three types of IP protection in Australia! They have a trade mark, design and innovation patent.

Linden from the IP Australia team, who examined and registered Rhinohide’s design, will be at the Good Design Australia Festival this weekend – come and have a chat about protecting your design.

The founder, Marc Berryman, believes he has only scratched the surface of his product’s potential and he’s looking at taking his product internationally and has a patent pending under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

Whilst there is no such thing as an 'international patent', if you’re thinking about expanding your business overseas you can get patents granted in a number of different countries and protect your invention in important export markets. The PCT application is a useful way to apply for patents in a number of different countries simultaneously. It also allows you to decide which of the 148 listed countries you’d like to have protection in.

Patents – is your idea worth protecting?

We have covered patents in two shark tank wrap-ups from season one ('What can and can’t be patented' and 'Explaining patents, and getting trade marks to work for you'). However, with two entrepreneurs citing patents in their pitches, we thought we’d remind you of some key facts about patents.

Patents encourage the investment into research and development to bring new products – in exchange for an exclusive right to use and license that product.

For your patent application to be successful, your invention must be new, useful and inventive. To confirm that your invention is new, you should perform a patent search. Be aware that if you demonstrate, sell or discuss your invention in public before filing an application with us, you may not get a patent!

There are three types of patents available in Australia, and you should make yourself aware of the time and costs for each. These are a provisional patent, an innovation patent and a standard patent.

Until next time

Episode 5 of Shark Tank airs 8.30pm on Wednesday 1 June on TEN and there’s sure to be more for the sharks to feed off. In the meantime, never miss a pitch with our live updates and wrap-up blogs.

26 May 2016