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Cable tue --Dragons' Den winner infringed own patent, IPO rules


A man whose invention caught the attention of millions of television viewers may have infringed a patent he applied for himself ten years ago. A contestant on the Dragons' Den TV programme may have to defend his invention from legal action.
Andrew Harsley appeared on the programme and convinced two of its panellists, Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan, to invest £150,000 in the Rapstrap, a plastic cable tie.
But the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has said that the invention is already partially covered by a patent owned by a company Harsley helped to found. He has since left the firm.
Millepede's patent for the reusable plastic strip lists Harsley as the inventor. Harsley has said that he has since been awarded patents in China and Mexico for his own Rapstrap product.
Harsley left Millepede to set up Rapstrap, but his name is on Millepede's patent for its strips, which was granted in 1999.
Millepede asked the IPO to conduct a full technical review of Harsley's Rapstrap to see if it infringed its patent. The IPO found that the strip did possess characteristics covered by Millepede's patent.
"The Rapstrap cable tie falls within the scope of claims 1 and 5 of the patent," said examiner Steven Morgan.
"I was amazed when Harsley, who had previously founded the Millepede company, forgot to mention Millepede’s existence on the programme," said John Butterworth, managing director of Millepede. "Then afterwards all the parties showed a lack of interest in talking to Millepede about our prior patent. I hope this official review will now change that situation.”
The review is just an opinion and does not grant Millepede any new rights. If it wants to stop Harsley from selling his strips or force him to pay licence fees it will have to do so through the courts.
David Fry of law firm Agile, which advised Harsley, told The Scotsman newspaper: "The opinion will have no bearing whatsoever on an infringement action in front of a court because they will firstly address the issue of validity."
Harsley had won a £35m contract for up to a billion units of his cable ties and the invention was touted as one of the success stories of entrepreneurial challenge programme Dragons' Den.
Millepede sells a variety of ties and rods for securing bags, plants or cables, including Mille-Ties, anchors and cable rings.

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Partex new Cable Ties are stainless


For the most demanding applications in industries such as marine engineering, petrochemical production and food manufacture, Partex Marking Systems are now offering one of the UKs' widest ranges of high-performance stainless-steel cable ties.
Stocked in depth to ensure fast deliveries, the range includes coated and uncoated ties in roller-ball, ladder and releasable versions. Roller-ball types are UL listed, and carry Det Norske Veritas approval, making them an ideal choice for shipboard and other marine applications.
Also available from Partex are automatic tensioning and cutting tools that significantly speed the application of stainless ties, as well as ensuring a neat finished appearance.
All stainless-steel ties from Partex are manufactured from high-grade 316 stainless steel, which provides superior corrosion resistance, especially in marine environments, as well as enhanced high temperature performance.
Roller-ball ties are offered in sizes from 150 x 4.6 mm to 680 x 7.9 mm, either uncoated or with a black pure polyester coating. The ties have a smooth internal finish, making them compatible with all types of cable insulation. Roller-ball ties with a red polyester coating can also be supplied in a limited range of sizes.
Stainless-steel ladder-type cable ties from Partex are available in black polyester coated or uncoated in sizes from 200 x 7 mm to 450 x 7 mm, while the company’s releasable stainless ties cover the range 150 x 6.35 mm to 457 x 9.53 mm. Coated releasable ties are offered with either pure polyester or PPA (polymer performance alloy) coatings. PPA is a non-toxic, halogen-free low-smoke material.
In addition to it’s huge standard range, all the Partex Stainless Steels Tie Ranges can be produced in additional sizes and different coatings.
The Partex SSG stainless-steel cable tie tensioning tool can be used with all of the company’s roller-ball ties, including coated types. It correctly tensions the tie, and automatically cuts off its tail when the correct tension has been achieved. For higher volume applications, Partex offers the heavy-duty two-stage manual tensioning tool, which is also compatible with the company’s full range of roller-ball ties.

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