We chilled with Jack while he discussed how Intellectual Property laws have helped his business, Jack Frost Industries, grow.
1. You have a most interesting business, providing the world with snow and winter storms, can you tell us a little bit about it?
Absolutely! Jack Frost Industries has developed many solutions for our #1 contractor, Mother Nature Inc. For instance, our snowflake creator. The Flaker 1000 is our newest design, providing more snowflakes per second than any other previous model with the same advantage of no two ever being exactly alike.
2. How do you do that?
Over the years, many people have asked me that question but that is officially a Trade Secret. I obtained “Trade Secret” protection for both my snow and the snowflake formula I use after the ski mountains started making artificial snow. Now, although I am sure avid skiers are appreciative of the opportunity to ski during low production period for Jack Frost Industries, even they will tell you – nothing beats the original.
3. You and Mother Nature have been partners for years, does she know your secrets?
Mother Nature has been in the weather biz longer than me, but not even she knows everything! It was her idea however to get a copyright on every snowflake design. She was also on the design team for the original “Big Drip” ( our icicle creator) and the “North Wind” (our winter storm delivery system).
4. How did you learn what you needed for Intellectual Property protection?
Well, unfortunately, some of it was the hard way. We have had our bumps along the way. There was some tricky negotiating with the invention of the ski resorts snow guns. My best advice is to make sure you have a good patent attorney. Look at the Rudolph situation. Many folks think that the song, “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer” falls under the label of Public Domain, I mean we all grew up singing it, right? In fact, The Rudolph Company, LP., was very smart and holds licenses to the copyright and trademark rights for the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer song to this day. As a matter of fact, -- about 100 times over. Each copyright is distinct to a particular item -- a poem, coloring book, story book, film, etc. Right now however, with all of the protections that company holds, the creator (Arthur Rankin Jr.), of Claymation TV classics, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and The Year Without a Santa Claus, is trying to recover more than $2 million in royalties from Warner Bros., which he says failed to pay him contractual fees for broadcasting the holiday specials.
5. Do you have any advice for the new entrepreneur in regards to obtaining patents or protecting their intellectual property?
There are some great resources out there. For some basic information about different types of itellectual property and steps to take, the United States Patent and Trademark office has a great website. Get a good patent lawyer. Protect yourself early. The costs are minimal compared to the risk.