Clever minds, innovative ideas, revolutionary products: Koehler Innovation & Technology is working flat out to develop environmentally friendly paper solutions. To protect them, patents are essential. But what actually is a patent and how is it used?
“Patents protect innovations and they help Koehler to grow sustainably and stay successful in the long term,” explains Dr. Markus Wildberger. He is Corporate Director for Technology at Koehler Innovation & Technology. The company is part of the Koehler Group and is responsible for innovation, research, development, and knowledge transfer. More than 100 experts work there on innovative paper-based solutions. They assess whether new ideas can be brought to market and whether they could even be groundbreaking. But work doesn’t end with the idea alone.
Koehler Innovation & Technology has developed a process that accompanies the entire lifecycle of an innovation – from the initial idea, to development and use, to product recycling. “With our sustainability strategy in mind, we created the innovation and patent strategy and developed patent management internally so we can identify trends at an early stage and leverage them financially,” says Wildberger.
Patents play a huge role in ensuring that Koehler Innovation & Technology can benefit financially from its accomplishments in the long term. The idea behind them is to prevent other companies using the technologies without permission. “First of all, we want to remain successful ourselves in the long run. Secondly, we want to give our customers access to innovations,” comments Wildberger. To acquire the correct – and important – property rights, the entire value chain must be taken into consideration. All divisions of the Koehler Group work together closely to this end.
„Patents protect innovations and they help Koehler to grow sustainably and stay successful in the long term.“
Corporate Director for Technology at Koehler Innovation & Technology
To acquire a patent in a particular country, Koehler submits a patent application for the invention to the relevant patent office. If the invention meets the required criteria, the patent is granted. Then Koehler normally holds the rights from the patent in that country for up to 20 years. The Koehler Group operates globally, so it is important to file patent applications in the relevant countries for the division in question in order to protect inventions. In an application, Koehler Innovation & Technology specifies how technical features will achieve sustainability goals and what benefits this will bring for customers.
An example could be a product with an improved environmental footprint.
Focus on Opportunities and Risks
Koehler Innovation & Technology monitors and evaluates third-party property rights systematically so it can react to them quickly. This process, along with the avoidance of patent infringements, is part of the company’s patent strategy.
“Patents give us the freedom to decide how we want to proceed with an innovation.
Whether we alone want to use it, which can be the case for up to 20 years, or whether we want to issue licenses too,” explains Dr. Stefan Peter, Head of Patents & Strategy at Koehler Innovation & Technology. “If we issue licenses, we can give other market players access to innovations and technologies and by doing so advance development on the market as a whole.”
Generally speaking, there are huge opportunities for financial success through a strategic approach to property rights. Koehler recognized that early on, so patent management has been an important support for the group’s divisions for a long time. The result? A unique range of services and numerous groundbreaking inventions – that are all well protected.
„If we issue licenses, we can give other market players access to innovations and technologies and by doing so advance development on the market as a whole.“
Head of Patents & Strategy at Koehler Innovation & Technology