How IP and perseverance created a better baby bottle teat
14 November 2016
14 November 2016
Developing a new product to disrupt a 100-year-old market takes time, persistence and confidence that the intellectual property behind your innovation is protected.
Julia Wilson had all three when she developed a new, multi-award winning baby bottle teat called Minbie.
The Minbie’s unique design protects a baby’s instinctive breastfeeding technique. It also supports them to breastfeed properly and gives breastfeeding mothers the confidence to introduce a bottle without fear of the bottle taking over.
“The concept for the Minbie came from my observations of the problems with generic baby bottle teats,” Julia says.
“Since generic rubber bottle-teats entered the market 100 years ago, the percentage of breastfeeding mothers dramatically decreased. It wasn’t that the mothers were being lazy because bottles are more work than breastfeeding. As a designer I observed that the functionality of generic teats was working against breastfeeding.”
There is the depth of experience at Griffith Hack that is invaluable. When submitting a patent it is not something to do lightly, it needs to be right or it's not worth doing - Julia Wilson
After years of design and research and development, as well as expert input from top Australian industrial designers, the generosity of manufacturers who produced the prototypes at cost and mums who tested the teat, the Minbie entered the market.
When Julia first thought she had a product that could make a difference, she came to Griffith Hack in 2002 on the advice of a friend to secure design and standard patents.
“There is the depth of experience at Griffith Hack that is invaluable. I know that with Griffith Hack there is a complete understanding of the body of IP we have built since 2002. When submitting a patent it is not something to do lightly, it needs to be right or it’s not worth doing,” she says.
Julia’s determination to solve a serious problem with babies and in particular newborns meant she never gave up during the evolution of her design and the obstacles faced during prosecution of her patent applications, Griffith Hack Principal Nadia Odorico says.
“In a crowded field of baby teats, we were able to identify what was the key feature of Julia’s invention that made it so special and protect that feature. The result is Julia now has a formidable patent and design portfolio that lends clout to her already successful product,” Nadia says.
Julia says the IP is inseparable from Minbie and her business.
“Having confidence in the IP is very important because it is a pillar behind the business. It takes time to build understanding in the market of a breakthrough product, and the IP helps to give us the confidence to make big decisions in manufacturing, distribution and marketing.”