MAXTRAX: An IP Success Story

MAXTRAX in action

How a great idea takes shape

Many four-wheel driving enthusiasts will agree that MAXTRAX is one of the greatest Australian inventions of all time.

This distinctive orange vehicle recovery device was first developed by plumber Brad McCarthy to assist with the extraction of bogged four-wheel drive vehicles. MAXTRAX is one of the few inventions that has been so successful, it actually created an entirely new product category worth millions of dollars.

A simple yet effective solution

Like most great inventions, MAXTRAX came about in a bid to solve a problem. McCarthy was involved in a stressful incident on a remote beach, where he almost lost his bogged vehicle to the incoming tide, despite being equipped with all of the traditional recovery equipment at the time.

Determined to find a better way, McCarthy developed and refined the MAXTRAX. The injection molded MAXTRAX is a lightweight, strong and durable product that makes vehicle recovery a safe, simple, one-person task.

MAXTRAX is now widely available around Australia and in over 30 countries. McCarthy has since given away plumbing to concentrate full time on MAXTRAX and other four-wheel driving pursuits. MAXTRAX is an enduring reminder that even simple ideas can result in the best inventions. A key ingredient for success is commercial relevance.

The message

Every successful product will be copied, particularly molded products like MAXTRAX which are simple to replicate. Intellectual property has played a key role in ensuring that MAXTRAX maintains its dominance as the undisputed market leader. Patents protect the critical features of the product. Many have tried and failed to avoid infringing the patents. A suite of strong trade marks such as the distinctive brand name MAXTRAX and colour ORANGE are also in place, and will continue to protect MAXTRAX long after the patents expire.

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