Crowdfunding and your IP, a case study: Audeara

Crowdfunding is growing in popularity with around $US35 billion raised in 2015.  However, when maintaining the ‘unique’ and ‘new’ integrity of an invention, key rules need to be followed. The main problem with publicly disclosing a new and innovative product on a crowdfunding platform or project is that such a disclosure may jeopardise patent and design rights in the proposed product. Worse still, because the product or invention has been publicly disclosed, it is difficult to protect the intellectual property and others will be free to copy the product or invention.

MBIP has worked with many Brisbane based start-ups including Audeara, that have successfully used crowdfunding to bring their innovations to market. The most important IP related issue with crowdfunding is that many start-ups can damage their IP position by publicising details of their innovative product before filing any patent or design applications. Without the invention meeting the patent requirements of ‘new’ and ‘unique’, it is likely your invention’s status is degraded, this means not talking, demonstrating or publishing (including on social media).

Audeara is an MBIP client that launched their first crowdfunding campaign in March 2017 for the world’s first full fidelity headphones. Audeara filed patent applications for protecting their headphones more than a year before launching their crowdfunding campaign, by contacting MBIP at a very early stage of developing their new headphones. Unlike some other entrepreneurs, who might compromise their intellectual property position by publicly disclosing their product before filing a patent application, Audeara have showed that filing a patent application well ahead of launching their crowdfunding campaign can be a very useful strategy.

As every person hears differently, with your right ear hearing differently to your left, Audeara’s app charts these differences, creating a unique hearing profile, which is programmed into your headphones. This personalised hearing was well received in their initial crowdfunding campaign with 100% of its first goal ($100,000) reached within 16 hours.