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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Host (J.D. Houvener): I’m J.D. Houvener, host of the Bold Inventor Show, where we help inventors with education, answer questions, and share stories. With me today is my co-host Matt, and we’re excited to have a special guest on the show. His name is Kevin, but he goes by Pro Kevin. Pro, welcome to the show!

Pro Kevin: Hey guys, how you doing?

JD: Doing great! Happy to have you here. Where are you based, Pro?

Pro Kevin: I’m based in Denver. I was born here and I’m currently designing here as well.

JD: Awesome! It’s great to have a fellow Denver native. We’re excited to hear your story. You’re one of the few inventors we’ve had on the show who isn’t a client of ours, so this will be fun. Let’s dive into your journey with OCTA. For those who don’t know, Kevin is the owner and founder of OCTA. Can you share how you got started, where you’ve been, and what you’re up to now?

Pro Kevin: Absolutely. I have a background in graphic design and a love for all things creative, from industrial design to multimedia arts. I started designing jewelry in 2007, working with silversmiths in Indonesia and Bali. That experience taught me a lot about the design cycle, from sketching ideas to working with artisans to bring them to life.

Pro Kevin: When the iPad was about to come out, I saw the potential for cool accessories to enhance its usability. My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, and I founded OCTA in 2010. We went from having no experience in large-scale manufacturing to building a supply chain and shipping worldwide. Our journey involved a lot of trial and error, especially with patents.

Matt: That’s an incredible journey. Looking at your website, you’ve got some really cool products like the Spider Monkey. Can you tell us more about that?

Pro Kevin: Sure! The Spider Monkey is one of our most popular products. It’s designed to hold your iPad hands-free, perfect for reading in bed or clamping to your easel for reference while painting. The flexibility and strength of the Spider Monkey make it versatile and easy to use in various settings.

JD: That’s fantastic. I can see how useful that would be. Let’s talk about patents. Did you initially file for patents before going to market, or did you see success first and then seek protection?

Pro Kevin: We filed for a lot of patents early on, working with IP and trademark attorneys here in Denver. Initially, we focused on utility patents, thinking we needed to protect every aspect of our designs. In hindsight, some design patents might have been sufficient, especially in the early stages when product iterations are frequent. It’s easy to get caught up in the fear of being ripped off, but it’s also important to be practical.

JD: You bring up a good point about the balance between protection and practicality. Did you experience any infringement issues, and how did you handle them?

Pro Kevin: Yes, we’ve had to deal with infringement. We’ve sent out cease and desist letters with some success. It’s challenging because enforcing patents requires resources. As a startup, we often have to choose between defending our patents and focusing on new product development. It’s a delicate balance. For us, patents have been more about defense, especially in case of acquisition or import issues, rather than aggressively pursuing infringers.

Matt: That makes sense. It’s important for inventors to understand the realities of patent enforcement. Any advice for fellow inventors navigating this journey?

Pro Kevin: Definitely. Be mindful of where you allocate your resources. Patents can be valuable, but they shouldn’t hinder your ability to innovate and bring new products to market. Focus on what will drive your business forward, and seek professional advice to make informed decisions.

JD: Great advice, Pro. Thanks for sharing your insights and journey with us today. It’s been a pleasure having you on the show.

Pro Kevin: Thank you! It’s been great talking with you both.


JD: Thanks for tuning into the Bold Inventor Show. We hope you found today’s episode inspiring and informative. If you have any questions or need help with your inventions, feel free to reach out. See you next time!

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at https://boldip.com/contact/