The sound of Denmark

Leaving aside gastronomy and design, it is probably wind power and telecommunications that make a bell ring around the world when talking about Denmark. However, Denmark also reverberates throughout the world when it comes to sound. In fact, the sound industry is predicted to become Denmark’s next big growth-adventure. Right now the sound entrepreneurs stand in line to launch their new innovative products. On the occasion of World Intellectual Property Day Michael Friis Sørensen – one of Denmark’s leading IP attorneys when it comes to development and patent protection of audio technology – gives a piece of advice to the many new sound talents out there.

We have recently lost one of the pioneers in the Danish sound industry! Per V. Brüel, founder of the world famous Brüel & Kjær, which manufactures advanced instruments for measuring sound and vibration, died the 2nd of April – shortly after his 100th birthday.

As already suggested, Danish Sound is far from dead – on the contrary! In Denmark several of the world’s leading hearing aid companies are domiciled, for example Oticon, Widex and GN Resound. Recently the high-end speaker company Dynaudioreceived money from a huge Chinese investor, as did also Libratone who has built, on record time, a strong brand with their wireless design speakers. The latest evidence of Denmark being highly specialized within sound was when American Harman International Industries acquired B&O’s car stereo for luxury cars in March. Bang & Olufsen received as part of the acquisition agreement a prepayment of 1,170 million DKK and a license fee per unit of a minimum of 12.7 million DKK for at least 20 years!

Sound quality at all levels
Even though the market for traditional hi-fi speakers is relatively limited, Dali is another fine example of a Danish company doing well in the sound elite and competing in a difficult segment. Denmark audio provides equipment at all scales, from party-at-beach-speaker from Audiocase to Steinway Lyngdorf’s dream-hi-fi for the world’s richest people. Also when it comes to generating good vocal sound, Denmark is among the best, for example within scene microphones from DPA Microphonesand studio equipment from TC Electronics.

The Innovation Network Danish Sound has been instrumental to Danish sound finding again the melody after a period of crisis. One way has been to bring together the many talented Danish sound engineers with different professional groups. This has lead to new products and projects emerging. The House of Sound in Copenhagen and a new Electro Acoustic Design Center in The City of Sound, Struer (Jutland), is other evidence of the forces assembled to preserve Denmark on the sound world map.

Patents can make the difference
The strong Danish sound tradition makes it possible to attract money from major US and Chinese investors, but good sound and good design alone is not enough! Experience shows that the heavy commercial players find it very important that businesses in which they invest knowingly work with intellectual property – i.e. patents, trademarks and designs.

If a business manages its intellectual property rights properly, it sends a clear signal to competitors in the market and shows evidence that a company works professionally with its product. Thus, a patent may at first glance seem to be an expensive and insignificant investment for a startup company, but the chance to move up in the big league increases markedly if the business protects its technology in its early days.

Read about our work with Libratone

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