HyConn on Shark Tank – Do you have a patent?
In season 2 episode 7 of Shark Tank, inventor Jeff Stroope pitched his quick-connecting hose technology to the Sharks. Mr. Stroope conceived of the quick-connector while working as a fireman. His experience connecting hoses to fire hydrants taught him that the process was both time and labor intensive. Accordingly, he worked to “come up with a solution” to this problem. Mr. Stroope spent several years developing it. Now, the technology serves the basis for Mr. his company, HyConn LLC.
HyConn provides a faster way to connect hoses
According to Mr. Stroope, the HyConn technology is new and completely different from existing technology. He notes that there is “nothing out there like it.” These words indicate that HyConn’s technology includes patentable technology.
To be patentable, an invention must be new and not obvious. See Graham. Mr. Stroope’s description of the HyConn technology indicates that it meets these criteria. Notably, he describes the HyConn technology as better than existing products, promising to”…revolutionize the way you provide water to the fire scene.” (If it were “obvious,” one would imagine that the technology would already be on the market, given these benefits).
HyConn’s Critical Patent Moment
The pivotal moment in the episode came when Mr. Stroope was asked this question: “Do you have a patent on that?” See embedded video below. After Mr. Stroope says that he does have a patent, the tone of the negotiations shift heavily in his favor. See 6m 35s into the episode below.
After Mr. Stroope discloses that he does have a patent, the Sharks begin competing to make a deal with him. Because Mr. Stroope had protected his invention, the Sharks were able to discus a variety of licensing deals and other opportunities for monetizing the invention. If Mr. Stroope had not claimed his invention, the negotiation very likely would have turned to questions of how the Sharks could simply cut him out of the loop, manufacturing the device by themselves.
For those interested in Mr. Stroope’s patent application, here is a link to the application on Google Patents: US 20100244435 A1.