Consumer Product Patents
Consumer products are fast moving and typically less complicated compared with inventions in other industries, so people often disregard the importance of filing patent applications for them. However, often the simplest innovations are the most profitable and carry the least commercialisation risk.
Contrary to popular belief, simplicity is absolutely no bar to patentability – patents are granted and designs are registered on new consumer products every day and are enforced around the world. This allows companies and entrepreneurs to benefit financially from their bright ideas and investment in their own inventions.
What products are patentable?
So long as your consumer product is new, inventive and has functional utility, it should be patentable in any country around the world.
Benefits and challenges of filing consumer product patent applications
Consumer products have some of the lowest commercialisation risks among patent industries. However, inventors and innovators see little value in pursuing a patent strategy for consumer products, which usually are fast moving but of lower cost to develop compared with other technologies.
One could consider the volume that can be acquired in the market for these consumer products: if successful in identifying the gap in the market and supplying the market with the goods, there is a huge potential to own that market share. Similarly large is the possibility that a competitor can eye and covet a chunk or all of that market share by positioning a similar product based on your product. In this case, a carefully designed patent portfolio can go a long way in protecting both the invented product and the possible tweaks to the product. How? By involving patent attorneys that understand both the technological and the business aspects of bringing a product into the market.
Foresight is important: “How will my competitor tweak my product to make it their own without infringing on my existing patents?” and design a patent strategy to address the possible answers.
Examples of granted consumer product patent applications
Disney Enterprises, Inc
Vorwerk & Co. Interholding GmbH
|Clothing, footwear & fashion (patent applications & registered designs)|
Roka Sports, Inc
|Toys & novelty goods|
Explore Nook Pty Ltd
Illinois Tool Works, Inc
Van Tonder, Andries Johan
Kambouris Shares Pty Ltd
Fujian Xihe Sanitary Ware Technology Co., Ltd
The Baxter IP approach to filing consumer product patents
- Combination filing strategy: Often consumer products that succeed in the market incorporate a certain amount of aggregation of incremental innovation. A combination of IP filing strategies including standard patents, innovation patents, registered designs and trade marks works well to secure protection over as many of the new functional and aesthetic features as possible.
- File early and file often: Without an initial filing date, all it takes for a third party to make it impossible for you to gain patent protection is the disclosure of your product idea on the internet. Therefore, establishing an early patent filing date for your product by filing a patent application is crucially important prior to any discussion with a third party. Some consumer products have a development lifecycle that extends over 6 months or more and clients often work with product development specialists, such as an industrial designer during this process.With each new step in the design or development of your product you or your industrial designer should consult with your patent attorney as to whether a further product patent application needs to be filed to cover new developments or whether the new developments were already anticipated in your original product patent application.
Depending on specific circumstances, however, other strategies may be more appropriate. It is important to discuss your particular situation with a qualified attorney to determine the best strategy in each case.
Examples of consumer product patent applications filed through Baxter IP
- AU Patent #2019901604 – An improved tremolo device for electric guitars. Hildebrandt, James
- AU Patent #2019900559 – Safety wear. Location Aware Technologies
- AU Patent #2019201085 – Outdoor gas heater. Germania Home Appliance Co., Ltd
- AU Patent #2018903358 – Clothes drying rack. Formica, Guy
- AU Patent #2018902068 – A cleaning pad. O’Brien, Gary
Our foremost experts in consumer products:
What are the key regions for consumer product patents?
- USA – largest consumer product market in the world
- China – 90% of consumer products are manufactured in China and the 4th largest consumer market in the world
- Europe – many countries can be protected by a single product patent application and the 2nd largest consumer region in the world
- Australia – particularly if this is your pilot market and inexpensive
- New Zealand – inexpensive addition to an Australian application as our firm files directly in NZ too