FIBERBINDER: Patent strengthens the future competitiveness

A Danish start-up company has developed a new ground-breaking product which will handle the big problems, that asbestos creates for both employees in the construction industry and the environment. Protection of the intellectual property rights is an important part of  the business strategy.  

– Imagine if it would be possible in a rather simple way to minimise or even prevent a lot of the health issues dealt with in especially the construction industry because of dangerous fibres from asbestos and mineral wool. This would make a huge impact to both the employees and to the industry in general, says Jesper Haunstoft, co-founder of the Danish start-up company Fiberbinder ApS.  

It is exactly this impact Fiberbinder is trying to create with their product, which binds dust from materials containing asbestos and mineral wool. To be exact, the dust contains very small fibres which can get into even the smallest branches in the lungs. By binding these fibres to the surface, health related risks involved in renovation tasks, as well as in the following activities in the work area, are reduced significantly.

The idea of developing Fiberbinder was based on initiatives from the Netherlands, where it was decided that all asbestos must be removed before 2024. If any, Jesper Haunstoft, who has worked in the painting industry and who is the manager of a medium-sized painting company, knows how difficult this process is.

The Fiberbinder founders Morten Einshøj and Jesper Haunstoft. Photo: Fiberbinder

– In the construction industry, asbestos and mineral wool are a big problem. When I talk to demolition workers, carpenters and others from the industry, they all say that it is a huge problem. Often it is not possible to remove the dust completely, even with vacuum cleaning or ventilation, conflicts arise quickly, and the working environment is unhealthy, says Jesper Haunstoft and continues:

– Therefore I discussed with some colleagues from the construction industry that it had to be possible to solve this in some way, which is both safe for humans and the environment. And I then started experimenting by mixing different products which could be applied to a surface and made it easy to trace where the product had been applied.  

An essential part of the business strategy

The Fiberbinder product is the first of its kind. Therefore an early protection of the intellectual property rights is an important factor in order to increase the value of the company and ensure the future competitiveness according to Claus Elmeros, who is an expert on IP rights at Plougmann Vingtoft. 

Claus Elmeros, Senior Patent Attorney, Plougmann Vingtoft

– Many underestimate the importance of a patent. They see this as an expensive process, which can either be postponed or is entirely unnecessary, but a patent should be seen as an essential part of the business strategy. By protecting your rights, you protect your business and ensure the best opportunities for development and growth of your company, says Claus Elmeros and continues:

– A patent can be a decisive factor when a company wants to look for new business opportunities. When you have a patent, you can prevent a competitor from entering the market with exactly the same product. It is possible to make a so-called licence agreement based on a patent right with e.g. a manufacturer who can set up his/her own production in return for payment of royalties.

With a patent you ensure that your company will have more development possibilities. You only need to make sure that your patent is registered on those markets which may be of importance in the future. Therefore it is also important to include IPR at an early stage as an essential part of the business strategy.

A long but necessary process

It has now been 18 months since Fiberbinder filed the first patent application with the European Patent Office, EPO.

Since then the company has been on a long journey where both the Fiberbinder product itself and the application has  developed significantly, and in October 2022 the international patent application waspublished.

– It has been a long process, and the world of patents can be somewhat of a jungle to understand. It is a world, which is far from ours. Really far. Therefore we are happy to have received help from Plougmann Vingtoft. Claus has really managed to make everything understandable and has eased the process a lot. It is very important that you trust the people you talk to, and it has also been important, that we could feel Claus’ excitement about it  and that he sees the potential, says Jesper and his co-founder in Fiberbinder, Morten Einshøj, adds:

– The patent is a building block in the business strategy which shows that we are serious about the product and the ’fiberbinder method’. This is clearly important when we tell about the product to different stakeholders. And a patent gives us protection so that potential future competitors will not be able to simply copy our product. We welcome competition, but others will have to manage on their own and develop their own products.    

Focus is towards the future

Fiberbinder is still in the early start-up phase, but the overall plan is ready. Having the IP rights in place, Fiberbinder is ready to first conquer Denmark and afterwards look beyond the borders to other relevant markets.

– We can feel, that the interest is really starting to show, and we are attracting attention from many different places now. The production in Denmark has been set up, and we are ready to press the ’go’-button, when the time comes, says Jesper Haunstoft, and Morten Einshøj adds:

– We see Denmark, as the country where we start, but it is definitely not the country, where we end. People all over the world become ill from asbestos, and we would like to help do something about this.

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