About Mandy

Successful British inventor and entrepreneur

Hi, I’m Mandy Haberman, director and founder of Haberman Products and a successful inventor best known for my patent infringement battles and globally-acclaimed innovative feeding products. I am also non-executive Director of the UK Intellectual Property Office Steering Board, Founder member and Freeman of the Guild of Entrepreneurs and hold the position of Vice-Chair of the Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN).

I am honoured to have been recognised by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a ‘Pioneer to the Life of the Nation’ and immensely proud to be have named UK Female Inventor of the Year 2000.

Originally, I was a graphic designer and became a ‘mother of invention’ when our third child was born with Stickler Syndrome and was unable to breast or bottle-feed. Driven by my desire to help my baby and others like her, I invented a solution to feed her. That solution was the Haberman Feeder.

My next invention was the Anywayup® cup, the world’s first totally non-spill toddler cup. My cup’s valve technology was a huge success but, like many brilliant ideas, it attracted copycats. There's a cynicism [among many large companies] about the intellectual property rights of the little guy. I personally experienced several high-profile David and Goliath court cases and I risked everything to defend my precious intellectual property. Thankfully I was successful!

Whilst things have improved since my legal battles to enforce the Anywayup® patents I would love to see still more done to help independent inventors in dealing with infringement.  I think my biggest gripe is the lack of financial support available. There are now good, lower cost alternatives to the high courts but they are not always appropriate. The litigation process costs the same whether you are an independent inventor or a multi-national, and a lone inventor may have to risk personal financial ruin to enforce their intellectual property rights around the world, so this is a commercial decision and one that should not be undertaken lightly. You need nerves of steel

I’m solving problems and finding solutions all the time and I’m a grandma now! I am very excited about the latest addition to my inventions portfolio. Called the Suckle Feeder, it is a revolutionary baby bottle. It enables a baby to feed more actively, controlling the pace naturally by using a suckling action with the same wave-like motion that occurs when a baby breastfeeds.

The nice thing about being an inventor is that life is never boring. I will always try to find time to provide direction, help and encouragement to other would-be inventors. I started out as a mum with a good idea. A total novice in the world of business, intellectual property and law. It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve learnt a lot and I endeavour to pass on that knowledge on to students. I passionately believe that every young person should be equipped for life with at least a basic understanding of intellectual property.

If you’ve got an invention, I hope my story will inspire you to get out there and ‘go for it’ too. Have fun and good luck!  

Mandy x

TIMELINE

My story

1980-1982: My first invention makes its debut

My first invention, the Haberman Feeder, was invented for a special need. The Haberman Feeder was born out of a genuine necessity, as I needed a feeding solution for my baby. There was no bottle or teat (sometimes referred to as a 'nipple') available in the marketplace to help my daughter Emily who was born with feeding difficulties. This product is widely acclaimed by medical professionals and specialist advisory groups.

The Haberman Feeder became an essential medical tool that is widely used for a variety of feeding difficulties. For over 30 years, it has been recommended by medical professionals and is widely used in hospitals throughout the world.

1992-1996: The Anywayup® cup revolutionises the market

Inspiration for my next invention came when I observed a toddler spilling blackcurrant juice all over my friend's carpet. I set about inventing a valve-controlled cup that would automatically shut when removed from the child’s mouth. It was the first totally non-drip toddler trainer cup (also known as a 'sippy cup'), to seal between sips.

Audacious ways to introduce the new product to the marketplace, including our ploy of sending the chief buyer of a supermarket chain an Anywayup® cup filled with juice through the post. It got my product onto the shelves! Sales soared.

The Anywayup® cup revolutionised the feeding products market and remains the best and most reliable non-spill cup in the world.

1997-2000 Safeguarding my intellectual property

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but the Anywayup® cup's popularity led to wrongful appropriation and close imitation by others. Copycat cups and valves start appearing. Several high profile David and Goliath court cases and legal battles followed.

My intellectual property was successfully defended and out of court settlements reached.

2000 A winning streak

My Anywayup® cup is awarded a Gold Medal at the Salon International des Inventions in Geneva and wins a Horner's Award for innovative use of plastics, sponsored by the British Plastics Federation.

The Anywayup® cup is honoured twice over at the UK's top design industry awards. It wins Best Consumer Product and the overall 3M Award for Innovation categories at the Design Effectiveness Awards 2000. It is named winner of the Tommy Award for Most Parent Friendly Innovative Product.

I am named Female Inventor of the Year.

2001 CIPA & IPSITAC

I am appointed to the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (CIPA) Disciplinary Board.

Intellectual Property Strategic Information Technology Advisory Committee (IPSITAC) (2001/2).

2002 An Honorary Doctorate

I am awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Design and made an Honorary Fellow of Bournemouth University.

2003-2006 New appointments

I am invited to join the Simfonec Advisory Committee Science Enterprise Centre led by Cass Business School at City University with The Royal Veterinary College, Kings College, Queen Mary, University of London and the Advisory Council for the European Commission's 'Information Society Technologies Programme' (PRISM), the Intellectual Property Strategic Information Technology Advisory Committee (IPSITAC) and the Intellectual Property Advisory Committee IPAC.

2007 Strength in numbers

I team up with a group of strategic business partners and form Haberman Products, a business focused on innovative infant feeding products, to develop and bring my latest invention, the Suckle Feeder, to market. With my team’s help, I secured growth funding from a global financial services business and was the beneficiary of a grant to help take my new product from inception to fruition. To aid expansion into eastern Europe, Haberman secured a partnership with Canpol Babies, a leading manufacturer of baby products in Poland. Manufacture from the plant in Poland begins.

I am appointed Non-executive member of British Library’s Business and IP Centre Project Board (2007-10) and join the judging panel for the annual student Design Innovation Plastics Award.

2011-12 Patent World

I am invited to join the Editorial Board of Patent World, Informa Law.

2013 My next major innovation is launched

The first Suckle Feeder rolls off the production line.

My feeding innovations continue to win major parenting and innovation accolades and the Suckle Feeder has been awarded a coveted Prima Baby Gold Award, Right Start Best Baby Essentials, Made for Mums, Mother & Baby and Junior Magazine Design awards. I am appointed Director of Intellectual Property Awareness Network (IPAN) and Education Sub Group.

2014 European Inventions Award

I am invited by the European Patent Office to be a jury member for the European Inventor Award (2014-16).

2015 New appointments

I am appointed Non-Executive Director of the UK Intellectual Property Office Steering Board and become a Founder Member and Freeman of the Guild of Entrepreneurs.

2018 My journey continues

Major UK retailers line up to sell my innovations. 42 million products are now sold every year featuring Haberman technology.

I am appointed by HM Govt Dept of Business Energy & Industrial Strategy for a further two years to the Intellectual Property Office Steering Board.

Next stop America and the Far East. Watch this space!