Case Study: Success Story
‘The strength of the patent and your IP is the real value of the business.’
As his business has grown and he has expanded in to new markets, Lennox has made sure that he has had patent protection for his product every step of the way.
Lennox, a carpenter by trade, came up with the idea in 2007 when hailstones caused around half a billion dollars of insurance losses in Sydney. His product is a polyethylene film that heat shrinks to cover damaged roofs or walls, providing secure, cost effective and lasting weather protection until permanent repairs can be made. Unlike tarpaulins they won’t blow away or leak.
The first thing Lennox did was to ensure that no one else had come up with a similar invention anywhere else in the world. Extensive internet searching convinced him that he had something new, so he thought ‘I’m going to spend my money and get a patent.’
Knowing that IP protecting was a vital part of his plans to commercialise Stormseal, he actually sought two patents - one for the chemical consistency of the Stormseal polyethylene film and another for the method of application. ‘When you join those two together, it’s very strong in regard to people ripping your idea off,’ he says.
‘You can have the greatest staff and you can have great turnover, but really it’s that strength of people not being able to replicate your idea.’
As he has expanded to new markets, he has also expanded his patent protection. First he sought a New Zealand patent, though hasn’t yet opened there. Next were the UK and the US, and he has also recently applied in India and China.
‘We have done it piecemeal and it has taken literally nine or ten years to get where we are’ he says. Piecemeal or not, Stormseal can now manufacture and trade internationally with the security of patent protection.