This week, Dragons’ Den began with an invention and a riddle that Dick Van Dyke would have been proud of.
“What goes up a chimney down but won’t go down a chimney up?” asked our first entrepreneur and inventor Simon Wild. The answer of course is an umbrella!
Proceeding to pitch his business idea to the pack of fire-breathing dragons, Simon was looking to secure a 50k investment for a 15% stake in his business Chimella.
A clever play on words, the Chimella is shaped like an umbrella and is inserted into a chimney to block off the flue. This then blocks off any drafts, making the home more energy efficient as well as preventing any debris or animals from entering the fireplace.
With a granted patent and his cheery chimney-sweep persona, Simon was hoping for a clean sweep with the Dragons. However, as the Dragons began their questioning, it looked as if Simon’s investment dreams were going up in smoke.
Branding and trade marks
Before long, each of the Dragons opted out of a deal, leaving only Touker Suleyman as a prospective investor. He excitedly exclaimed:
"Love the brand, love the packaging, love the product."
But what exactly is a brand?
Many people refer to their trade mark as their brand, although a brand is more than just a company logo. A brand is a ‘promise of an experience’ and offers consumers assurance about the nature of the product or service they will receive.
However, having a trade mark is a vital factor to building a brand. The marketplace can be crowded and it can be difficult to distinguish your business from your competitors. A trade mark is an efficient, commercial tool to capture customer attention and make your business, products and services stand out.
Business tip 1: Registration at Companies House gives you no rights to prevent others using your trade mark - neither does owning the domain name for your website.
A trade mark can be a word, phrase or logo, shape, colour, sound, aspect of packaging or any combination of these. Once you have registered your trade mark, you will be able to take legal action against anyone who uses your brand without your permission. You can also use the ® symbol on your product (as Simon has done) to show that it is yours and discourage others from using it.
To learn more about building a brand, watch our video with Laura Tenison, founder and Managing Director of JoJo Maman Bébé:
"Everything is possible, even the impossible"
Unfortunately, even with Simon’s eye-catching concept, Touker didn’t think the market was big enough for him to invest.
However, Simon’s visions for his business weren’t completely swept under the carpet. Sara Davies reassured Simon that if he really believed in his product he should take the dragon by the horns and pursue his dreams.
We wish Simon and all of tonight’s entrepreneurs every success in the future!
If you are thinking about the intellectual property in your business, visit the IP for business section of our website for helpful guidance and learning tools.