Our newest groundbreaking design is called the Expandable Touchdown, using patented technology that lets the wheels retract to the back instead of below the unit. Early in the design process, it was clear to us that we needed to make sure we kept this innovation to ourselves. That is why we enlisted the help of the team at Patentwerk to support us during the patent application process. Together, we ensured that Expandable was, is, and will be in control of this innovation – the Touchdown procedure.
The Genesis of Expandable
Expandable was founded because our owner Michiel Becx wanted something that wasn’t available on the market – a movable space that is easy to operate, affordable, and with a short lead time. Needless to say, he succeeded at that. The motivation to found Expandable has been the driving force of our company ever since. To be specific, the desire to keep reinventing ourselves to stay ahead of the market, and keep filling in the gaps between what the market has to offer and what the customers want.
Our latest product line, highlighted by the Expandable Touchdown, is the poster child of this mentality. But in order to prevent others from running away with this technology, we had to act. In this newquest, we partnered with Patentwerk to secure the patent needed to stay in control.
Thanks to an ingenious technique, the wheels roll out from under it, after which the Expandable lowers almost to the ground. The low step makes the space easily accessible and more attractive. Previously, the wheels either retracted into the unit (Hybrid Trailer), remained under it (Trailer), or were connected to a separate vehicle (Container).
However, there never was a patent, and with all the time and work we put into the design, it would be a real shame if a competitor ran away with it. But this time, we decided to grab the bull by the horns and work together with, in this case, Saskia Schildkamp of Patentwerk. “Our main task is to describe the crux of the invention”, she says. “If the description is too broad, you risk the patent not being granted. If the description is too specific, the competitor can easily work around the patent.”
Having a strategic partner in the patent application process, we were able to keep focusing on production and development, safe in the knowledge that a technically and legally correct patent application was being made. Not to mention time being spent needlessly on something outside our field of expertise.
“We submit the patent application to the Dutch Patent Office, which is authorized to issue the final patent”, continues Schildkamp. “For obtaining patent protection internationally, we take a different route. Patent granting procedures can take several years. It is important to start before the product is on the market and possibly even before there is a prototype. In the meantime, the company can continue development.”
Dotting the i’s, crossing the t’s
This two-way collaboration resulted in the successful development of a unique product alongside a decisive patent application process that is still continuing. “We are now in the process of having patent protection for the invention applied internationally”, continues Berrie. “Once a savvy person knows how it works, it is relatively easy to recreate. That's precisely when a patent is advisable; it helps you keep a grip on your invention. This patent is yet another step that will help us become even more of an option in today’s industry.”