From garden shed to national DIY stores – Marxman

Photo of From garden shed to national DIY stores – Marxman


As he was fitting a sink and struggling to mark drilling positions on the wall, Martin Chard thought that there must be an easier way. Hundreds of prototypes later, he developed the Marxman marking tool.


Martin asked Forresters to protect his new invention.

Action Taken

We first conducted a background search to identify any similar ideas in the public domain. When the results were clear, we promptly drafted and filed a UK patent application to secure patent pending status. One year later, keen to maintain Martin’s rights but to delay foreign patenting costs, we filed an international (PCT) patent application. By the end of the procedure, not only had Martin attracted significant interest in the invention, but had established the key markets of interest. Forresters then focussed protection in the jurisdictions which best protected the markets identified.

Meanwhile, we also protected the name ‘Marxman’ as a trade mark.

Needing to find an investor and mentor to grow the business, Martin and his business partner/wife Jenny appeared on Dragons’ Den.  Forresters helped Martin and Jenny prepare the necessary paperwork. Furthermore, we even held a mock den session in our offices, with our attorneys assuming the roles of dragons, to help hone their pitch to the dragons.


They secured investment offers from all five dragons – a very rare feat – and chose to go with Deborah Meaden as their key strategic investor. Following the TV and media coverage, sales of the Marxman marking tool have rocketed, and the product is stocked in DIY stores across the UK.

The Marxman marking tool device is protected by patents in key territories and the name ‘Marxman’ is a registered trade mark, helping to safeguard a market now worth millions of pounds.

The Marxman marking tool is available to purchase at

Martin and Jenny were represented by Forresters partner Andy Harding, who advises many start-ups and so is acutely aware of the unique pressures they face. The case study demonstrates how we maximise an inventor’s rights whilst reducing and/or delaying the associated costs for as long as possible, so that funding can be secured. Andy Harding commented “I am often the very first professional advisor a start-up enlists the help of. This gives me a unique insight into the business as it develops, allowing me to tailor advice accordingly. Moreover, it builds a close relationship with those involved and so it is richly rewarding to see them succeed”.