I thought I would jot down some key thoughts on the reasons why I protected SAFETYpoint.
When you know you have developed an exciting and innovative idea that could be a great product I knew I would need to have it commercially designed as it became apparent that there were different routes to market.
One of the several options was to manufacture the units and create a business to sell the units directly to the market. Another was to license my idea to potential manufacturers, thereby using their manufacturing expertise. But I needed some form of tangible asset that could form the basis of any licensing agreement.
Early discussions with Maurice, our Business Development Director, suggested that elements of legal protection could comprise a form of intellectual property (IP) that would create the basis of any potential licensing agreements. As a result, applications for patent protection, design registration and trademarks were made through the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. The process was underway and relatively straightforward, but I needed to convince people that, while my idea was simple, it was both novel and inventive and creative when compared to existing market products.
Detailed discussions resulted in our agreeing to submit a patent application; seek European design registration and apply for trademarks – the latter forming the basis for developing our brand. But with all the procedures and processes, why apply for a patent for SAFETYPoint at all? Firstly, I discovered that the strongest legal protection is afforded by securing a patent and I knew that the significance of getting this protection was also important to the market prospects for the technology. It also allows me the options to either manufacture and sell directly to the market, or license a package of IP, earning associated royalties.
Licensing may in the long-term prove be the best route to overseas markets as it could prove to be more cost-effective than manufacturing and shipping from the UK. It can all be quite time consuming. The original application was filed in October 2015 and following examination by the European Patent Office and the US Patent and Trademark Office, I was notified in Spring 2019 that the application had been successful, with patents granted in both territories.
As you can imagine, trusting that SAFETYpoint was worth pursuing has been justified and we now have a strong basis from which to commercialise SAFETYpoint and create a British brand that provides further proof of great innovation taking place in the UK.