Dragons' Den Idea 'WAS COPY'

23 March 2010

WHEN TV Dragons’ Den contestant Andrew Harsley won over the judges with his new invention, it seemed his fortune was assured.

Within weeks he had secured a £36million deal to manufacture his reusable Rapstrap plastic bands which can secure a host of household items from bin bags to electrical cables.

Dragons’ James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne even invested £150,000 in his firm, taking a 50 per cent stake. But last night his dream looked in danger of becoming a nightmare.

Officials from the Patent Office ruled that his device was too similar to one produced by another firm - which Mr Harsley, 35, had helped to found.

Experts compared his bands with Millepede’s similar Quickstrip ties, developed over a decade ago. The two items were too alike they decided and Mr Harsley’s invention breached his competitor’s patent.

Millepede’s bosses are now considering whether to launch legal action against Mr Harsley and his firm.

If they challenge Mr Harsley in the courts it could spell the end for his business venture.

He co-developed Millepede’s cable tie when he helped found the company in the late 1990s.

Managing director John Butterworth said he had been stunned when he had seen Mr Harsley’s design on Dragons’ Den. He said: “Our view is that the Rapstrap is no different to the standard patent we hold.”

Extract from Scottish Sunday Express
Website: http://www.scottishsundayexpress.co.uk
Link: http://www.scottishsundayexpress.co.uk./printer/view/88882/

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