As a quick overview, a patent provides its owner with the right to exclude others from exploiting the patented technology, including, for example, making, using, or selling the patented invention. In general, patents for products, and/or methods of their manufacture have a 20-year term of exclusivity. In some countries, designs can be patented with a similar duration of protection.
At DataLase we currently have over 300 granted patents, with several new exciting applications published in 20/21. The patents will typically cover technologies across our laser-active chemistry and coatings, as well as high speed laser systems. Territorially, they support our global strategy through filings in Europe, USA and Asia.
So why do we need patents?
Essentially, there are 4 main reasons why patents are important to our business and why we actively safeguard them:
Firstly, patents provide freedom of movement in our field, especially if that field is competitive. Filing patent applications early helps limit the risk that someone else has obtained (or will obtain) a patent on the same or similar idea, concept or invention. Being ‘first past the post’ in registering a patent, also helps incentivise and educate competitors to ‘invent around’ the technology, thereby encouraging further technology advancements to the on-going benefit of customers and consumers alike.
Secondly, patents can provide licensing opportunities for companies looking to use our technology. Being able to grant partners and customers licence agreements to leverage our technology, provides increased flexibility and can complement direct product sales. Moreover, if a third party wanted to use our technology and replicate our coatings, they would need permission from DataLase to do so, in the form of a licence.
Thirdly, corporate valuation relies heavily on a company’s intellectual assets, such as patents. In providing reassurance to customers, brands and consumers that we are producing the very best laser-active, patented technology available, our corporate value increases. It shows that we have a strong belief in the technology and relevant market sectors through significant investment and maintenance of an extensive patent portfolio.
Fourthly, and to conclude, a strong patent portfolio allows us to protect our and licensees’ markets and [if absolutely necessary] to take legal action against any third party that is using our technology without consent. In this regard, we actively encourage third parties (including competitors) which are using or wishing to use Datalase technology to approach us to explore licensing opportunities at the earliest opportunity.