Mechanical Engineering & Mining Patents
Mechanical engineering, mining and processing inventions have been with us since the industrial revolution and create incremental and sometimes revolutionary changes to our standard of living, industrial capability and resource availability. As reported in the 2017 study by IP Australia on Australian patent filings, mechanical engineering was the second most popular industry, following the electrical sector, for patent filings. Small and medium enterprises were the key applicants for mechanical engineering patents.
What mechanical systems are patentable?
So long as your mechanical apparatus or process invention defines at least one new and inventive feature with functional utility, it will be patentable in any country around the world. Any apparatus having a new combination of features that have not been put together before, or any process that includes a series of steps never done together; and which offer benefits or advantages that have not been possible before, could be patentable.
Benefits and challenges of filing mechanical engineering patents
Mechanical engineering patents can be used to prevent competitors from commercialising an invention in the country where the patent is granted. A patent typically gives the patentee the sole right to make, use, exercise, sell, offer for sale, or import the protected invention.
In addition, patent rights can be sold or licensed for use like property. Licensing can be negotiated by industry, time, regions, parties or the like.
Typically, the real value of patent becomes important once a market has been established for the invention.
The existence of a patent or patent application can be important when attempting to secure financing from investors.
For this reason, using a patent attorney that has a relevant technical background, and understands the meaning or industrial context of your invention, is indispensable in ensuring that the broadest scope of protection is applied for and to ensure that your competitors cannot design around the scope of protection of the patent.
Examples of granted mechanical engineering patents and mining patent applications
Auto Electrical Imports Pty. Ltd.
Alenia Aermacchi S.p.A.
Välinge Innovation AB
|Mining equipment and systems|
Da Gama Industries Pty Ltd
|Commercial food service equipment|
Urschel Laboratories, Inc.
|Heavy engineering vehicles and equipment|
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Engineering, Ltd
|Logistics, materials handling and packaging|
Shenzhen Kangaroo community cross-border e-commerce Co., Ltd
|Manufacturing machinery and processes|
Integrated Packaging Australia Pty Ltd
Halliburton Energy Services, Inc
|Pumps, turbines and engines|
Grundfos Holding A/S
Agricultural Magnetics, Ltd
|Recycling processes and equipment|
|Dispensing systems and devices|
Heraeus Medical GmbH
|Safety products and systems|
SawStop Holding LLC
Oy Forcit AB
The Baxter IP approach to filing mechanical engineering and mining patents
- Focus protection on competitors, not consumers: It is important that patent claims be written by your patent attorney to ensure that competitors that will be producing the claimed mechanical apparatus, or carrying out the protected process, will be found to be infringing your patent – and not your customers.
- Protect the consumables: Where possible, it is important to protect not just the mechanical apparatus or inventive process, but also consumables used in or with the apparatus or process. In this way, the important commercial advantage and revenue stream are protected.
- Focus protection on protecting a commercial advantage, not just a mechanism: The wording of the patent claims should be broad enough to protect the commercial advantage of the invention, and not the particular mechanical apparatus.
- Protect product made by a process: Protecting products made by a particular process can also ensure that the main consumer markets for those products can be protected.
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 mechanical engineering and mining patent applications filed through Baxter IP
- AU Patent #2019901413 – Raw water purification. Hunter H2O Holdings Pty Ltd
- AU Patent #2019901383 – A tyre assembly. Andersen, Brian
- AU Patent #2019900518 – Weapon targeting training system and method therefor. Sinab Technologies Pty Ltd
- AU Patent #2019203003 – Orbital sprinkler with speed control brake. Nelson Irrigation Corporation
- AU Patent #2019200317 – A system and a method for generation and delivery of thermal energy. Hiremath, Rajeev MR
Our mechanical engineering and mining industry experts
What are the key regions for mining patents?
- USA – The top commodities mined in the US include coal, crushed rock, cement, industrial and construction sand and gravel, copper, gold and iron ore, totalling nearly USD 90 billion. Newmont Company, the second largest gold producer in the world and a considerable player in copper and silver, is based in Colorado.
- China – Mining majorly contributes to China’s economy, with the country being both the largest producer of certain mining products and the largest consumer of others. The largest fractions of the world’s coal, gold and several rare earth metals originate in China. China produces approximately 440 tons annually and overtook South Africa as the world’s largest gold producer in 2007. Meanwhile, China consumes approximately 49% and 58% of the global demand for thermal coal and iron ore, respectively. Most of the largest mining industry players in the country are government owned, such as China Shenhua Energy Company Limited. China’s largest state-owned mining company is the largest coal venture in the country and is the third largest mining company in the world.
- Europe – The region is rich in natural mineral deposits such as lignite, gold, coal, and different ores yielding metal substances used in infrastructure, construction, manufacturing and agriculture. Several of the world’s largest mining companies are based in Europe, most notably of which is Switzerland-based Glencore, which is ranked as the 10th largest company in the world according to the Fortune Global 500 list and the largest mining company in the world in terms of revenue ($219.75 billion in 2018).
- Canada – Canada is one of the top global producers of economically important minerals and metals, such as potash (first), uranium and niobium (second), nickel, gemstones, cobalts, aluminium and platinum group metals (third), among others. Barrick Gold, the world’s largest gold mining company, is based in Toronto.
- Australia – Mining is one of the major industries in Australia, providing a major source of export income and employment. Mined materials are exported with minimal processing within the continent. Australia is the largest exporter of lithium, which is valuable in the production of glass, aluminium products and most notably, batteries, but its primary export earner is coal at more than $61 billion, followed by iron ore at around $60 billion. Australia supplies 25% of iron ores globally and is the second largest supplier following China. In addition, Australia is second to the Asian giant in terms of gold, producing approximately 300 tons of gold annually. BHP, the largest mining company in the world based on a market capitalisation value of $87.86 billion in 2017 and fourth in terms of revenue of $43.34 billion in 2018, has its global headquarters in Melbourne.
- Russia – Owing to the country’s sheer size, Russia houses vast mineral reserves and is thus counted one of the leading producers of natural mineral resources globally. The country is home to the largest diamond mines in the world, such as the Jubilee Diamond Mine in Yakutia, Republic of Russia, which contains an estimated 153 million carats of recoverable diamonds, including 107.131 million carats of JORC-compliant probable reserves. In addition, Russia is second to the US in natural gas production, and the world’s largest natural gas company, Gazprom, is majority owned by the Russian government.