January 19, 2023
2022 review: patents coming on strong too!
Inventing cutting-edge new technology is only the half of it. Wait – no: let’s not be so categorical…
Cutting-edge new technology that’s oh-my groundbreaking sets in motion a life-cycle that’s probably a lot more complex and long-winded than might at first be imagined by many. Of course, without the invention in the first place there’d be nothing, but without the life-cycle that comes after it, even the most amazing revolutionary technology risks going belly up before it’s even gotten off the ground, never to help humankind in the way it could have. Alternatively, the invention could be at risk of falling into the hands of so-called consumer champions or patent trolls.
Among the many business functions that go into the mentioned life-cycle of new technology is that of patenting. For, alas, the system works whereby, if the new tech’s not patented, you don’t have any rights to it – even though you invented it! And history is full of such examples: the karaoke machine, magnetic stipes on plastic cards, fidget spinners, and a whole load more.
So – patenting. It happens to be by far not the simplest or most accessible of business processes, and it requires lots of expertise and lots of money – especially when you’re global. But that doesn’t make it any less necessary. And since our business at K has always been founded upon new technology, as soon as our bottom line allowed it – we straight away got into patent protection: in 2008 we got our very first patent. Ever since, little by little, we’ve been steadily growing our own patent expertise as much as we could allow ourselves down the years. And quite right too!…
The more successful the business became and the more we expanded around the world – all the more often patent trolls would come after us looking for the easy money. Also – unscrupulous competitors, despite having tech that could hardly compete with us on quality, still weren’t happy allowing customers use our products. Altogether, we were hit with 10 patent actions; nine we won; one is currently being considered. Because we never give in. We fight back – and win!
The pandemic years and current geopolitical turmoil have of course negatively affected our business on the whole, and that has had a knock-on effect on our patent work – also down. And both past and current events look likely to echo into the future for years. However, that’s no reason to lie low until things get better; just the opposite – it warrants hitting the gas stepping on the proverbial accelerator all the harder! And that’s just what we did in 2022 (2021, btw, is here), despite everything. Let me tell you how…
We finished last year with a portfolio of 1367 patents and 330 patent applications in different countries (including the U.S., the EU, Russia, and China). In 2022 we obtained 123 new patents (including in the U.S. – 51; Russia – 37; China – 24; the EU – 9), and submitted 58 patent applications. But let’s not concentrate just on quantity. Check out the quality too: we’ve been granted patents to ~98% of all our patent applications (in some countries – 100%!), while the world average for companies is somewhere around 50%. Go us!
Our overall patent picture looks like this: