The world is full of innovators, bringing new ideas, products, technologies, and inventions of all kinds to people across the globe. However, success is not universal - something that gets wildly popular in the United States might never find a foothold overseas, while a product originating in Japan might become such a trend that the inventors seek protection for their creation in America.
Hartman Global Intellectual Property Law are experts in the field – with more than 30 years of experience protecting clients’ creations and brands with patents, trademarks, and copyrights around the world. One of their key responsibilities is to help their clients make the best decisions on where to seek protection and over the years have seen many unique trends rise and fall in regions across the globe – or even within the borders of a single country, where the lay of the land often inspires new creations.
“There’s definitely a geographical aspect to things,” said Domenica Hartman, IP attorney and co-founder of Hartman Global said. “You can see an example with wind turbine-related patents coming out of California in the Yucca Valley, where you have huge stretches of miles and miles of turbines. It’s kind of a chicken and the egg scenario, some companies are already out in these locations and make use of the environment to enter the industry, others might see a need and locate their company there to address it.”
Mountain ranges, forests, deserts, coasts – a region’s unique features lead to countless inventions. Sometimes innovators help people adapt to them with special tools and equipment, others look to harvest food or minerals. While sometimes, Hartman’s clients find new ways to protect the world’s most beautiful landmarks.
“Australia is very green and eco-conscious,” she said. “Inventors of environmental-related ideas are wanting to file over there because they’re being so proactive about tackling the issue over there. Up until recently, in all our years at work, we’d had one patent for coral reef-related ideas, right now we have three applications from the US being filed in Australia because there’s such a push to save the Great Barrier Reef.”
Other times, companies make creations that treat regional palates – such as Urschel Laboratories, whose food cutting machines help sate an international craving for potato chips.
“They file globally, and because of that I’ve come to appreciate that Belgians, over in Europe, eat the most potato chips per person out of anyone in the world,” she said. “It’s such an interesting tidbit, if I’m ever on ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire,’ that’s one question I could answer.”
Purdue University is another one of Hartman’s global clients, who create unique, high-end technologies that they protect around the world. It’s also the home institution of a philanthropic professor doing incredible work to help impoverished communities create self-sustaining food sources with unique, but low-tech solutions.
“He does a lot of work in developing countries to help these very impoverished areas grow gardens and be self-sustainable,” she said. “He’s coming from Purdue, which has these extremely high-tech ideas, and then with him, we’re filing applications internationally for tools that are essentially fancy boxes.
30 years of history have also allowed Hartman Global to see how current events, and sometimes tragedy, can lead to people stepping up to help. In 2004, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck the Indian Ocean, devastating communities on the ocean’s coasts. One Sri Lankan man approached Hartman Global, he wanted to make an organization that helps his people.
“We did some trademark and copyright work to help him establish a nonprofit to assist families impacted by that tsunami,” Hartman said.
“They came to us within a week of it happening and they’re still working with us today. The events of the day certainly get people moving forward.”
Sometimes those events spark a surge in creations that do not always take off, despite the mass interest. Hartman cited the COVID-19 Pandemic as the biggest example.
“Clients were coming to us with things like face shields, wipes, dispensers for disinfectants, everyone from individuals to universities and large corporations were getting involved,” she said. “A lot of those patents wound up abandoned because the client just didn’t want to keep pursuing it. That’s been the biggest flash in the pan.”
To learn more about Hartman Global IP Law, visit hartmanglobal-ip.com.