‘Batteries not included’ or ‘I forgot the batteries’. The dreaded words to hear at Christmas time. And now it’s not limited to birthdays and Christmas presents. The bane of modern technology (especially when we forget them!) batteries seem to encroach more and more into our lives.
There used to be a limited range of equipment and toys that would use them. But now they have become almost ingrained into our daily products. Our phones, our remote controls, our wireless speakers, all powered by a storage device called the battery. The products we’re consuming are doing more than ever before and the demand for better and cheaper battery power only increases.
The battery world has moved a long way in recent times. Lithium ion batteries are found in many of our everyday devices - our mobile phones, tablets, laptops and digital cameras. These batteries give us freedom from being plugged into the wall, but become a bugbear when we drain them! The constant battle to stay connected has spurred innovation with larger and more efficient batteries.
After-market battery products for phones can extend battery life for hours or even days. The car charger is a must for road trips and power banks let us charge on the go and are beoming a necessity for travel. Larger battery packs for phones add weight and size to your phone, but can gives you extra days of battery life. Small solar panel setups to charge your phone or power bank have also made an appearance onto the market.
A leader in technology products, Apple has filed numerous battery and power related patents here and abroad. From our patent search tool, AusPat, these patents include:
- Magnetic shielding in inductive power transfer
- Monitoring a battery in a portable electronic device
- Wound battery cells with notches accommodating electrode connections
- Charging assembly for wireless power transfer
- Wireless charging station for an electronic device
These patent applications don’t necessarily mean they will appear in the next little while, they may form part of the process of creating a product. Depending on how a business operates, some patent applications are filed to protect the idea from competitors. There may be other commercial reasons for filing, or even for not filing IP right applications. IP professionals can play an important part in assisting businesses in making decisions around the IP they need.
We see new products turn up on the shelves every Christmas. This year’s hot items are old hat by next year. But a lot of work goes into these innovations. There is research, testing, distribution marketing and looking after IP like patents and trademarks. But that all goes on behind the scenes. As customers, we just see new and amazing things to ask for at Christmas time.
What battery powered products will top the list of must haves for this Christmas? What will we see at this time next year? If anything, the future seems to show we’re going to be more tied to our batteries than ever before, not just powering our Christmas, but our lives.