Saxon:

Huskee originally founded as an idea. What we really wanted to do was solve the issue of takeaway cups and create a system that actually enabled people to move away from single-use into a more sustainable way of having their daily cup of coffee. We're a design-first company, and by that I mean design is critical. People buy first off design, not off sustainability. We took a lot of our design intent from all stakeholders. At a cafe level we looked at the baristas, the users, so we brought them in. We asked baristas, 'What works for you? What makes the cafe environment work?' And then industrial designers, we had some guys that came on to really help facilitate the production side of it, ensuring that the manufacturing of the final product would work well. It's really a collaborative effort. I mean, there's a lot of people involved in coming up with a final solution, and I think the success of what we've come up with is because we've involved many voices into the process.

Protecting the processes is difficult. That was something we were aware of pretty early on and we did actually think about the IP process, we thought about, 'How do we take care of that?' People have had cups for years, so what are those key elements that we're adding value to that we can latch onto to say, 'Okay, that's critical. That's ours. We came up with that and we need to protect that.'

Adrian:

So we had to consider materiality in how we address IP around that, and we had to consider how we protect our design, and then also how we then protect our brand. The design registrations that we had because the cups actually are three different sizes, there are actually three slightly different shapes, the actual contours and draft angles they vary slightly. Design registration is a lot more precise, in that you've got a very particular and specific detail.

Saxon:

We're manufactured in China, we're designed in Australia, but we're selling, I think, to over 70 countries now. So we've gone global really quickly. There's a nuance to our product in a sense that it's using a coffee husk, which is waste material. So to manufacture that, that only happens in certain countries. So we try to protect ourselves in key markets, to protect where other people could easily replicate it. That was one end, at the production end. And then on the other end of the spectrum, we wanted to protect at the consumer end.

Adrian:

So we actually have put into place trade marks for all the different brand names that we do use from Huskee to Huskee Cup, to HuskeeSwap, and our logos. We've got an IP lawyer that we use. It's been invaluable having an IP specialist, it's just taken a massive load off and just made the process a lot more streamlined. We had a case in Europe where somebody actually copied the cup and made some slight modifications. We were made aware of this, and then we were able to enforce our design. After a process, took their products off their website and recalled it from the market. So that was great.

Saxon:

We have a two-stranded approach. We want to protect ourselves through the legal mechanisms and IP, but at the same time, we need to get to market quickly and we need to build out our presence and our brand and become the market leader in the space so that it's clear that we are who we are and any counterfeits to that are obvious. We're definitely going to continue investing in IP. We need to, it's our business. And as a design-driven company, if we don't protect what we do, then the shelf life of our ideas is much shorter.

Last updated: 
Monday, May 10, 2021