The Commercial Issue

Redd&Whyte approached J A Kemp in early 2013, faced with a new business challenge. Redd&Whyte specialise in producing precision liquid dispensing products that find application, for example, in medical and pharmaceutical processes. Redd&Whyte had been using a particular solenoid micro-valve in their products. However, that valve had been designed with Redd&Whyte’s market in mind, and so had some shortcomings when put to use in Redd&Whyte’s product. Knowing that they wanted to design an improved valve, Redd&Whyte approached J A Kemp for advice on how to proceed.

How We Helped

Redd&Whyte were aware of an existing application relating to solenoid micro-valves, belonging to a third party. We were able to advise as to what scope of patent protection might be obtained from that application, and how Redd&Whyte could minimise the chance of later being found to infringe any patent granted. We also set up a monitoring service to keep the client informed of any developments in the prosecution of the application. The situation was constantly under review, providing the ability to provide updated advice when necessary.

Following our advice, Redd&Whyte designed their own valve, which avoided the pending patent application and also addressed the problems with the previous valve. We discussed with Redd&Whyte the innovations embodied in their new valve, and advised them on a strategy for protecting it. Faced with a short deadline before disclosure of the new valve at a business meeting, we drafted a complete patent application relating to the various innovative aspects of the new valve and filed the application at the UK Intellectual Property Office.

The Outcome

The reassurance Redd&Whyte received regarding their position with respect to the third party application allowed them to focus on how to replace the valve in their products, rather than the fear of future infringement actions. This in turn allowed Redd&Whyte to develop their own valve, which provided the business with greater future security by reducing their dependence on external suppliers. The new valve also solved the problems particular to Redd&Whyte's product, and so improved the overall device.

Possessing their own patent application enabled Redd&Whyte to license their own valve developments or stop any activities that would infringe a granted patent. In the shorter term, the application also helped to show their business partners that Redd&Whyte had the technical expertise to produce quality products in their field of specialisation.

"Having IP shows our business partners that we are experts in the field of precision fluid dispensing, and reassures them that we can deliver the results they are looking for. A combination of technical understanding and IP expertise was critical for getting our application drafted and filed quickly."

Roger Poole, Managing Director, Redd&Whyte

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