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RESEARCH AND INNOVATION


FEATURE SPONSOR


PROTECT YOUR TECH


Whether it’s a seal, hydraulic system, cable, convertor or turbine, developing new technology is challenging, expensive and full of uncertainty – protecting it shouldn’t be


Successful technology gets copied, not immediately, but typically only once it has been tried, tested and proven to be effective. That usually means only once a significant amount of time, effort and resource has been invested.


Jason Boakes (Partner)


Short of keeping new technology completely secret, patent protection is the best way of protecting it. However, patent systems in most jurisdictions are designed so that once an invention has been disclosed publicly, it cannot then be patented. This makes sense at a policy level, but it can be deeply frustrating for companies developing wave and tidal technologies which may take several years to develop and often have to be tested repeatedly in a real- world environment before they become commercially successful. Such tests will typically amount to a ‘public disclosure’ which is then likely to be prejudicial to seeking patent protection in the future.


Sam Bloor (Senior Associate) 8 www.wavetidalenergynetwork.co.uk


ESSENTIAL PROTECTION Investing early in patent filings can,


however, be an unwelcome expense, especially if budgets are stretched and a commercially viable product is several years away. Nevertheless, patent protection, or at least a clear IP strategy for protecting new technologies, can be essential when trying to secure future investment and to ensure that the door is not left ajar for competitors further down the line.


It may seem counter intuitive, but getting advice early (and usually long before a decision on whether to seek patent protection needs to be made) on when to consider filing patent applications and what to file them for is the key to controlling expenditure on IP and ensuring that strong cost-effective protection is obtained.


TIMING There is no ‘perfect’ time to file a patent application, but a balance should be struck between filing too early (before the technology is understood properly) and filing late when the risk of prejudicial


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