back to article Dragons' Den winner infringed own patent, IPO rules

A man whose invention caught the attention of millions of television viewers may have infringed a patent he applied for himself ten years ago. A contestant on the Dragons' Den TV programme may have to defend his invention from legal action. Andrew Harsley appeared on the programme and convinced two of its panellists, Duncan …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    You know, it's almost as if the whole concept of using the army to back up ownership of ideas is really, really stupid and outdated.

  2. Sam C
    Thumb Down

    10 years is long enough

    Regardless of whether it infringes on the patent, 10 years is long enough to make money on an invention like this, especially with something this trivial. If someone is disincentivised from inventing something because they won't have IP protection after 10 years, then we're better off without their work.

    Short patent periods are surely good for the economy, as it forces people to make use of their invention quickly. And after it's expired, it's not like you go out of business - you just lose your monopoly. Long patent periods stifle innovation by preventing improvement of existing products, which is exactly what's happened here.

  3. Mark
    Thumb Down


    Some clever person invents something and starts up a company to sell it. Later on in life he sells the company and starts inventing again and produces something new that shares some characteristics with his previous invention and the the old company he founded now wants to get thier sticky paws on his new invention and stop him selling it?

    What a bunch of w****rs, and just more proof that the patent system is nothing more than a way for lawyers to get rich and companies to stifle innovation.

    I hope they get told to feck orf in court if they decide to take it down that route.

  4. Matt Brigden

    Hmmmmm indeed

    Rapstrap ...... Milletie . Only difference I can see is the name .

  5. Michael Habel Silver badge
    IT Angle

    I find your title to be a bit misleaeding...

    After all it's either this guy's Patent or it's not, and the Article clearly states that it is NOT!

    Irregardless whether or not he was the Inverter to begin with. He sold that Idea to his old Company and they clearly own that IP. So wheres the problem??

    Reading the Title w/o reading the Article (tl:dr).

    One would come to the conclusion that this was quite a retarded situation, if the Person in question had actually owned his Patent.

    Which again (after reading the Article), he does not.

    "IT?" Sans the IT, cause I fail to get "IT"

  6. Stephen Hunt

    @ Mark

    These were my initial thougts, but a quick google for the two products and you can see they are very similar (if not identical).

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Same Product, Different Name

    They guy is a con artist, shame on Dragons Den for not doing their research!

  8. Jord

    @Michale Abel: AAAAAGGGHHHH

    Irregardless is a double negative and not a goddamn word!

    Consider yourself bitchslapped and sent to the corner to think about what you have done.


  9. Chris Pearson

    Prior Art?

    I am sure I have seen those for years in my local gardening centre?

  10. Colin Millar

    @ Jord

    Irregardless is a word in most dictionaries - although any decent one will point out that it is a crap word.

    You missed the tautology - back to pedantry 101 for you

  11. Anonymous Coward


    Well, irregardless of what you think of double negatives...ok, i'm just flaming you....

    Most inventors assign their patents to the company for which they work, no matter what. The only possible exceptions are patents they might develop off clock and away from their shop.

    He may very well have forgotten his prior invention or thought the new one was sufficiently different as to pass muster. Apparently, irregardlessly, not.

  12. Jord

    @Colin Millar

    It only appears in dictionaries as it is has unfortunately become an over-used slang word. Dictionaries can't be trusted nowadays, as they contain many slang words and phrases just because they are widely used in our ever-declining pop culture. They don't have to be real words to appear in there any more. A prime example of this is 'meh', which was added to the Collins English dictionary after featuring in 'The Simpsons' and being adopted by text-happy scrotes and scallywags across the nation.

    So nur nur

    (note: 'nur nur' does not currently feature in any of the major dictionaries)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Picking on that post again.

    >Irregardless whether or not he was the Inverter to begin with.


  14. Youvegottobe Joking
    Thumb Down

    They look very similar, he's gonna lose

    I am guessing that they work the same way as well.

    But to be honest, I cant see why I'd choose either of them over a standard cable tie/tie wrap.

  15. Heff


    "Dictionaries can't be trusted nowadays"

    Give it a fucking rest, you're showing your age. Dictionaries are a compilation of widely used -defined- terminology and phrasiology, and as any lexiconographer will tell you, THERE IS NO STANDARD ENGLISH LANGUAGE, NOR HAS THERE EVER BEEN.

    This tedious opinion you expound here might well be culled from the fossils on BBC3 talking about the 'decline in standards', and frankly, on a tech website its a little strange, as the analogy would pan out into; '"grep" isnt a programming term, for gods sake, what happened to good old assembly? what is this _shit_ the kids code in nowadays?"

    As for dragons den being a little shonky... well, Ive lost track of the amount of stories of "winners" not getting contract money from 'dragons' after the show is over, and people who got turned down by the aforementioned repiles-o-doom picking up VC from elsewhere and actually making a go of it. As for plastic-strap guys relative legitimacy, I find his pimping of his already-preexisting product to be about par for the show, which traditionally seems to flog inane muppets trying to sell hat-and-shoes-to-match, Bowler-hats-with-sleeves, chocolate teapots, cars powered by water, etc etc.

    Its fast become a VC version of Antiques roadshow, where if your property is horrible enough, dented enough, and you couldnt sell it at the car boot sale, drag it in front of our panel of specialists, who'll graciously tell you its worth about 5 quid.

    highly technical content sticker, because, well...

  16. Carl

    Choosing them over a standard cable tie

    My understanding (from the programme) is that you buy them in a roll, tie up tight around your cable bundle and cut off the excess which can then be used for the next cable bundle. With a standard cable tie, you throw about 90% of it in the bin.

    There's certainly no doubt it's Andy's idea -- I was at university with him 17 years ago and he was wittering on about them even then. I think he'd already filed a patent.

  17. Nathan Dennis
    Paris Hilton

    Two Words......

    Due Diligence !

    What this actually shows is that the "dragons" arent all there cracked up to be. The first rule of investing is to make sure the pitch checks out.

    Paris, even she looks before she leaps.

  18. alan

    Re Michael Habel

    Cable ties are commonly used in IT, for tying cables......

  19. Jord
    Thumb Up

    @ Heff

    "Give it a fucking rest, you're showing your age"

    Would be a valid point. Except I am only 23.....

    While there never was a 'standard' English language, there were always rules and syllabuses in place in order to guide people in the teaching and use of it. Nothing wrong with griping over a personal pet hate of how these rules are now being ignored our language is dwindling and dumbing down ever closer to that of the Orwellian 'newspeak' now is there...?

    You could have saved yourself some physical exertion in the way of typing and a fairly large rant, had you not made the assumption that I was an oldie.

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