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Protecting new materials – a holistic approach

How long is a piece of value chain?

Materials companies sit at the start of what is often a long and complicated commercial value chain.

This may include:

  • Synthesis
  • New materials
  • Material processing
  • Subcomponent design and integration
  • Device architecture
  • Device functionality
  • End application

Often, a significant proportion of the value of an end product is added downstream of the initial materials synthesis. So, how can manufacturers extract the maximum return from the commercial value stream for their new materials?

The importance of materials patents

Patents can play an important role in maximising returns. They can also help you to retain the freedom to operate in a variety of end markets. Materials companies will naturally consider protection for their new synthesis technologies and new materials variants. However — the fabrication of a new materials variant puts the fabricator in a unique position of being the first and only entity to assess its functionality and potential end applications. As such, due consideration should be given to how a new material may be integrated into device structures, how it may enable new device functionalities, and how it may open up potential new applications.

At each stage of the commercial value chain, there are likely to be opportunities for patentable inventions. Due consideration of downstream inventions should be given prior to placing a new materials variant into the public domain. This can be important in terms of developing intellectual property (IP) assets to leverage maximum return along the commercial value chain — and it can help to retain the freedom to operate in a variety of applications spaces. Furthermore, a deep and varied patent portfolio, which stretches beyond a materials company’s core business, can provide a variety of revenue streams to complement the core business without the burden of additional capital investment and infrastructure.

Set your new materials inventions free

Our hi-tech materials attorneys have specialist expertise at the interface region between chemistry and physics. This enables them to take a holistic view of new materials inventions; to assess and capture a range of valuable IP assets across the commercial value chain and develop a portfolio tailored to maximising returns, increasing flexibility through numerous potential revenue streams, and ensuring a greater degree of freedom to operate for new materials inventions across a range of potential applications spaces.

If you’re interested in patenting your materials innovations, we’d love to meet you. Our specialist attorneys have actively participated in materials research and can add more value when compared to generalist attorneys. We can discuss how you can best protect new materials innovations and help to ensure you’re extracting the most value from your work.


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