Peter:

About six or seven years ago, we found that there was a need for an improved telehealth service, a device, here in Australia and globally. We created a company from scratch called VisionFlex. VisionFlex has two key products. One is a universal telehealth hub which we've designed, called the ProEX. That is an all-in-one device that allows a very high standard of care for a patient for remote assistance. The second product is a universal handheld camera called the GEIS.

Understanding intellectual property and using it internationally allows for protection for the company and its money spent, also for the design of the product, and for the technology used within the product. The whole idea of protecting what you've invented or created is extremely important because that forms a part of the value of the company. Having the design in-house, having the build in-house has been very important. It's allowed us to secure the IP.

In this particular case, the design of a telehealth device, usability is so critical. In the process of initial design, we basically sit around a large table with a big sheet of paper and a pencil, old school. We have some fabulous people in this team. We come together, we work it out, and we listened to everybody. With both products, the best way to protect these devices in this early stage was to have a design certification.

That design registration allowed you to describe the product, and then visuals there to substantiate what is written. With the design registration process, right from the start we were told the idea here is to get protection in as early as possible. Get the initial process started, get the drawings in early, get the description in early, ensure that the outline of the product was very clear.

By having those drawings in place and having the design certification, that straightaway affords us some sort of certainty that somebody can't just copy it out and market it. Even the names, the trade marks, can also be protected well. That was key because it was not only Visionflex, but it was then ProEX for trade mark, which is the telehealth hub; GEIS for the universal camera. A number of different new products coming along the way, because once you actually have any exposure in the marketplace, any advertising, marketing, or papers, or otherwise, in the market, you can't go back.

We have a current patent pending, and a second one just about to start work on right now. This is a little bit more challenging because you've got to have something that's pretty unique. If you talk about a product in general, it's very hard to get a patent on a general product. In our particular case, we ended up with this patent pending on an interconnection part of our device, which is a little bit innovative and a little bit clever.

The choice to actually build here in Australia on the Northern Beaches has been very clear. We've got access to some of the best industrial designers and IP lawyers. There's a very good climate for innovation. You don't have to go through the red tape. You can just pick up the phone, talk to IP Australia, and you can talk to the regulatory people very, very quickly and simply, and get an answer. The whole idea of protecting what you've invented or created is extremely important, because that forms a part of the value of the company. It also gives you some credibility in the marketplace.

Last updated: 
Monday, May 10, 2021