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Rights: © Copyright 2013. University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
Published 4 December 2013
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Albert McGhee and Iain Hosie, from Revolution Fibres, discuss the importance of intellectual property for their business.

Jargon alert

IP: intellectual property is often referred to as IP.
RFID: radio frequency identification. These are technologies that use radio waves to identify people or objects carrying encoded microchips.
Patent a document granting an inventor sole rights to an invention.
Trade secret: information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors.

Transcript

Albert McGhee

IP is the lifeblood of this business, it’s the lifeblood of any business that’s really focused on innovation. Best way to think of IP is just simply knowledge and knowhow about things, and so in that sense, it can be market insights, technology, a whole range of different things, it’s really that knowledge. And so it’s important to capture that knowledge and keep it say within a business and help stop it leaking out. But similarly, you want to share some knowledge, some IP with your clients. You need to be open in some areas so they can understand how you can help them. So there’s a fine balance between protecting IP and sharing IP.

We have a number of different ways that we protect our IP, primarily as a locked door, RFID keys and everything else, because there are a lot of IP that’s not appropriate to be patented because patents require disclosing what that is. So we keep that behind a locked door like most people do in our industry. But when it comes to the actual products, that’s when we patent it. So Xantu.Layr Gold has a patent pending on it. We also have a number of patents pending in some of our cosmetic applications.

Iain Hosie

The key piece of ownership, the IP that we have in our business, is how we make fibres out of various materials. So it’s not just that production technique but also the solutions – the way in which we create polymer blends in order to create fibres that behave in a certain way. That’s the sort of thing that we hold as a trade secret. We’re not averse to patents, but at the moment, this business is just continually developing techniques, and it might be some time before we actually are in a position to patent some of these.

Acknowledgements
Revolution Fibres:
Albert McGhee, Iain Hosie
Cody McClure