How does ESS protect its unique capabilities and innovations?
In the on-going quest to remain ahead of the game, ESS constantly invests on improving their technology and bringing inventive solutions to the market. These innovations and unique methodologies utilized in the business is often referred to as intangible assets. In the current knowledge-driven, private sector oriented economic development paradigm, the different types of intangible assets of a business are often more important and valuable than its tangible assets. For the same reason, it is crucial for any business to protect their assets from being copied or imitated by others.
A crucial section of these assets is protected through what are labelled collectively as intellectual property rights (IPRs) – which includes trade secrets protection, copyright, design and trademark rights
, and patents, as well as other types of rights. These rights can vary between countries and regions but are governed and protected by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
For an innovation-driven company like ESS, it becomes imperative to seek protection for the intellectual properties that are created from the combined intellect of our ESS Family. The merits from a company’s strategy to protect its intellectual property (IP) extends beyond fraudulent imitation. ESS also benefits from a stronger brand identity created in the market by the product differentiation, not to mention the confidence instilled upon us with our technical expertise showcased through these inventions.
Patents, traditionally associated with industrial products and processes, is certainly one amongst the several pillars of ESS’s IP strategy. Patents provide a set of exclusive rights to its owner for a limited period. With the help of digitalization of physical modelling at ESS, it becomes very easy to find pain points of processes and designs. As these problems are visualized through simulation, they allow a different perspective to the problem, which often results in an invention. These market-disruptive inventions that are created at ESS are then filed for patents. Over the years, we have successfully obtained patents on various revolutionary concepts and solutions relevant to the industry. Once we have secured the patents, we proceed with the exploitation of the innovation.
Owing to our multi-disciplinary team of experts at ESS, our patented topics are not restricted to the niche manufacturing industries we usually work with. It’s worthy to mention that our recent innovations and their subsequent patenting has led to the establishment of two subsidiaries during the last 12 months. Immune Technology Steyr established in 2020, is focused towards bridging the gap between public health and technology. One of its initial projects involves exploitation of our ingenious technology on air filtering. The most recently established subsidiary, Engineering Technology Steyr, was conceived to enable the implementation of our patented concepts that revolve around the enhancement of industrial processes considerably reducing ecological and environmental impact. One of the initial projects pertaining to automotive manufacturing, will include saving of energy amounting to the annual production from several atomic reactors. And another project relating to the mineral processing industry, is expected to supply water for agricultural and urban needs.
Variation in the local IP laws of a country has a direct influence on the company’s IP strategy. In Austria, this can be seen with the laws protecting a software. The ideas and principle underlying the software are not protectable as per Austrian laws. One-of-a-kind software solutions provided by ESS is superior to its competitors owing to the methodology used in the various solvers developed at ESS. To ensure the protection of its technology, ESS leverages the IP strategy of defensive publications.
What are defensive publications, and how does this help?
It is a method of publishing details of an invention into the public domain, with the purpose to stop others from obtaining a patent on the same invention. The patent applicant will have nothing new to disclose to the public, because the invention would already be disclosed and is thus already possessed by the public. Thus, technically speaking, rendering a competitor’s invention obvious or lacking in novelty. ESS has over 25 such defensive publications that envelop all the methodologies and ideas employed in ESS software solutions. Besides, the overall implementation of the published methods into various solvers and their subsequent integration into the software with adequate interaction between components, is nothing short of a herculean task. The bottom line is that it is not realistic for someone else to develop software using our methods and to achieve a similar outcome as we have.
Considering the growing number of inventions happening at ESS on a regular basis, we have recently inducted an IPR Senior Account Manager to hone our IP strategy even further. As much as it is a stepping-stone to expansion, it is also a crucial aspect to be dealt with for any business with a heart of innovation.
Do you wish to know what our CEO, Martin has to say about IP strategy? Check out this interview.