Our Knowledge Protection (IPR) Strategy encompasses three elements: a) existing patent; b) patent expansion strategy; c) confirmed ‘freedom to operate’ (FTO).
A) Existing Patent: Marine PV Technologies and its Director – Dimitar Mitev, own all iLifebuoy IPR assets. iLifebuoy is patented under a Utility patent No. 2806/01.11.2017. In July 2018, we submitted a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application with the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – BG 2018/0000031 under national patent application number 112542 from 14.07.2017 for “Autonomous lifebuoy”. The PCT application provides us 18 months of IPR protection from the date of submission when we can apply for country- or region-specific patents. B)Patent Expansion Strategy: The next step in our Patent Expansion Strategy is to apply for a Unitary Patent with the European Patent Office (EPO). Next, we will apply for patent protection in the key countries where our customers (cruise and transport ships) are registered: ‘flag states’ and ‘states of convenience’ (tax havens for the maritime industry) – Bahamas, Panama, Liberia and Marshall Islands that jointly hold +60% of the world ship registry. Finally, we will investigate the IPR protection status in the largest markets outside of Europe – Australia, Turkey, USA, China and Brazil.
C) FTO: As part of the initial patent (Sep-Nov 2017), the patenting body performed Prior Art Search and confirmed that our invention does not infringe any existing patents and holds complete ‘freedom to operate’. As part of the Feasibility Study, we will subcontract a full FTO analysis for Europe.