Aquaponic Gardening

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As aquaponics grows ever-more commercialized, with the additions of kits, how will we keep ourselves from "stealing-peoples-ideas" (the quotation marks refer to the fact that nobody owns aquaponics) .  I'm thinking of selling shelf-ponics, after I do a million other things, but the "inventors" are the people at gardenpool.org. How would I give them credit, or if someone wanted to sell strawberry towers. Should someone simply mention how to build one on their website, and/or simply mention who thought-up the idea? I hope this gets resolved before suing happens, if it's an issue of course. (this emotocon is for fun

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Things that make you say Hmmmm...  GO FOR IT!   I AM.....!

David Waite said:
Just to give a perspective on the potential of aquaponics in sales. Aquascapes is a pond equip supplier I have dealt with for over 10 years. Their gross sales were 32 million in 2006. They have been doing this for about the last 6 years. In my line of work as  a landscape contractor there are 20 to 1 gardens to ponds in my customers back yards. If just 5 percent move to aquaponics and some of the pond customers do the same the sales volume could and probably will be in the hundreds of millions in kits and DIY components. Not to mention fish and plants and the sales could easily reach 8 fiqures or more. I think there will be liscensed aquaponics installers all over the US with in a decade. IF the medical weed growers heha get into this like I think they will this will be even bigger. Add the 3rd component like Chris or Green organics and commercial in general and the sales volume will pass Jaccuzzi sales and Pools. Billions. If I can make a buck doing this I am sure gonna try and not look back. I love to garden but I am not going to put these in for free. Just a thought from a capitalist.
Spoken like a Gentleman and a Scholar-

David Waite said:
Just to give a perspective on the potential of aquaponics in sales. Aquascapes is a pond equip supplier I have dealt with for over 10 years. Their gross sales were 32 million in 2006. They have been doing this for about the last 6 years. In my line of work as  a landscape contractor there are 20 to 1 gardens to ponds in my customers back yards. If just 5 percent move to aquaponics and some of the pond customers do the same the sales volume could and probably will be in the hundreds of millions in kits and DIY components. Not to mention fish and plants and the sales could easily reach 8 fiqures or more. I think there will be liscensed aquaponics installers all over the US with in a decade. IF the medical weed growers heha get into this like I think they will this will be even bigger. Add the 3rd component like Chris or Green organics and commercial in general and the sales volume will pass Jaccuzzi sales and Pools. Billions. If I can make a buck doing this I am sure gonna try and not look back. I love to garden but I am not going to put these in for free. Just a thought from a capitalist.

 

I think we are seeing the first wave of aquaponics sweeping the country and lots of people getting into it that are capable of doing the research and building systems. There are sooo many more people out there that are interested but not willing or able make their own systems. Turn key systems and DIY kits make it easier for the masses to get involved. I do not see any issues in making a few bucks helping others get started. As aquaponics continues to grow I see potential for related businesses like a quality organic fish feed and mass fingerling production as well as selling general aquaponics supplies.

 

David, thanks so much for your thoughts and for seeing the big picture!  I am in complete agreement and think there is no end in sight when it comes to aquaponic applications, whether it be kits, commercial or even aesthetic arrangements that produce food.  We need more progressive and forward thinking like yours!  Kudos! 

 David, I could not agree more I also see aquaponcs being used it interior-scaping in restaurants, bars. retail outlets the potential is endless as long as we keep thinking out of the box.

Yes- I

Earl ward said:

 David, I could not agree more I also see aquaponcs being used it interior-scaping in restaurants, bars. retail outlets the potential is endless as long as we keep thinking out of the box.

Earl havent even considered that but you are right. I could easily see these displays in the center of malls and large corporations that have ties to agriculture or aquaculture. Endless indeed. 

the  David, I could not agree more I also see aquaponcs being used it interior-scaping in restaurants, bars. retail outlets the potential is endless as long as we keep thinking out of the box.

very interesting discussion

patents: been there, done that, burned my nose, fingers and hands

it is not all gold that shines

there are lots of sides to patent law

and all laws have flaws

first (Wikipedia): The word patent originates from the Latin patere, which means "to lay open"

so a patent is meant to be the publication of an invention or idea, intended to allow other people to develop the idea  further, which is a very good thing

second: the patent (if valid) is intended to protect one's investment into developing this idea, which is a very good thing too, as all efforts should be rewarded

consequence of this is: with a patent you divulge your idea, and (if the patent is valid) you are protected

but a patent is not valid by the mere fact that it is granted:

the invention must be proven to be new, non-obvious, and useful or industrially applicable

so to become shot free a patent must be checked worldwide on newness, usefulness and industrial applicability

for this reason every granting is and stays by definition provisory

the procedure is as follows:

in a lot of countries (i.e. Belgium) you can cheaply apply for a national patent and it will be granted without much trouble as long as it corresponds only to the formalities required

this application must contain (amongst other formal requirements) at least the description and the claims

this gives you a priority date on the day you fill in the application. This date is extremely important.

from this day on you can call your invention "patent pending"

this is a good thing, warning people that you (might) have certain rights

it serves as a deterrant AND as proof that any later attempt to patent the same idea will be invalid

the bad side being that even a totally unacceptable claim can carry the "patent pending" label

