It is no secret that e Cigs are not a passing fad and are in fact here to stay. They are in demand, and more and more people are vaping than smoking nowadays. However, no one can tell you where these seemingly miracle electronic cigarettes come from. Well, Hon Lik is a Chinese inventor who works from a very cramped office in Beijing China. It all started with his dream of a smokeless, battery operated and nontoxic cigarette that would save lives and be more socially acceptable. He invented the first e Cig, so how is he still in that same little Beijing office with the electronic cigarette industry being worth so much today?
Mr. Lik says that his company has experienced struggles that may have led to the setback, but he is seeking compensation from all of those who copycatted his invention. He went on to say that, “smoking is the unhealthiest thing in people’s everyday lives…I’ve made a big contribution to society, but I do not live like a rich person because of all the troubles our company has faced.” It seems that all he wants is recognition and compensation for what is rightfully his. That too many seems very fair. Now, Li is in fact cofounder to a 10 year old company that produces e Cigs called Ruyan. This company had held the patent for e Cigs from day one, so what is the problem?
One big problem is that the patents are being sold to Imperial; Tobacco for 75 million, but Lik is not getting the fair compensation in the deal because of copy write issues that have drained the profits he deserved. Amazingly Lik was found to be the first e Cig researcher for the modern electronic cigarettes, but the concept actually goes back to the 60’s and to a US inventor. Still, Mr. Lik’s version was made in 2003 while he was trying to stop smoking himself.
Hon Lik explained the struggles associated with trying to stop smoking tobacco, and they were unpleasant to say the very least. Many who do not smoke cannot imaging the excruciation of trying to just stop smoking. He used a nicotine patch which gave him nightmares, and he knew there had to be an easier way. Since quitting is not that easy Hon wanted to do something about it for himself and for others. After a year of planning, inventing and perfecting his design was born in 2006.
Ruyan worked around the clock to produce electronic cigarettes, and soon the demand was so that they simply could not keep up. Then the Chinese government began spreading rumours that the e Cig could lead to catastrophic health events like heart attacks. Lik believes to this day that the Chinese government turned on his invention because the tobacco industry being run by the state started losing revenue. With them being responsible for 10 p-percent of the stream of revenue to the government, that simply could not be allowed to continue. It is no surprise with the demand and the popularity of the electronic cigarette that other companies began producing them. They varied slightly because they all had to come up with their own patent. With them all being so similar to Lik’s he has seen many court battles.
Most brands claim uniqueness, but Lik says “they’ve made some small adjustments, but their basic structure is the same.” He is the inventor of the modern day electronic cigarette and out of the 75 million for the patent he is getting nothing to show for it. His share is so small it won’t make a difference, and it will all have to be reinvested into Ruyan. The only after arrangement will be for him to work with Imperial as a merger adviser.
What do you think about Lik’s situation, is he being treated fairly and does he deserve compensation for electronic cigarette sales?