Dyson’s Australian innovation patents help blow copy fans away

Dyson, the UK-based designer of the iconic cyclonic vacuum cleaner and AirbladeTM hand dryer, has been successfully using Australia’s innovation patent system as a key part of its global strategy for protecting its latest design revolution, the Air MultiplierTM bladeless fan.

Over the past 18 years, Dyson has earned an international reputation for engineering and design innovation and excellence. To protect its innovations, Dyson has invested significant resources in protecting the valuable intellectual property relating to each new product. In recent months, Dyson’s IP has allowed it to shut down trade in copies of its Air MultiplierTM bladeless fans.

Australia’s innovation patents

The Australian innovation patent system offers unique advantages over the patent systems in other countries. An innovation patent can be examined and certified by the Australian Patent Office, and ready for enforcement within two or three months from the time an application is filed. Compare this to the years that it can take to obtain an enforceable standard patent in Australia and in many of the G8 nations. Such a timing advantage is particularly useful when copycat products are hitting the market within a matter of months after launch.

Innovation patents also offer a tougher obstacle to infringers, as protection can be obtained for an “innovation”, rather than an “invention”. That is, provided the claimed subject matter is novel and makes a real or substantial contribution to the art, a valid innovation patent can be obtained. As a result, it is often possible to obtain far broader protection than would be available in other countries.

Dyson has always employed an effective strategy of seeking to collectively and individually protect each key innovative aspect of every product it develops, using the full spectrum of IP rights, including patents, registered designs, trade marks and copyright. The inclusion of Australian innovation patents in Dyson’s IP arsenal has made it even harder for would-be infringers to escape enforcement action.

To date, since the launch of its AirMultiplierTM bladeless fans, Dyson has relied strongly on its family of fan-related innovation patents to take action against a large number of infringers in Australia. Many of those infringers have had to deliver up the infringing products for destruction, and have had to pay Dyson compensation. In all cases, Dyson has secured undertakings from the infringers preventing the future importation and sale of infringing fans. Dyson has also obtained valuable information about the source of the infringing fans, which has enabled it to take further enforcement action in countries across the world.

Dyson’s significant investment in IP has therefore proved to be a wise investment.