Acquisition of Swiss lens manufacturer adds 70 patents to Meta’s portfolio, bringing total to 160
As the current economic downturn fuels a wave of insolvencies and new acquisitions, protecting intellectual property is of critical importance to Canadian companies. Following the recent acquisition of the assets and intellectual property of Swiss lens manufacturer Interglass Technology – which includes more than 70 international patents – Metamaterial Inc. has joined patent protection community, LOT Network, in an effort to protect its growing patent portfolio from patent assertion entities – also known as patent trolls.
In view of the acquisition, Metamaterial now has more than 160 patents to its name, together with five registered trademarks, so protection of intellectual property assets is top of mind for George Palikaras, founder and CEO of the Halifax, NS-based smart materials and photonics company.
“Being a member of LOT helps me sleep at night,” says Palikaras. “We want to have a certain quality about the way we treat IP and the way we are perceived by our partners. If a small company like us ends up going under and our IP ends up in the hands of a patent troll, then our partners and everyone else in the network is protected.”
Since Metamaterial went public on the Canadian Securities Exchange in March 2020, the risk from patent trolls is heighted, Palikaras says.
“That’s when trolls come out from the woods because they know you’re growing and you have money to pay,” he says.
LOT Network currently protects more than 1,100 members in 36 countries from litigation from more than 3-million patents. The international community of high-tech companies offers immunity from patent trolls (companies that acquire patents solely for the purpose of filing lawsuits against other companies.) When a member of the network sells or transfers a patent to a patent troll, other members are automatically granted immunity from all future lawsuits involving that patent.
In addition to joining LOT Network, Palikaras and the team at Metamaterial have adopted a number of other strategies to protect their patent portfolio. Every year the company works with intellectual property law firms in the UK to conduct what Palikaras calls a “patent landscape exercise.” The exercise involves examining the portfolio to identify potential infringement and assessing business development opportunities. For the last four years, Metamaterial has also subscribed to patent analytics tool, PatSnap, which can simulate merged IP portfolios to assess the landscape.
“This exercise is very important because we have done two acquisitions of companies,” says Palikaras. “It allows you to run a number of different analyses to see the IP landscape and see who are the inventors.”
Other members of LOT Network include market leaders such as IBM, Toyota, Visa, Canon, Google, Amazon and Microsoft, in addition to small innovative companies across industries.