Red flags, royalties and patents: My journey as an inventor

Back in 2017, I had this one simple idea for a new microfibre pool broom.

As a pool owner and consumer, I saw the benefit of my brand solving a common problem. The microfibre pool broom was specifically designed for smooth surfaced pools but also useful in cleaning glass fences, windows and pool covers.

I found myself overwhelmed in a world of inventing and patents and to be perfectly honest I was having so much fun learning about something new and unfamiliar to me and I didn’t know what was to come. I had no experience nor knowledge about patents, it was a pleasant change from my daily routine as a mum and small business owner and I embraced this new challenge with confidence.

I recall having a family discussion in relation to the many patent attorneys I spoke with quoting tens of thousands of dollars for protecting an idea. The decision was we wouldn’t gamble that amount of money on one simple idea! So, was this it? Was I giving up on Aqua Fingers®? Absolutely not! I had to take a different approach. I discovered IP Australia and I filed my own provisional patent application for $110.

 

Red flags, royalties and patents

Family involvement was important deciding the future of Aqua Fingers®. Do we manufacture or do we license? It was definitely an interesting topic of conversation, especially after watching a few episodes of Shark Tank and seeing the huge cost risks involved in manufacturing a new brand and bringing it to market. It seemed like a million-dollar idea, but we opted to license and get paid a royalty.

Aqua Fingers

When you file a patent application this takes months to go through the process but on the recommendation of my patent attorney, I requested my application be expedited so it could be examined by IP Australia. Months later we received correspondence with the examiner’s report, it wasn’t positive and let’s face it they just don’t give out patents to anyone. Unfortunately, in my case my patent attorney sided with the examiner and stated he highly recommended I abandon the idea and not pursue any type of patent. This was a red flag and I lost trust in my attorney.

My family was very supportive, and I felt like I had failed them but giving up is not in my nature. I went into to damage control and began to rectify a negative into a positive. I really didn’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I had visions of Aqua Fingers® being launched to market in retail stores around the world and let’s not forget the money we would make in royalties.

A new attorney was appointed and we were successful in achieving a granted patent. I had a few obstacles that changed the outcome of Aqua Fingers® and looking back they were put there for a better purpose. Licensing my brand to Waterco Ltd gives them the exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute Aqua Fingers® within Australia and globally.

 

Backed by a family-owned global brand

Working with Waterco’s R&D team allowed us to design a quality brand that is engineered for service professionals and pool owners. The flexible head easily dislodges particles from tight areas, and this has been a winning factor for Aqua Fingers® and is a point of difference from traditional nylon pool brooms that have been in circulation for 80 years.

The future is bright and the collaboration with Waterco was a group effort for all involved. Setting myself this seemingly enormous challenge was significant, but I am living proof that hard work, persistence, passion and believing in yourself pays off.

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