(say I was to apply for a patent i.e. on the "wheel", chances are that I would be provisorily granted the patent as long as the formalities are fulfilled)

you then have the choice (within a certain period, mostly approximately 1 year, extendable) to leave it at that, to expand the application to other countries, or to ask for a newness investigation (or a combination of these) to consolidate

but this all costs a fortune, believe me

During this time the application is not yet publicised which gives you the possibilty to make adjustments to your claims

but every adjustment might cause the priority date to be postponed so chances increase that in the meantime somebody else has published something on the subject

if the investigation shows your invention to be (first and foremost) new AND non-obvious AND {useful OR industrially applicable}

chances are that your claims will turn out to be solid and the patent will be strong

but even then you have no guarantee:

if at any time, even after granting of the patent, an earlier document shows up, showing your idea, the patent will be declared invalid

and this is not the end of misery:

suppose your claims are rightful and your invention is proven new AND non-obvious AND {useful OR industrially applicable} and the patent is granted and confirmed

then you have a protected invention and the right to sell licenses (finally: the big money, hurray !!!)

but then comes another devil: protection

how are you going to find out that somebody has stolen your intellectual property and when and how much?

you will need a battery of lookouts and an army of lawyers

only to find out that, after a lengthy lawsuit, you cannot skin a pebble ;-(((

my conclusion: patents are for big corporations

that does not mean you should not apply for a patent if you think you have a real invention:

it will impede others to later try and  find patent protection and make big money out of your idea,

you stand a chance of selling your patent to a company that thinks it can defend the rights

you can sell licenses, etc...

from http://www.tms.org/pubs/journals/JOM/matters/matters-0404.html

One who seeks to obtain a benefit from the patent system by knowingly enforcing an invalid patent, however, has lost the shield against antitrust laws and can be found to have engaged in unlawful monopolization. Also, one who employs a patent as a vehicle for compelling others to purchase an unpatented product may be found to have engaged in unlawful “ tying” by enforcing or threatening to enforce the patent for purposes of controlling commerce in an unpatented product.

 

now what else can you do if you have a splendid idea or product?

apply for a patent

you can share your idea (like so many have done) for non commercial purposes in grateful exchange for all the ideas you yourself have been able to get for free

share it for free or against a small fee or donation

another way is to try and keep it secret as long as possible

find a balance between vague but intriguing and alluring information which you then use to try and sell the idea

keep in mind that it is probably easier to sell an idea (plans, blueprints, calculations) many times for a small fee than one time for big money

is it a marketable product? then find an original appropriate trademark and logo (these are more easy and cheap to protect)

aim either for high quality finishing or for low selling price (i.e. a kit) or for both. Deposit your models to protect them.

spend your time in making a name for yourself instead of worrying about competition: you can not be everywhere

just try to stay a step ahead of them by constantly improving your product

you will find that competition actually will increase demand

Frank

 

 

Lots of experience talking there Frank?

 

I have walked down a similar path, and while I may have been the "negative" one in this discussion, much of what you say here boils down to my own thoughts and experience.  I will add one thing:

IF you have a good idea, and you have not told anyone about it, you wil have to spend a HUGE amount of money protecting the idea long before you know anything about the commercial applicability of the product and how much, if any, you will make with it.  Apart from the provisionary patent filing, if you need components developed for a prototype, you have to make everyone in the process sign a Non-disclosure agreement.  To make your design less likely to be copied, some people advise that you make it "fancy", needing a lot of tooling developed to manufacture it.  8 Years ago I developed an aquaculture product that is the size of a diningroom table. The rough prototype is standing in my garage as the "fancy" design will cost millions to develop the tooling for. 

 

Now you have filed the patent, developed the tooling, made the prototype, filed for more advanced patent protection, done the world-wide patent searches..................... and you have not made one cent.  This is where you are at your most vulnerable - you hold a patent, are about broke, do not have a buyer or a licensed manufacturer, and someone walks of and copies what you have done because you are showing it to potential investors.

 

The bottom line is patents are like warfare.  You do not own one if you are not in the mood, and capable, of going into a battle!  In aquaponics, where around 80% of people practicing it will be backyard tinkerers, things are simple and logical, I do not see a future for patents for 99% of what is done today.

exactly, Kobus

the basic patent application is a simple and cheap procedure and provides at least temporary protection

so is protection of models, trademark and logo cheap, simple and easy (but most probably stronger)

just go for these, then relax, just try to do some honest business, build up a reputation and don't worry too much about competition: sooner or later they will inevitably be there, and especially now with the Internet, it will be sooner

spending time and resources into battling the potential competition will only drive you further away from your ultimate goal: making money

that is how far I would advise any one to go unless you wish to ambitiously conquer the world AND are prepared to invest a fortune (AND have a fortune available)

this is the road I would and will choose from now on

Frank

 

Great perspective Frank!  Interestingly, I just noticed in Nelson and Pade's newsletter where they announced their newest system that it said Patent Pending.  I wonder if this will be the first in the industry. 
Perhaps it has some patentable components.  Nate's Zipgrow towers are pat pend

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