Innovation and enterprise blog

15 July 2013

The Apprentice 2013

With the final of BBC's The Apprentice 2013 fast approaching, I found myself having a look back at one of our most popular previous posts from Steve van Dulken which focused on 2011 winner, Tom Pellereau.

Intrigued to see whether this year’s candidates are as innovative as inventor Tom, I did some digging to see if any of them had registered any patents or trademarks.

Lots of searching uncovered that from this year’s candidates, only one had any form of intellectual property ever registered. Uzma Yakoob, who was the fourth to be fired fired, filed a trademark application in 2002 but has since let it lapse following the ten year renewal date in 2012.


You can see below from the image that Uzma trade marked, it is relevant to her current status as a beauty entrepreneur. It is filed under Class 44, ‘beauty care for human beings’.

  Uzma Yakoob trade mark

Uzma Yakoob's trade mark 

Intellectual property is crucial in order to protect your brand or idea and definitely not something to ignore if you want a successful business.  The Business & IP Centre has lots of information if you’re not sure what to do next.


It seems for now that Tom’s crown as The Apprentice Inventor is safe for this year but who knows what will happen next year. And of course, there is still the crown of The Apprentice 2013 up for grabs!


Here’s a reminder of Tom’s inventions from Steve’s blog post from 2011:


BBC's The Apprentice: Tom Pellereau, inventor

Series 7 of the BBC's The Apprentice starts on 10 May and will include an inventor, Tom Pellereau, as one of the candidates.

This show's mixture of business and, to be frank, entertainment has been very popular. Each week one is eliminated by Lord Sugar until the last one standing gets to work with him. Usually one or two of the weekly challenges involve inventing a product, so it is apt that an inventor is one of the candidates. As far as I am aware it is the first time that has happened.

I learnt from a newspaper article that one of the candidates claimed to have invented the first curved nail file. A little research showed that this was Tom Pellereau, 31, from London.

I have traced three published inventions by him, all by Thomas Pellereau.

In 2004 when living in Alresford, Hampshire he applied for his Curved manicure or pedicure device. The document claims that previous attempts at curved nail files damage the nail or only permit one side of the file to be used. The drawing does not at first seem to tell us much:

The drawing shows a side view, of course. As the amount of curvature varies, the user instinctively uses the most appropriate part of it for any part of the nail.  Pellereau adds that it is aesthetically pleasing and easy to hold. A granted British patent exists for it.

In 2006 he applied for a Container with flexible helical member. Here is the main drawing.


The patent description states "There is provided a container, suitable for use with a linear non- planar object, comprising a flexible helical member for partially or substantially surrounding the object, the helical member having at least one connection means at least [to] one of its ends." So that's clear. This means that it can be curled over a rounded object, and a keyring for example can be fastened to the helix. The description is interesting if, for me at least, hard to follow.

Then in 2007 he and Matthew Driver applied for A nursing bottle assembly and a reusable liner therefor. Here is the main drawing.

The "ribs" (2) are a container which can collapse in a predictable fashion along its long axis. It is enclosed within a rigid outer casing. The idea of a (disposable) collapsible inner container was not new (they prevent the babies from ingesting air), but the patent document points out problems with previous attempts, and claims to have solved them.

The Daily Mail has an article showing photos of the candidates with some comments by or on each of them. Pellereau normally wears spectacles, but says that "underneath these glasses is a core of steel". I wish them all the best of luck. 




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