Press release, CreateIP, Christchurch, 8 March 2010: According to Robert Snoep, founder of a new Christchurch intellectual property consultancy CreateIP, the US patent system is currently hostile to US patent applicants.
He says, “What was once a relatively predictable process that rewarded good applications, US patent acceptance rates have now almost halved the levels they used to be. Legitimate patent applications are being rejected by examiners who have been emboldened by a US supreme court decision ruling to get tough on the inventiveness of patent claims. The measure of patent quality now seems to be correlated in an examiners mind with low acceptance rates at present.”
Robert is an experienced IP attorney with a long history of helping Kiwi companies to create, protect and defend their intellectual property (IP) for their commercial advantage. He gave up his partnership at his previous firm to establish CreateIP in November 2009 with the aim of helping local companies achieve some certainty when deciding to apply for and obtain IP protection in the current and future environments.
“Most of our customers sell their innovations around the world, and the US is an important market for them. To help increase the chances of getting their patent granted in the States, we help companies to convert their good idea into an IP proposition that makes strong commercial sense in the US, as well as locally and in other countries.” he says.
Fortunately, there is hope for NZ companies applying for US patents. Robert explains that “In the past there have been swings for and against patent applicants and no doubt the pendulum will swing back the other way again. A new US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) administration is in place and there are signs of changes, hopefully to the benefit of patent applicants with good quality applications”.
Robert established CreateIP with a focus on providing in-house IP advice for small to medium enterprises. Formerly a trained engineer with a Masters in Engineering Management (MEM), Robert turned his focus to intellectual property law in 2001 when he joined a recognised IP specialist firm as a patent attorney. He later quickly progressed to become a Partner in the firm. Wanting to provide a more boutique and personal approach to IP advice, Robert set up CreateIP to offer customers a service that he found lacking – a personal approach to IP advice with agreed costs and deliverables.
“Working in-house for the customer – whether it would be for a few hours or several days each week – makes a huge difference to the management of their IP, as we can achieve far greater depth in their IP strategy than any external contractor could. This is because we develop intimate knowledge of their business strategy, technology, products, and people.
Also, with our expertise on tap, customers can redistribute their resources as their existing parties divest their responsibility in IP management. It’s a win-win solution for everyone,” says Robert.
With a focus on helping Kiwi companies protect and prosper from their ideas in New Zealand and overseas, CreateIP has already attracted a number of key customers, including Comvita New Zealand and Hubco Automotive along with a number of other companies.
Robert also works closely with TechNZ and encourages companies to apply for grants that can help fund their path to commercialisation including strategic use of IP. He says, “Our mission is to maximise value by creating IP strategies that ensure our New Zealand customers prosper from their ideas locally and off-shore. We offer a personal, experienced and results-focussed approach, and we won’t leave any stone unturned.”