As technologies progress and change, so should your approach to developing and managing your IP portfolio. Years ago, it used to be sufficient to secure one or two patents on a new product. These days, more and more companies are looking to expand developed concepts across many platforms in order to secure robust and broad IP portfolios. As one example, reported in SAE, Case Construction Equipment recently filed thirty (30) patent applications on a compact dozer loader. The compact dozer loader represents a cross-over between features of a compact track loader (CTL) and features of a bulldozer, and is configured to run all of the attachments that one might use for skid steers and CTLs, thus reducing the need for contractors or other users to own multiple pieces of equipment. The patent applications are directed to many concepts, from the frame to the CTL-dozer cross-over controls.
To develop a broad IP portfolio in heavy industry, consider how products across various lines could reuse inventive concepts so that new concepts for a given component, such as the skid steer described above, might relate to larger or other related equipment. Your IP strategy should recognize the potential for cross-over and reuse of inventive concepts up front, and while you may harness the inventive concept from a certain product, you should also consider broadening to other example products and think about how the inventive concept would be adapted to those products.