May 12, 2012

Founding the new Jellypods company

Posted in Corporate, Funding, News, Production, Prototyping, Registered Designs, Uncategorized at 10:18 am by Kilo

Yesterday was an interesting day –  we founded the new Jellypods company here in Germany.

The German company formation process is a little bit complicated, involving the founders, three lawyers, a notary, a tax advisor and a bank manager, as well as some initial cash.

But as of yesterday the company is officially formed in Munich, with 25,000 EUR in initial capital and the objective of trading in silicone goods:-

It has taken several weeks to figure out what is the right form – and even country – to incorporate, and needed the help of specialized tax lawyers to ensure we did not screw up any future liabilities by founding in the wrong way or in the wrong place.

Once the basic decisions were taken, the whole founding process is managed by a German Notar – a notary – who makes sure all the key legal points are fully covered during the founding, and affixes a stamp to the documents to show that the founding has been done correctly.

All this process takes several weeks and has cost about 5,000-6,000 EUR in total, plus the 25,000 EUR capital injection into the company, and of course a reasonable amount of our time.

We now have to look at a few other legal steps, like transferring or licencing the trademarks and registered designs, which were registered personally, to the operating company. More tax and legal advice required soon!

But those are largely side issues, and we hopefully can now move on with the next steps, which involve taking prototype IV to a more refined, finished product. It is getting close – not close enough, but more real with each passing day/week/month.


March 20, 2011

Filing registered designs for Jellypods

Posted in Design, Frequent Flyer, News, Registered Designs, Trademarks, Uncategorized at 9:13 am by Kilo

This week we spent a little money (about $500) on registering the core design of Jellypods with a European Registered Community Design, also known as an RCD.

This registration, which was granted in just 3 days and is now in force, covers the look and feel of the design in 27 European countries with just one application.

A similar, but slightly more involved process existing in the USA and other major markets, and those are also in progress right now. This is a fairly simple thing to do; all you need are some good sketches of the product from a range of angles.

We’ve written before about how these kinds of simple protections, which are much simpler than utility patents, can help defend the value being created by a novel design. Another good example is the Poachpod by Fusionbrands, who have successfully defended their designs against knockoffs both in the UK and USA. It’s encouraging that these protections can be granted very rapidly, as a real utility patent can take years to be granted, leaving an inventor at the mercy of copycats.

What is fascinating about the Jellypods story is the range of new things we are learning from day to day, with the trademarking and design registration process being just one example.

January 9, 2011

Crocs and design patents

Posted in Airlines, Business model, Competition, Luggage, Registered Designs, Trademarks at 10:00 am by Kilo

It’s not widely known, but even if your product is not technically novel, you can register the design – the look and feel – of the product with a special kind of patent or registered design, depending on which part of the world you live in.

And those design patents give you rights to protect you if someone copies your design. There are many examples of companies defending their rights in court using those designs as the basis – Crocs, for example, have successfully prosecuted cases against 11 other companies copying their designs.

Since this process costs nothing more than a few hundred dollars you can imagine we will be registering the final Jellypods designs (and Jellyshells, a new set of ideas) fairly soon.

Incidentally, the Crocs story is one of those stories that is almost too good to be true: 3 guys on a boat sell 1,000 boat shoes at a boating show and within 3 years sales are north of $100m and they have sold more than 6 million pairs of what some people call the ugliest shoes ever invented. Two years later they have raised $208M in an IPO and have sold 50 million pairs.

We’d be happy with a much, much smaller hit, but we do believe that Jellypods is opening a new category in the luggage market in the way Crocs did in footwear, and Jellypods have that slightly quirky design appeal that makes them a polarizing product – you’ll either love them or hate them.