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Dragons' Den Series 17: Episode 13

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Patents, Trade marks

There were many interesting products and ideas in the Den tonight, although some were successful in securing investment and others were not. However, as someone who likes to exercise and eat healthily, I was particularly drawn to 25 year old Evie Waxman and her raw vegan treats.

Evie entered the Den looking to secure a 50k investment in return for 10% of her business Raw Bake Station. She was hoping to tempt the Dragons with her range of raw sweet treats, free from gluten, dairy, wheat and refined sugar.

Evie giving samples of her products to the Dragons

Common misconceptions

As a Business Engagement Manager at the IPO I spend much of my time talking to businesses about their IP. One of the many common questions we get asked is whether you can protect a business of this nature?

Many people think that you can protect an idea, such as Evie’s food business. However, an idea alone does not count as intellectual property (IP). It is what is created from the idea - an invention, a story, an artistic work and so on - that can be protected.

Another belief is that you can protect a list of ingredients (used to create your product) with IP, which is not the case. However, many successful food and drink businesses protect their tasty creations using trade secrets, which require no application, are completely free and have no expiry date.

Although a trade secret can be a very effective form of protection, if the secret leaks out, it could be disastrous for the business. To prevent this from happening you would use non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to legally bind third parties from disclosing your ideas.

Business tip 1: The best way to keep something confidential is not to disclose it in the first place. If you do need to share information you should use a non-disclosure agreement, also known as a confidentiality agreement.

To learn more about trade secrets and how they are being used by a successful business, check out our mouth-watering case study with Bubblewrap Waffle.

Evie pitching to the Dragons with her sweet treats in the background

Although I said earlier that a list of ingredients couldn’t be protected, you may still be able to protect what you do with those ingredients. For example, Deborah Meaden was particularly fond of Evie’s cookies and noted that “It’s very hard to get crunch on a raw bake”.

Let’s say Evie had thought up a new and inventive process for putting said ingredients together, or invented a unique type of ingredient. She may be able to protect a creation of this sort with a patent.

It’s worth noting however that patents have to meet a very strict criteria. Your chances of obtaining a useful patent are much greater if you use a patent attorney. They will use their specialist skills to draft the application properly. The Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) can help you locate an attorney in your area.

Is a trade mark for you?

A more obvious route for Evie to protect her business would be with a trade mark and I can see that she has registered the name Raw Bake Station. Evie spoke passionately about her brand and as discussed in last week’s blog, a trade mark can be a vital component in building a brand.

If you decide to register your brand with a trade mark there are a number of things you need to consider. Most importantly your trade mark cannot:

  • be descriptive of your goods and services. For example, you could not use the word ‘coffee’ for a business that makes coffee
  • already exist elsewhere
  • use offensive or laudatory language such as ‘the best’
  • be misleading – you couldn’t say your coffee was organic if it wasn’t

To learn more about trade marks and the different criteria for applying, check out our free interactive, e-learning tool IP Equip and test your knowledge.

A close up of Evie listening to the Dragons

Unfortunately for Evie, her vegan delights weren’t enough to sweeten the Dragons and she left the Den along with her snacks…feeling a little raw.

Did you know the IPO have range of IP podcasts, including one on our frequently asked IP questions? Check us out on Soundcloud or Apple podcasts.

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  1. Comment by GRAHAM CHRISTOPHER TOMLINSON posted on

    If I were Paul I would be very frustrated by the lack of any kind of indication that the blogger Paula appreciates that the BBC appear to have erased episode 12 of series 17 without a trace or any explanation. Paul has twice clearly indicated the bizarre disappearance of this episode and Paula has now twice completely ignored the issue. Even if the answer is unknown to Paula, it seems strange to me that the matter is not even acknowledged, as surely this is a very unusual and curious occurrence? I have been trying to find out the answer myself, and Paul seems to be the only other person who is as mystified as myself, which is also puzzling to me. Has nobody else noticed?


      Comment by Rebecca Trussell posted on

      Thank you for getting in touch Graham.

      The purpose of our IP Den blog is to discuss the intellectual property issues raised in the pitches and provide IP advice and top tips to readers, not to comment on programming decisions.


      • Replies to Rebecca Trussell>

        Comment by Graham Christopher Tomlinson posted on

        Dear Becks, thank you for such a swift & helpful reply. I totally understand of course, and it would perhaps be best if Paul abs myself contact the BBC for answers. If Paula had indicated to Paul that which you have to me then be assured I would not have contacted you. Thank you. My sincere best wishes, Graham

  2. Comment by Paul Hailey posted on

    Thanks - I know it was aired on 29th March, but you have headed it as episode 12 when it isn't. Episode 12 was advertised in Radio Times as including a pitch on a virus filter and it was scheduled for 29th March. Instead episode 13, i.e. the one you have reviewed, was shown on 29th March, and episode 12 has disappeared off the face of the earth. It's not on iPlayer, it's been removed from the BBC listings, there's no record of it anywhere, except in Radio Times. Probably not of concern to you but it struck me as very odd (and your heading is incorrect).

    • Replies to Paul Hailey>

      Comment by Paula Davy posted on

      Hi Paul

      Thanks for your comment. We have amended the episode titles to reflect this change.


  3. Comment by Paul H posted on

    You are talking about episode 13, not episode 12.

    Episode 12 had a pitch on virus filtering and this episode seems to have disappeared and is no longer shown in the BBC list of episodes!

    • Replies to Paul H>

      Comment by Paula Davy posted on

      Hi Paul

      Thanks for your feedback and I hope you are enjoying our blog. I can confirm that the episode that we have blogged about was the one that aired on Sunday 29 March.



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