Monday, November 26, 2012

Taiwan Factory Tour: W &W Company, Inc. – Jewelry Museum: Technology Patents - IPPLUS Patent Office LLP

This is my fourth of eight blogs on Factory tours of the New Taipei City area.   Today we visited the Jewelry Museum of W & W Company Inc., (hereafter I will refer to this company as just W & W).    Their headquarters is located in Linkou Industrial Park, which is centrally located between the TaoYuan International Airport and the center of Taipei City. 

On our way to the factory tour of W & W Company Inc., I did not know what to expect.  I thought we would see a factory where they make inexpensive jewelry for possibly the low end consumer markets.  Boy was I in for a surprise.  I am an engineer by education, and spent many years in capital equipment, high tech companies.  Needless to say, I am fascinated about all types of equipment.  when I realized W & W Company Equipment was a jewelery making equipment company, I was very excited about this tour.

Upon our arrival, we were cordially met by Mr. Raymond Wu, his wife Sarah Lin and our tour guide.   

Sarah Lin and Raymond Wu during the tour of W & W Co. Inc.

 W & W started in 1970 making general jewelry making tools and equipment.  In the early years, their products were primarily hand tools for manually making jewelry, and they had a wonderful, ALL white, collage of many of these tools on the main lobby wall. 

The tour guide gave the tour in Chinese, but I had Sarah, Raymond and others translated lots of important details.  first stop on the tour is their collage wall of manual jewelry making tools, including many of W&W's early products.

Our Tour started here ........

Manual Tools used by jewelery makers ........ many of W & W's early products 

Our Tour guide talks about early days at W & W and Jewelry making tools

Sarah was kind enough to join our tour and answer questions as we went along.   She actually went to college in New York state, and her English is very good.  Later, Raymond Wu also gave me a great deal of one-on-one time to answer additional questions about his company, early history and its bright future.  

Mr. Raymond Wu telling me about the company history

Initially, Mr. Earl Weaver asked Mr. Kuang-I (Mickey) Wu to join the firm.  Together they built the business and named the company W & W Co., Inc. (for Weaver & Wu).  W & W designs, manufactures and represents a wide range of jewelry manufacturing products.   Today, their product line includes manual and automated equipment that is used in all kinds of jewelry manufacturing processes, such as grinding, plating, polishing, wax injection, mold casting, and many  company’s and of course many of the world’s top jewelry designers around the globe. 

In their main entrance, they have a huge structure engraved with the names of many of these top world designers that they do business with including: Cartier, De Beers, Tiffany & Company, Piaget, Bvlgari, Boucheron, Enzo, Mont Blanc, Chopard, Chanel, Swarovski, Chaumel, Pappilon , Graff, Harry Winston, Christofle,  and many, many more. 

Jewelry making process steps.  W&W sells equipment for ALL process steps!

For each process step along the tour, (and behind a long glass wall) are examples of many of W & W Co., Inc.'s products, and examples of how the products are used.

During the tour, Mr. Mickey Wu, joined us for a short while and introduced me to a couple of people from a German Equipment manufacturer that is interested in collaborating with W&W on one products used by small design houses.   

Mr. Mickey Wu in meeting with guests

Mr. Mickey Wu in meeting with guests

(left to right) Raymond Wu, Mickey Wu and German Guests

We spoke briefly about technologies used in the design of such equipment including global patents used in protecting these innovations.  I was also told that W&W Company Inc., either holds several technology patents, or is considering filing patents in the future.  I will talk about patents at the end of this blog.

Sarah Lin discussing DIY Project and the Tools to be used.

Some of the projects we could select for DIY
The DIY projects we selected

Sarah watching over our Tour Group, working hard to complete their DIY projects

Near the end of the tour, they invited us to a DIY (Do It Yourself) project where we could select a number of small gifts and actually hand paint and assemble them.  I selected a set of key chains with charms for my project.   That was a lot of fun for most all of us on the tour.  Last stop of the tour was the W&W gift shop with many interesting items for sale including fine jewelry, gifts and items for the entire family. 

The Gift Shop Show Room - "First Class" displays
(far left) Famous Chinese Blogger - Nina Cheng and others in gift shop with Sarah Lin (far right)

Some of the non-jewelry products they sell in the Gift Shop
This is a well-managed company and successful family owned business.   I believe W&W Co., Inc. will continue to be one of leaders in their industry for many years to come.

By the way, for those people that know jewelry, precious and semi-precious stones, W & W attends a number of the larger US shows every year including Las Vegas, Nevada and Tucson, Arizona.  So if you attend, check the list of Exhibitors and stop by W & W Co., Inc. booth and introduce yourself. 

For more information, you can contact this company as follows:

W & W Company Inc.
No. 104, Sec. 1, Fenliao Road, Linkou,
New Taipei City, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Tel: +886 2 86014430
Email: (Raymond Wu)
Email: (Sarah Lin)

My other New Taipei City Factory Tour Blog Article Links:

1.    Taipei Factory Tours: Teng Feng Fishball Museum; African Cichlids, Salt Water Fish, and Big Game Sport Fishing

2.   Attention Candy & Sweets Lovers: Taiwan Nougat Museum

3.   Taipei Factory Tours: Teng Feng Fishball Museum; African Cichlids, Salt Water Fish, and Big Game Sport Fishing



Now about patents.  In my business career, I was involved in many high technology companies that invented technology and embodied that technology in their products.  To keep competitors from copying their technology, and to protect their R&D engineering innovations or their intellectual property (IP) acquisition investments they file patents in the US and often many other global countries where their products are sold, or where competitors might possibly infringe on their technology.

