MATTER: Widely applicable technology makes patenting a matter of scope

Minerals matter – and so does the scope of your patent if you are marketing a technology with a wide array of applications. Norwegian Matter managed to secure a European patent with the broadest possible scope for their mineral technology.

Imagine that your water bottle provided all the minerals your body needs in an easily digestible form. That your toothbrush naturally made your teeth stronger. That band aids actively sped up your healing process. That your razor helped prevent acne.

Norwegian Matter’s innovative mineral technology does all of that and more. It is an electrode-based technology, and since Matter have miniaturized the technology, it can be applied to almost anything.

A unique way to release vital minerals

The miniaturized technology releases mineral ions into e.g. water, food or directly onto the skin. It is a unique way to release vital minerals such as magnesium, zinc or calcium in a controlled way in the exact location where the mineral is needed and in a natural form which is easy for the body to absorb. In traditional dietary supplements, minerals are bound to other substances, which makes them less effective and harder to absorb.

“Mineral deficiencies are common, even in developed countries, and they can cause severe health problems. In the US, for instance, studies have shown that 80 % of the population lack magnesium,” says Vidar Saue, Head of Development at Matter.

Photo: Matter

Matter’s green technology can be adapted to specific needs and lifestyles. The durability of each mineral patch can be adapted to the specific application, and there is no need for an external power source. The liquids already present, such as water, saliva or sweat, function as electrolytes in place of batteries.

Patent consulting: a matter of trust

Matter is owned by Brage Innovation and headed by CEO Titti Kristin Østerberg and Head of Development Vidar Saue. In 2013, they enlisted Plougmann Vingtoft to help with the patenting of their widely applicable invention.

Titti and Vidar knew that patenting was crucial to protecting their idea and attracting the right investors, and they knew they needed expert patent consulting.

“Even for me as an engineer, patenting is too complex,” Vidar Saue says, smiling.

“We chose Plougmann Vingtoft as our patent consultants, because we wanted someone with a solid understanding of European patents,” says Titti.

“We also talked to other patent consultancies, but Plougmann Vingtoft’s experts treated us as equals. They understood our needs and quickly became a trusted partner in our development of the concept,” Vidar adds.

Plougmann Vingtoft’s patent consultants helped Matter evaluate the commercial potential of their idea, advised on finding investors, and managed the patent drafting, filing and granting process.

One invention or multiple?

The technology’s strongest point – its various applications in health and lifestyle products – turned out to be a challenge in the patenting process.

Matteo Biancardo, European Patent Attorney and partner at Plougmann Vingtoft, was in charge of Matter’s patenting process. He explains why patenting the technology as one invention proved difficult:

“From a patenting point of view, it was a very interesting case. It is a general solution that can be used for various applications. We saw it as one invention and attempted to patent the technology as a single, general concept covering all the different applications of the technology, but at first, this was not recognized by the European Patent Office. They viewed each application as a separate invention.”

The reaction from the patent authorities made Matteo Biancardo adjust the way they explained the concept as one invention to the international patenting authorities. As a result, Matter managed to secure a patent with a wide scope.

The technology has granted patents in Norway, Europe, China and Japan and pending patents in Canada, Korea, India and the US.

Photo: Matter

“Patentwise, Matter is in a very strong position. The patent has already been granted in some key markets and can be enforced in the largest international markets,” says Matteo Biancardo.

Next step: The world

Titti and Vidar have big plans for Matter. With their strong patent foundation, they can license the technology to others. However, they are planning to move forward with their own concept.

“We are looking for an investor who can help us go worldwide with Matter. Our vision is for everyone to know who and what Matter is!” says Titti.

Make your patent protection as broad as possible

Matteo Biancardo urges anyone with a widely applicable invention to make the scope of their patent as broad as possible before testing the commercial potential of the technology and seeking investors.

“Consider your patent protection as your tool box, and make the “box” as large as possible; then go find funding to support it. This way, you protect your own interests, and, at the same time, you make your invention more attractive for investors,” he explains.