Alex Smilansky, co-founder of start-up Mayku and a Spark
finalist, discusses how the sharing of ideas is what will make his
business. He shares his alternative approach; creating momentum and
building a community to embrace his product.
Dan Smith: Hi, I am Dan Smith, a Director in
the Intellectual Property Team at Gowling WLG, and today I am
joined by Alex Smilansky, co-founder of Mayku, a start-up supported
by the Design Council.
So, Alex, how important is intellectual property to Mayku's
Alex Smilansky: It's really important. We
make machines, of course, but really the value in Mayku is not in
our machines, it is in the things that people create with them, and
so more than a machines business, we are starting a community of
makers, and as that grows, the strength in that becomes less in the
defence-ability of our patent and more in the size of our
community. So the things that people are creating, the videos
they're making, the tutorial we're sharing with them
– that's where value in Mayku is, and intellectual
property in the traditional sense of a patent is less at the core
of our strategy.
Dan: So in a sense you are opening it up to the
crowd and you'd even value your competitors' competing
machines getting involved?
Alex: Yes, so the more the maker movement has
tools, the more things that can be created, and the more things
that are created, the more people start creating things. So we
really want to encourage competition on the machine side, because
the value in our business is really in the community.
Dan: Yes. That's really interesting.
What advice would you give to another start-up, say, about
protecting intellectual property?
Alex: Absolutely. So I think when you are
really small, obviously you don't have an immense amount of
resources and so what you really need is to grow and you need to do
that, these days, more than creating a wall around your company,
you need to kind of live in public, and you need to start a
movement, more than locking down a technology, so I think advice to
another start-up would be to share everything that you are doing
and open up your process and let people in, and by letting them in,
you create a much more powerful company that can behave as though
it's a lot larger than it really is.
Dan: Thanks, Alex – that's a really
Alex: Oh, thanks.
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1.The trade mark shall not entitle the proprietor to prohibit its use in relation to goods which have been put on the market in the Community under that trade mark by the proprietor or with his consent.
The UK government has not yet invoked Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union (this is likely to happen by the end of March), and the UK's actual exit from the European Union is at least two years away.
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