Inspired by her own child suffering from Stickler’s syndrome, graphic designer
Mandy Haberman designed a feeder for babies with sucking difficulties. The
Haberman feeder was patented in the UK in 1984 and Mandy Haberman initially set
up her own company to commercialize the product worldwide before granting
manufacturing and distribution licenses. The product’s success was significant,
though the nature of the product limited its distribution to a very narrow
A few years later, Mandy Haberman, inspired this time by a friend’s child
spilling blackcurrent juice over a cream coloured carpet, decided to set out to
design a leak-proof cup that seals between sips and created the Anywayup® cup.
In 1992, the first of many patents was filed (patent no. GB-B-2266045). The
patent protected her idea that uses a slit valve to control the flow of liquid
through the spout of trainer cup. Additional patents both for the UK and
overseas were later filed and granted.
Prototypes of the innovative product were offered for
licensing to 18 companies
concerned with the manufacture of products for infants.
Although the response
was enthusiastic, for various reasons, no license was issued. Therefore, in
1996, Mandy Haberman decided to join forces with a Cardiff-based marketing
company that specialized in marketing innovative products and the Anywayup® cup
started to sell in unprecedented numbers (a rate of 60,000 a week). Shortly
after, a US company signed an exclusive USA licensing agreement to manufacture
and sell the product under the Tumble Mates brand. Over 10 million cups are now
sold each year worldwide.
As is often the case, the Anywayup® cup risked of being a victim of its own
success. Just 18 months after the product was launched, Mandy Haberman
discovered that one of the UK companies she had initially approached for
licensing was making a very similar product to the Anywayup® cup. Mandy Haberman
decided to sue the other company and won the legal battle. An injunction
preventing further infringement of the patent was ordered and the appeal was
abandoned shortly thereafter as an out of court settlement was reached.
Over the years, Mandy Haberman and the Anywayup® cup have won numerous invention
awards including the British Female Inventor of the Year award in 2000 a Gold
Medal at the Salon International des Inventions in Geneva as well as the UK’s
top design industry awards. Today Mandy Haberman is a successful
and has taken an active role in policy-making acting as adviser to the UK
government and the Patent Office on intellectual property matters.
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