HEXA-PLEX PUZZLES: The next generation of puzzlesPosted on
Tom Smith invented a new type of puzzle born from his passion for motorsport. After applying for intellectual property protection for the innovation, he created a company and a brand – WOTCH Creations Limited and HEXA-PLEX® puzzles. The company now has a series of products in the pipeline, with its first product launching this week.
Patent attorney, Carole Drury, first met Tom Smith in 2018 at a pro bono IP clinic at the Library of Birmingham. The IP clinic gives individuals and businesses an opportunity to talk to a patent attorney or a trade mark attorney about any intellectual property issues (for more information contact BusinessandLearning@birmingham.gov.uk).
Tom was (and still is) a big fan of motor sport and MotoGP™ in particular. He had devised a puzzle based on a motorcycle helmet and made his own prototype at home. He could see the commercial potential of the product and wanted to protect it before approaching investors or marketing it.
The finished puzzle appears similar to a real motorcycle helmet, but it is assembled in an entirely new way. When exploring potential IP rights, the most similar puzzle that Carole could find was a three dimensional jig-saw, such as a globe. Tom’s product utilised special hexagonal pieces that have a novel fastening mechanism and which do not interlock with each other. This means that they are interchangeable, making the puzzle challenging and very satisfying to complete.
Carole recommended a patent application because the puzzle was new and non-obvious, and then worked with Tom to define the invention. Once the initial UK patent application was filed, Tom formed the company (WOTCH Creations Limited), and was able to secure funding for development.
Nicholas Braddon, patent and design partner, advised WOTCH Creations regarding filing registered community designs, adding further protection of valuable IP.
The company now has a series of products in the pipeline, which are protected by an IP portfolio that includes patent applications, design registrations and trade marks.
The company’s first product is launching this week! HEXA-PLEX ® has teamed up with the iconic SmileyWorld brand to produce Smiley Collectable Halves.
Tom comments: “Working with Carole Drury has been an absolute pleasure. Our meetings at Birmingham Library and Barker Brettell’s offices seem like a lifetime ago – what a journey it’s been so far! Securing the right IP protection has enabled me to build my brand and take my product to market.”
Carole comments: “It has been wonderful to see the business develop, from one (pretty zany) prototype, to a company with a range of commercial products and a defined brand. I am excited to see what Tom comes up with next!”