The story of Myni: A success story transforming cleaning routines

Marie-Hélène David, CEO and founder of Myni.
Marie-Hélène David, CEO and founder of Myni.

How would you react if your plumber told you that the hole in the kitchen sink pipes in your new house was caused by your household products? For Marie-Hélène David, that hole sparked a question. If these products have this effect on metal, what about our health?

Bottles made from natural wheat straw, sustainable and biodegradable at the end of their life. A simple alternative to plastic.

Refillable, non-toxic and biodegradable products

Marie-Hélène then embarked on a mission: to offer environmentally friendly and affordable alternatives to traditional cleaning products. She launched her company in April 2020 and developed soluble tablets for 2 types of cleaner, with the aim of eliminating plastic altogether. Her wheat straw bottles, which are durable, reusable and biodegradable, meet this objective. Ideal for e-commerce thanks to their compactness and lightness, these products are proving to be a great success.

Managing your IP to sell abroad

The protection of intellectual property (IP) rights is crucial in targeted markets abroad for the sale or manufacture of products, to prevent the copying or importing of similar products. Each country has its own IP laws and practices, making the process of protecting IP abroad complex. It is advisable to seek the advice of IP professionals.

When Marie-Hélène David's company was launched, the MYNI trademark did not yet exist and she used the name Filo for the sale of her products. However, this name was not formally registered as a trademark. When Marie-Hélène considered expanding abroad, she decided to consult an IP professional and learned that Filo risked creating confusion with another mark registered in several countries. The 2 marks in question are spelled differently, but are very similar in sound and are used for similar products. If a thorough search had been carried out before filing the application for registering the FILO trademark, this problem could have been avoided.

In addition to creating confusion in the marketplace and the risk of infringing the IP rights of others, neglecting one's IP can lead to avoidable consequences. Marie-Hélène underlines this reality: “Hiring a lawyer may seem expensive, but going back is even more so. Rebranding requires time, money, resources and energy. For 6 months we had to focus on changing the name instead of developing new markets. This is counterproductive: recall of products identified under the wrong brand and less traffic to the website. This affects every aspect of the business, from retailers to online sales—it's catastrophic! If I had to give advice to a young entrepreneur: get support from an IP professional from the start!”

Following this difficult experience, Marie-Hélène David stresses the importance of this approach: “To expand outside Canada, you need a global vision from the outset. Even before you launch your company, you need to have an idea of where you want to set up and do your research.” Working with an IP professional, she finally got round to choosing and registering her MYNI trademark, learning a crucial lesson from this initial IP experience.

Complete set of hair and body care products in powder form to be rehydrated in water (shampoo, conditioner and shower gel), including 3 wheat straw bottles.

IP rights: An assurance for investors

Over time, Marie-Hélène wanted to expand her range to include personal care products. After obtaining advice on protecting her trademark abroad, she once again benefited from the expertise of her IP agent. One of the roles of IP professionals is to help assess and consider IP rights. The patentability of its formulas has now been assessed. Myni chose not to patent its first products since there was too much risk of infringement of its processes. On the other hand, a patent on their body care range was ideal. Patents were gradually added to the company's IP portfolio.

To grow, a company needs investment, and holding IP rights becomes a convincing argument to attract investors, especially with patents. “Despite the fact that we reveal our recipes, we eventually patented some of our products. We needed private financing for this new range. Investors saw this as essential security,” explained Marie-Hélène David.

The advantage of the PCT for protecting IP through patents

Myni began by filing a provisional patent application in the United States, thereby providing initial protection for its innovation for 12 months, as well as obtaining an early filing date. During this period, the company perfects its technology before converting it into a regular patent application, while preserving the confidentiality of its invention. This practice is unique to the United States. An application for registration is then filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). This process allows the company to file a single international patent application. The PCT procedure is also a way of securing a degree of protection while refining the product and obtaining funding for the national phase of the process. The company can then apply for protection for its innovation simultaneously in several countries, at the appropriate time.

Myni's vision of innovation and long-term sustainability

Marie-Hélène shares her vision for the future of Myni. Aware of past mistakes concerning the negligence of her IP when choosing her trademark, she insists on the importance of not repeating these mistakes with patents. She concludes the interview by saying that making the chemical composition of her products publicly available when the patent expires doesn't bother her, because her business is all about innovation. She is confident that, in 20 years' time, Myni will have a well-established place in the market, seeing this as an easy challenge to overcome.

Find out more

If you're inspired by Myni's IP journey and want to read more compelling success stories, subscribe to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office's newsletter, IP for Business News. Stay tuned for upcoming webinars and share this article on social media to inspire others with their IP projects. You can also listen to episode 28 of our Canadian IP Voices podcast, in which Dominique Lambert, a patent agent at Bereskin & Parr, explains how provisional patenting works in the United States and how to file a patent application abroad using the PCT.

Your path to success in the world of IP awaits you!