Working around blocking patents


Electrolux was developing a novel feature for refrigerators and found its development blocked by a competitor’s patent. It asked Innovia to assess the blocking patent and to explore alternative options for delivering this new benefit to consumers.


Innovia used proprietary software to explore prior art and assessed the blocking patent to create arguments for invalidity. In parallel, building on the consumer’s experience and understanding of the fundamental science we created a toolbox of alternative solutions. Working alongside Electrolux’s own team we assessed the opportunities and prioritised a portfolio of the best options.


From Innovia’s work, Electrolux created an alternative design that will be protected by existing IP. The alternative both delivered the benefit and also met Electrolux’s cost and timescale criteria. A new product embodying the feature is due in 2008.