How a Navy Seal fought off copy-cats and created a global empire

After featuring a Planet Money podcast episode which focused on resurrecting a famous American brand, we look at another excellent podcast this week: How I Built This with Guy Raz.

Some of my favourite episodes so far include the stories behind powerful businesses such as Dermalogica (with surprising South African origins), Samuel Adams and Patagonia, but the episode with the best IP lessons probably comes from the episode focusing on the story behind the TRX™ brand with its founder Randy Hetrick.

You may be familiar with the TRX™ Suspension Trainers from your local gym as they are found in just about every Virgin Active gym across the country.

Click here to listen to the podcast.

The excerpt from the NPR website follows:

“In 1997, Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick was deployed in Southeast Asia, where he was stationed in a remote warehouse for weeks with no way to exercise. So he grabbed an old jujitsu belt, threw it over a door, and started doing pull-ups. Today, TRX exercise straps dangle from the ceiling in gyms across the country and are standard workout gear for professional athletes.”

The episode is a must-listen for any budding entrepreneurs and speaks about his IP strategy which includes the filing of a number of patents, trade marks and designs and the challenges he faced in fighting counterfeiters and copy-cats across the globe. (Read the story about TRX’s $6.8 million judgment for patent and trade mark infringement here).

The other interesting IP lesson is how they have diversified their income from originally selling only TRX™ goods to sell digital training products and licensing the brand to gyms across the world to offer specialised TRX™ workouts.