The Danish green tech company, MicroShade, has developed a transparent and energy efficient shading system that does not compromise the access to daylight and a good view. With a solid IP strategy in place, they have built a successful business that accommodates the challenges of constructing climate-friendly and energy-efficient buildings.
Glass skyscrapers are everywhere in the big cities. They allow more space for employees, let in more daylight, and let you look at the view throughout the workday. Understandably, many contractors and business owners choose this solution for their office spaces.
However, if you look at the townscapes from a climate perspective, glass skyscrapers show as red ink on the balance sheet. In more than one way, it is expensive to maintain a stable indoor climate – so expensive that some people argue that all-glass skyscrapers ought to be banned.
The demand for intelligent, climate-friendly solutions is growing rapidly – and this is where MicroShade shines through.
A unique solution to a current problem
Their idea generated from the research on solar cells that took place at the Technological Institute in Denmark. Now, the Danish green tech company, MicroShade, employs 13 people who are all working to set new standards for the construction industry’s approach to solar shading. Many takers are placed in the Northern part of Europe, but MicroShade has projects in many parts of the world and they experience increased curiosity.
Their solution is a custom-made steel membrane, which invites natural lighting inside but keeps the heat from the sun out.
Encapsulated between glazing panes, the membrane appears transparent, however it consists of microscopic lamellas that shade the direct sun progressively.
During summer, the energy from the sunlight is reduced with up to 90% by the MicroShade lamellas. In contrast, the lamellas allow roughly 35% of solar transmittance in the winter, which reduces the need for heating during the cold period.
The technology behind the MicroShade solution is unique – and the firm has well-documented proof hereof. Back when the solution was just an idea among researchers at the Technological Institute, they landed the first patent. Since then, MicroShade has expanded their IP portfolio – and this is a conscious and strategic decision, says CEO, Eik Bezzel:
“It is a question of maintenance. When it comes to patents, it is a one way street – you expand as your business grows”.
IP creates value – for great and small
MicroShade collects orders across different industries, and they often experience that IP rights have scant priority. According to Eik Bezzel, this has to do with the myth that IP rights are the preserve of large corporations.
“An entry barrier is the prevalent idea that you have to be a huge corporation in order to benefit from working with IP rights,” says Eik Bezzel. However, he has no doubt:
“Small companies can easily do intelligent things with patents,” he insists.
IP rights make the small companies eligible for a seat at the table and a voice in the debate. This is extremely valuable when you are to negotiate with architects, contractors and business owners.
“The industries in which we operate are not characterized by patent competitions – many choose other business models, such as keeping trade secrets. Even so, IP is an important focus for us, because it creates business value,” says Eik Bezzel.
works as a patent attorney at Plougmann Vingtoft and is highly experienced within the field of solar energy. He advices MicroShade on questions regarding patents and IP strategies in general and he underlines similar points: “IP creates value for MicroShade’s products because it works as a good sales argument and insures potential clients that the product is in fact a unique technology and a groundbreaking solution for solar shading.”
Prioritizing professional IP consulting
With a relatively small budget, the team at MicroShade are cautious to spend their money wisely. Eik Bezzel says that continuous professional IP consulting is a priority, because it helps them maintain a strong position in the market.
Throughout the years, he has established a good relation to the team of IP experts at Plougmann Vingtoft and he says:
“IPR is not only relevant, when we develop new products. It is also a means to maintain the company’s market position. Therefore, we depend on IP consultants who understand our solutions and our way of doing business. That is exactly what we get at Plougmann Vingtoft.”
Based on advice from a team of IP consultants, MicroShade is able to make informed, sensible decisions about their next move and they will continue building on their IP-portfolio, which right now includes a number of registered trademarks and two patent families.
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