Ensuring new features are protected
Oxford Flow Ltd designs, sells and manufactures industrial pressure regulators using innovative technology to provide new levels of performance for natural gas transmission, water distribution, oil and gas, and process industries.
Dr Mark Bell, Associate at Dehns has worked with the inventor of Oxford Flow’s technology for a number of years, through Oxford University’s Technology Transfer Office, while they were based at Oxford University. Dehns filed Oxford Flow’s first patent for their first patentable invention.
Over the last couple of years, the initial device has been developed and fine-tuned with new and improved features. The device was still covered by the initial patent, but Dehns and Oxford Flow agreed that a full IP audit was required to ensure that the new features were fully protected.
Mark undertook a comprehensive audit of the initial patent and the improved device; he held several technical meetings with the inventors to understand the developments to identify whether there were any previously undisclosed features that were patentable to obtain further protection before they started marketing and selling the product.
Mark identified new features that were patentable in addition to patentable features in new products subsequently developed by the company, and in April 2016 filed four separate patent applications on the same day for the new ideas and enhancements. Filing these patents met the company’s IP strategy and objectives, and also satisfied the investors who understand the importance and commercial value of IP in the business.
This case study also highlights how our very initial work with the inventors, when they used Dehns through Oxford University’s Technology Transfer Office, provided them with huge confidence that Dehns had the ability to understand the technology. This confidence and trust in Dehns and Mark Bell meant that even when the company was spun-out from the University, and were no longer obliged to use Dehns, they continued to use Dehns as their patent attorney. This demonstrates the strength of the relationship and the faith in Dehns’ understanding of their technology.