In the US, if you want to file a utility patent on an innovation, the inventors document there technology and invention and use a legal firm that either specializes in patents or has a department or staff of patent attorneys.  Most of these law firms charge by the hour (from ~$250 to $500+ USD per hour) and based on the complexity of the technology, the patent could cost anywhere from $6,000 to $10,000 USD minimum and up to $30,000 or more just to file it in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). 

Most US patent attorneys have at least one college degree in an engineering or science field.  They may spend some time or almost no time actually practicing that technology before they obtain their law degree as a patent attorney. 

In Taiwan, there is a very novel patent firm known as IPPLUS Patent Office LLP.    Instead of utilizing expensive patent attorneys to write patents and file them, they have built up a strong group of technologists with BS, MS and Phd degrees from Taiwan.  Several of these technologists have their Phd’s from famous universities such as Stanford University in California, Leeds University in the UK, and from National Taiwan University in Taipei.  Almost all of their staff have spent many years working in their respective fields prior to being a part of the IPPLUS team of experts.  With this staff, they tell me they can write a better quality patent because they better understand the latest technologies.  They also can write a quality patent in less time with the large dedicated team of technologists, and their cost is significantly less than most all US patent law firms.  Their spokesperson for the CEO, Mr. Roger Kang indicated they have filed more than 3,000 patents in approximately 30 countries.  


In today’s global market, it is becoming ever so important for individuals and companies from start up’s to large corporations to protect their innovation by building a strong patent portfolio and filing their patent applications in every country they want to compete. 
Good Luck IPPLUS Patent Office LLP.  

For more information you can contact IPPLUS as follows:

IPPLUS Patent Office LLP
19F-4, No.1, Baosheng Rd.,
Yonghe City, Taipei County 234, Taiwan
TEL: +886-2-8660-6660
FAX: +886-2-8660-6659
Email: (Joanne Yeh)
Email: (Sabrina Lee)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

"Lightning Strikes": Doctor Optical & Eye Glasses

OK, this is not about lightning, but about the randomness of unexpected events while traveling around the globe.  things can happen quickly, when you least expect it, just like lightning!  

I’m in Taiwan for over a month and a half, and as the crow flies (direct distance) I am 6542 miles (over 10,500 kilometers) from my home in California.  I did bring my glasses and an older prescription backup.  I thought I was “golden” or well prepared for my Asia trip.  I really didn’t even want to bring my back-up glasses because I have traveled around the world for many years, have flown over 5 million miles in the air, and have never had problems with my glasses and NEVER needed a backup pair.  

I should also mention that I had a special metallic eye glass frame that you can twist, turn, bend, and they will not break or deform and they spring right back into shape.

Well “lightning strikes” when you least expect it.   (Just kidding, lightning is just a metaphor)

I was cleaning my lenses holding the center bridge in my fingers, and my glasses snapped in half.   

My broken glasses!

How could that happen????????  I was told when I bought these $400 USD frames that it was seemingly impossible for this special metallic frame to damage them under normal use.   I expected this was the last frame I would need to purchase even if I needed to get new prescription lenses.

As a global traveler, “Expect the Unexpected” because anything can happen when you least expect it on the road. Remember the three T’s……. (Trials and Tribulations of Travel).  Well, when you least expect it, trouble lurks around the corner and then happens.

Now I do not have my prescription with me in Taiwan, and do not really want to spend $800 (the price I paid in the US) again for new glasses, so when I tried on my back-up glasses. I quickly realized I packed a pair that must be more than 10 years old, because all my vision is blurred wearing these backups.  
Now Taipei has literally hundreds of eye glass stores around the city.  They are everywhere.  We decided we would try to see if one of them could laser weld the frames back together for me.  One after another, they looked at the frames, said they could not or would not weld the frames for me.  But, they would be happy to sell me new frames and lenses.  Yep, their prices ranged from $500 to $750 USD. 
We decided to keep looking and deal with my blurred vision until we found a better solution.

We needed to find a good pet store since our pets would be home from quarantine soon.  We found a great pet store (Polo) near the NTU Campus.

Our IGGY's at the Polo Pet Store

Walking from the MRT GongGuan station to the pet store, we passed by several eye glass stores, and decided to turn around and go back to the first one and show them my broken glasses.  

The store’s name is Doctor Optical Co., and Mr. Lin helped us and took my glasses to his expert in the back.  

In moments he came out and told us the material used in these “flex” frames cannot be welded.   

Now I wonder why other eye glass professionals could not give me a straight answer?  So now I trust this guy and started to think about buying frame and lenses from him.  

However, before I could actually decide, he suggested that he could probably find an eye glass frame that my expensive lenses could fit into.  But, he did say he did not have “flex” lenses.  I asked him to show me what he had.   

Behind the counter he has so many trays of frames.  He opened a few, and when he had the right one, he found three different frames I could select from.  I immediately liked the “Polo” frames and he said it would take about 15-20 minutes.  

Ok, now I was preparing myself for the cost, expecting the worst, but I was in for a big surprise.  He offered me a big discount on these frames, and the final price was less than $60.00 USD.  WOW, he adjusted my new frames so they fit perfect, and also did the same for my backup pair of eye glasses at no charge.  What a nice, honest guy, a friendly place to do business, and a provider of excellent service.  I even went back a few weeks later for an adjustment, with our two Italian Greyhounds, and again, no charge.  The sales lady kindly brought out a cup of water for our dogs!

I already decided, if I need a new pair of glasses while in Taiwan, I will go back to Doctor Optical.


They are located on Section 3, Luosifu Rd., and just a short walk from the GongGuan MRT Station.  You can contact them as follows:
Tel: 2365-9955
Fax: 2368-8894