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IP Information & News

24 January 2018

Protecting new materials – a holistic approach

Materials companies sit at the start of what is often a long and complicated commercial value chain which may include: synthesis - new material - 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 materials manufacturers extract the maximum return from the commercial value stream for their new materials?


Patents can play an important role in maximising returns and also for retaining 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 as 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 and 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 assets to leverage maximum return along the commercial value chain.  Furthermore, this can be important in order to retain freedom to operate in a variety of applications spaces.  Further still, a deep and varied patent portfolio which stretches beyond a material company’s core business can provide a variety of revenue streams to compliment the core business without the burden of additional capital investment and infrastructure.    

UDL’s hi-tech materials attorneys have particular 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 maximizing 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.

For more information on how to best protect your new materials inventions please contact Senior Patent Attorney Dr Ian Atkinson by email or on 020 3904 3365.