The SnapIt Screw – Lessons Learned from Intellectual Property Theft

The Snapit Screw Kit

Nancy Tedeschi is the inventor of the SnapIt® Screw, a specialty screw that makes eyeglass repair easy and painless. Nancy was originally inspired to create the screw after her mother broke her glasses while on vacation in Nicaragua. Thinking on her feet, Nancy’s mother fashioned a makeshift repair by inserting an earring stud through the screw hole on the side of her eyeglass frame. Soon after that, people began to ask Nancy’s mother where she had gotten the “charm” attached to her eyeglass frame. At the time, Nancy operated a title insurance company in upstate New York.

Having always been an entrepreneur, Nancy was intrigued by the prospect of creating a new fashion accessory. She initially started working on a line of eyeglass charms. She found that the process of inserting a tiny screw through an eyeglass frame was too cumbersome, taking as long as twenty-five minutes. She realized the need for an apparatus to make the job easier. The SnapIt Screw was born, featuring a long “feeder tab” on the end of a screw with a narrow neck, making it easy to snap off the tab after inserting the screw into the eyeglass frame. After performing a thorough search of the market and existing patents, Nancy found no similar products.

The SnapIt Screw first went into production in 2009. “Mass production was not an issue at all,” Nancy says. “I hired a mechanical engineer, and I took the drawing to a screw maker in Rochester.” She placed a small advertisement in a magazine focused on the optical market. “I remember getting a call from an optometrist,” Nancy recalls with a chuckle. “He was really mad, because he had personally fixed over a million pairs of eyeglasses by hand. He wished he’d had something so simple to work with!” That first phone call led to a strategic partnership. The optometrist introduced Nancy to a distributor on Long Island, who eventually bought the product distribution rights for opticians’ offices.

Even though Nancy had filed twenty-five patents internationally, she came to discover that the patents had been violated by several manufacturers. She made her first discovery of a patent violation in China, when she attended a trade show and saw an identical product being sold there. “People in this industry are thieves,” says Nancy. “They all knew that I had patents. It’s remarkable what you learn by going through this process, especially on an international level. I originally filed patents in the U.S. and Europe, but if I had it to do all over again, I would have focused my resources on enforcing my patents in China, because that’s where all the manufacturing is done. I also would have hired an in-house IP attorney from the start.” She currently has a lawsuit pending against one Chinese manufacturer and plans to file several more.

Nancy recommends working with a mentor and performing thorough due diligence on any potential distribution partners. “Make sure you go to somebody who’s done it before. People should be very skeptical about signing any kind of exclusive distribution agreement. Someone might offer to take a product into major retailers for a 10% commission. That sounds fine on the surface, but what people don’t realize is that the same salesperson might have fifty or more products that they are trying to sell at the same time. Most business owners are better off approaching retailers directly. If you do sign an exclusive agreement, it should be limited in scope to specific retailers and should be contingent on performance. Time is money, especially when you’re dealing with a patent; working with the wrong distribution partner can kill an invention.”

Inventors bringing a new product to the market should be prepared for the eventuality of infringement, Nancy says. “Patents are only as good as your ability and willingness to defend them,” she remarks. “If you have a great product, competitors are going to come after you. If you can’t defend it, don’t waste your time or your money.”

Author; Dave Baldwin of Baldwin Mangement Consultants

To learn more about the SnapIt Screw, visit SnapItScrew.com.

When purchasing either the SnapIt Consumer Repair Kit or the SnapIt for Optical Professionals we want you want to feel confident that you’re buying the genuine article. Counterfeit products can’t emulate our innovative screw, so we want to ensure that you aren’t disappointed by an imitation screw masquerading as a SnapIt.

We are the proud owners of 15 patents and several trademarks across the world. Our SnapIt is also widely protected by design registrations and we vigorously protect our rights wherever they are infringed. We are constantly monitoring known counterfeiters and have a strong team of both internal and external brand protection and legal advisors.

Please also bear in mind the following when purchasing products which claim to be the real deal:

  • Any item priced well below our RRP should be treated with suspicion
  • There will be no spelling mistakes or grammatical errors on our packaging
  • Our products are only available directly from ourselves or via approved distributors or re-sellers.
  • If would like to query a counterfeit product please contact us HERE.

United States Patent #: 8070403, 8375546, 8556556, 8997327, 9493972
Canada Patent #: 2695751
China Patent #: 2L2008 80102133.2
Philippines Patent #: 1/2010/500274, 1-2010- 500385
Australia Patent #: 2008283850, 2011101044
Russia Patent #: 2493446
South Africa Patent #: 2010/03664
EPO Patent #: EP08782656
Hong Kong #: HK1147791

Notice of Allowance:
Japan

Patents Pending:
Brazil
Korea
India

 


Source: AVA Feed



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