From yesterday's BNBT (Britains Next Big Thing) 5th episode, two things stuck in my mind: don't wait for permission and why did some not predict and benefit from the exposure (free marketing!) now their contributions are aired on national TV?
To patent or not to patent
In our world of wooden flooring everyone knows of the ongoing legal war between two multinationals in laminated flooring. Who's infringing on who's patent on the click system? This has been going on for years and every time the trade thinks it is finally settled, off they go again for another very expensive legal war in another country. These are multinationals, not work-at-home mums with a great invention many were looking for.
Elaine Armstrong, mumpreneur from West-Sussex has looked into patenting her bikeback but the costs to hold a patent can be enormous.
When Theo Paphitis remarked on the fact she had not pursued it further, Elaine gave the best answer possible in my opinion: and besides the costs for a patent, I would not have to money to fight any copy-cat.
Just ship the darn thing - establish your product as The Original as soon as possible, copy-cats will follow anyway, patent or no patent. At least then you have been able to recoup all the research and development costs.
But it seems the bikeback is not yet for sale, anywhere!
Waste of buzz created by BBC's program. It only takes 30 minutes to set up a secure online shop (with Ecwid Ecommerce widgets) and start selling the darn thing. Even if it is not yet really polished or if the packaging isn't perfect yet - at least get pre-orders in!
The Ledge, without an edge
Russell Leith's invention of The Ledge - a self-supporting stand, wooden plank/board supported by only one leg and the wall - failed to get into Habitat. Reason: their product technology expert thought it was too much of a risky product that could trigger loads of complaints from clients when their Ledge was knocked over by children or pets (while Russell's' own family and many of his friends don't seem to have a problem with it, having the Ledge in their homes for over 9 years).
But by Habitat's decision it seems to be the end of the line for him. While others, still in the running or dropped by one of the three big retailers participating in the program, can at least be found on the web (see here for the full list - as far as known) no Google search can give you any further details on Russ or his Ledge.
He himself claimed after the last meeting with Habitat: there is a future for the product.
Sure there is and having watched the program there must be plenty of potential buyers out there. But you can't find the darn thing on the wibbly wobbly web at all!
Missed opportunity, wasted time going through all the (e)motions of contributing to the program.
Any takers out there to pre-order the soon to be launched "Selling Online Basics"?
UPDATE 19.05.11: Selling Online Basics" launched!