The benefits of inhouse IP attorneys
Updated: Mar 23
Duku has worked alongside its sister company Albright IP from its inception as they recognised the advantage of bringing design and IP together for their clients. Duku Director Andrew Aylesbury explains why …
The most obvious benefit is to remove the client’s responsibility to act as liaison between Designer and Patent Attorney. This is a role which can put a lot of responsibility on the client to interpret what Designers are telling them and then relay that in detail to Patent Attorneys.
Ideally design information has to be presented to IP Attorneys in a way that allows the Attorneys to recognise what is important. Clients may struggle to achieve this – and why should they? It’s not their area of expertise.
In our opinion, it makes a lot more sense to have a direct conversation between Designers and Patent Attorneys throughout the development process. This allows Patent Attorneys to ask about a design, establishing what is innovative and asking pertinent questions as they review it together.
It enables the Attorneys to get the benefit of the Designer’s thinking and understand what has been changed, altered or discounted during development to arrive at the solution, all crucial details for a patent application. These details can easily get overlooked, especially the development history of the design, however it can be critical to help form a robust set of claims.
Without all this detail, there’s the potential for patent applications to simply not cover the design as thoroughly, leaving them more likely to be rejected during the examination process, requiring expensive revisions or reworking.
It’s not just the clients who can benefit from this approach - there's a benefit to the Designer, too.
Design for IP
With an IP Attorney on hand, the Product Designer can properly investigate using a pre-application patent search whether any similar ideas already exist. This is crucial for an invention to be patentable as the invention must be novel.
The search results enable Designers to understand where they can and can't go with their design ideas before investing too much in the design. It may also help them fine-tune their ideas to ensure that the design is novel and innovative.
Having regular communication as the project progresses can also highlight whether the design has a patentable feature early on, so it can be protected even before the final product is delivered.
We’ve seen for ourselves how important the relationship between Duku and Albright IP is. There have been several occasions where early searching has given us insight, showing we were at risk of patent infringement if we continued along a particular development route. It’s also helped us to make decisions about which way to take a design enabling our client, to protect it effectively.
Sometimes ideas do not make it to the initial launch product, however we have been able to capture those further ideas or features for the client to exploit with a follow up product launch saving cost in further IP filings.