Activity: The POLAR Pen
Now think back to Andrew’s approach and participation in the Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign and reflect on each of the questions below:
Early disclosure of his invention and its design:
As a result of the crowdfunding campaign, Andrew had to disclose a lot of the details of his invention and share images and design drawings of the pen to get people interested in investing in his product.
Like a lot of inventors who have to raise money through avenues such as crowdfunding, Andrew found himself in a no-win situation. If he disclosed too little, he risked a lack of interest from prospective investors; however, if he disclosed too much, he risked becoming vulnerable to copycats.
Andrew was not well positioned to have sufficient supply to meet demand, thereby making it easier for a copycat to fill the unmet need.
From what you have learned to date, what other forms of IP could Andrew have considered at the outset of his Kickstarter campaign that might have helped with his problem with counterfeits?
He could have considered industrial design protection and trademark protection.
While Andrew ultimately filed for industrial design protection, he first filed for a patent instead. He wonders whether he should have opted first for industrial design protection, given his particular circumstances and its different advantages.
Also, he might have considered registering his trademarks prior to starting his Kickstarter campaign. A registered trademark might have given him greater capacity to enforce his trademark against the sale of counterfeit pens, at least in countries in which he would have registered his rights. Also, without registration, he would have no rights at all in countries that don’t recognize unregistered trademark rights.