By Chris Bosak
The Hour, Norwalk, Conn.
Michael and Jennifer Sauvageau learned a hard lesson years ago about not protecting a business‘s intellectual property.
This time, the Sauvageaus are working on obtaining a utility patent for their new business, Noteworthy Chocolates, which sells chocolate bars engraved with custom messages. They have a provisional patent that expires in a few months.
Obtaining a utility patent, which would exclude other companies from using the Sauvageau’s ideas, involves an application fee, search fee, examination fee and maintenance fees.
“It’s thousands of dollars,” Danbury native Michael Sauvageau said.
The Sauvageaus are also no strangers to running successful crowdfunding campaigns, having raised more than $28,000 from 390 supporters on Kickstarter last spring to launch the business. The entrepreneurs are turning to crowdfunding again to help cover the costs of obtaining a utility patent.
This time, however, their fundraising idea of offering $150 worth of chocolate in gift cards for $100 does not fall under Kickstarter campaign guidelines. The Sauvageaus instead are running the campaign directly through the business‘s website at www.noteworthychocolates.com.
As of Monday morning, the campaign had raised $1,400 of its $7,500 goal. The promotion runs through Saturday. Visitors may purchase a $100 gift card and later receive a $50 gift card for free.
“We’re developing a mailing list and customer base and we’re letting our Kickstarter fans know about the campaign and have them help spread the word,” Michael Sauvageau said. “We’re making money, but we’re offering a good deal and getting exposure.”
Sauveageau said he and his wife put all their savings into launching Noteworthy Chocolates and therefore have little to offer as collateral to obtain a small-business loan through a traditional bank. Noteworthy Chocolates last fall opened a location in Bethel.