ICIPIA recently attended the ARC Show at the Business Design Centre in London. This is Europe’s only event dedicated to the architectural, retail and commercial (ARC) lighting sector and showcases innovative technologies, products, design and light-art from companies across the UK and Europe.
The lighting industry is currently undergoing a technological revolution with the phasing out of incandescent filament bulbs and the seemingly exponential improvements in LED technology now enabling solid state lighting (SSL) to pose a credible threat to compact fluorescent and halogen. As the efficacy of LEDs improves and the costs decrease, the adoption of SSL will move down the chain from custom to commercial to consumer.
Rapid improvements in LED technology (with new product announcements from each of the major device manufacturers appearing almost every month) and a lack of standardisation in the industry are both driving innovation in all areas of the value chain from components and fixtures to drivers and systems.
All of this innovation results in the generation of Intellectual Assets (IA).
In the SSL industry there is a notable division between a few multi-national companies with significant Intellectual Property (IP) portfolios and the wherewithal to enforce them, and a large number of smaller (mostly SME) companies developing packaging, lenses, drivers, fixtures and control systems, not to mention system design consultancies.
If you are one of these smaller companies without access to in-house expertise in IA and IP, how to maximise value from your innovations can be a challenging question. It is often difficult to know where to start.
Some initial things to consider might be:
- What are your company’s Intellectual Assets and have they been fully captured?
- Should they be protected and if so how?
- Would protecting them add value to your company or could this incur unnecessary cost?
- Are your new inventions infringing anyone else’s protected IP?
- Would it be better to exploit your own ideas or to license them to someone else?
We spoke to a number of companies at the show in all aspects of the industry. Everyone was very interested to discuss this subject and we received a wide range of questions covering freedom to operate, trademarking, licensing, customer contracts, open source models and the protection of art.
ICIPIA has expertise in all of these areas and more so if you would like more detailed advice on any of these questions or anything else specific to your company, product or technology, please get in touch and we’ll be delighted to talk to you.