The Icehouse is fortunate to work with partners who share our goal of creating a thriving New Zealand economy. Here, legal firm and Icehouse partner James & Wells catch up with Icehouse LDP alumni Hideaway Bins. James & Wells have protected Hideaway Bins' intellectual property since 2010. This article first appeared on the James & Wells website.
Hideaway Bins by Kitchen King has reinvented waste and laundry storage solutions. With unique and valuable ideas to protect, James & Wells has been an integral partner for the business, enabling them to expand their product lines safely and strategically build a sustainable competitive advantage.
Operated by father and daughter team, Allen and Jamie Bertelsen, the New Zealand-owned and operated company specialises in hidden storage solutions for the home be it in the kitchen, bathroom or laundry and for commercial projects such as recycling stations. Discreet, built-in and easy to use, Hideaway Bins has elevated the humble bin into a must-have home appliance.
“When we purchased the company in 2006, we made it our goal to engage with our customers and to understand their pain-points with waste bins and laundry storage” says Jamie. “We then went about resolving these pain points fully with new and innovative products”.
Hideaway Bins run a dedicated R&D department in Auckland, including a full-time product design engineer. 3D digital modelling and rapid prototyping processes are employed to test products and speed up the process to bring products to market quicker. Through continuous product development and innovation, the company has grown a strong local and international reputation and is recognised internationally with industry awards.
Since 2010, James & Wells has helped Hideaway Bins protect their intellectual property (IP) for competitive advantage and growth. Our patent and trade mark specialists assist with IP portfolio management across design, production and marketing.
We have filed patent applications on their behalf, and registered Hideaway Bins’ designs and trade marks across the globe. We have also represented the company in litigation against trade mark revocation proceedings in Australia and provided advice on numerous other IP-related issues of ownership, confidentiality, copying and licensing.
| Prototyping and early IP protection
Because the company develops, tests and evaluates their design concepts in-house, they know the value of applying early for a patent, trade mark or registered design. And they have always recognised that protecting their intellectual property is key to deterring potential competitors from copying a product or process.
“The thing I really enjoy about working with James & Wells is that they manage the different timelines for us, for example we never have to remember when a patent is due for renewal” says Jamie. “Also If we think the innovation we are working on is going to be novel, new and patentable, we engage James & Wells in the design stage to give us confidence and additional direction.”
Some of the patents or pending patents include features in their new Concelo® bin range such as the Active Lid and Clip n’ Clean. The other Hideaway Bin ranges include features such as air venting, door supports or a waste bin lid that remains in the carcass when the bin is opened for use.
“Trade marking particular features may seem daunting, but it’s worth it to us,“ says Jamie. “Our innovations are born out of years of R&D, and we can’t risk competitors copying them.”
| Industry recognition for innovation
Hideaway Bins’ most recent product range is Concelo®, a premium collection of storage solutions for the kitchen and laundry that took seven years to develop and launch to market. At the AWISA 2018 trade exhibition in Sydney, Concelo® was awarded the Gold Star Award for Innovative Technology, the judges praising the collection as “superior to every other waste system on the market”.
Concelo® includes a number of patent-pending innovations that are globally unique and is already filed as a trade mark in numerous countries. “From the start, we knew this was a fantastic product,” says Jamie, “So we sought James & Wells’ advice on patentability while the design was still in development and filed for patent protection early on. Having a globally recognised brand was also imperative, so we worked with James & Wells to research our key markets and create a brand we could trade mark worldwide.”
| Hideaway Bins and James & Wells
Jamie switched to James & Wells in 2010 from another IP firm. “I was a young businesswoman and I felt like James & Wells’ ethos was more aligned with mine. They are modern, and although I was young, they took me seriously. My knowledge of IP has grown a lot since then and, today, I am more confident about addressing infringers and knowing what our rights are.”
As well as providing IP services, James & Wells helps to connect clients with others in the innovation ecosystem – investors, funding providers, business coaches. In 2018, we gifted Jamie a scholarship to participate in The Icehouse’s Leadership Development Programme, which she says “was unbelievable. It pushed me to the next level and opened up a network of people”.
“I have been in a leadership role for many years, but I didn’t have anyone above me to observe, learn from, or run things past in terms of the areas of the business I specialise in,” says Jamie. “I had considered doing the programme in the past, but the timing had never been right. Being offered the scholarship was the clincher”.
“The programme gave me a lot of confidence to manage all areas of the business and helped me make connections that have improved our way of working and taken our company to the next level.”
Allen and Jamie Bertelsen have been working with James & Wells’ patent attorney Jonathan Lucas, supported by trade mark specialist Carrick Robinson and litigation attorney Sebastien Aymeric. Together, they provide speciality knowledge to ensure best practice product IP portfolio management.
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