Entrepreneur receives £150 000 investment - but product proves a major infringement

The Rapstrap reusable tie strip which was featured on the BBC’s Dragons Den infringes Millepede’s patent, according to the UK Intellectual Property Office.

At the request of Millepede, the UK Intellectual Property Office undertook a full technical review of the Rapstrap product invented by Andrew Harsley, an ex-employee of Millepede, and concluded that it infringes the firm’s granted patent.

Upon pitching the tie on the popular TV show, Harsley received a £150 000 investment by Dragons James Caan and Duncan Bannatyne.

The Rapstrap has received major publicity in the UK as the most successful Dragons Den product in the history of the program by securing a £36m order from a major distributor. The reusable polyurethane band can tie up cables, bin bags and plants.

John Butterworth, Millepede’s managing director, said: “I was amazed when Harsley, who had previously founded the Millepede company, forgot to mention Millepede’s existence on the program. 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.”