May 26, 2020
When a company possesses unique technology and strong patent protection, even a small business can become a global market leader. The eight-employee Pegasor has already attracted the US-based CoorsTek as well as big names of the automotive industry from Japan and Germany as partners. The growth strategy includes technology licensing and high-volume industrial cooperation with partners.
When you know that you have developed something unique, the first thing you should do is to acquire a portfolio – and accumulate patents in there one at a time. That has been the path to success for the Finnish Pegasor.
Pegasor is a high-tech growth company founded in 2008 that has developed the world’s first compact, real-time and continuous nanoparticle sensor technology for measuring particulate emissions. It can help improve air quality and life in cities.
“We have come a long way in technology, product and business development. IPR assets have played a major role in the fact that we currently have an international distribution network and significant agreements with partners in the automotive industry in Japan and Germany”, Pegasor’s CEO Juha Kaartinen says.
Pegasor is at the forefront of its own area of technology in measuring particulate emissions. That is why the company has managed to establish its special expertise and basic technology extensively through patents as well.
For a small company with eight employees, Pegasor is active in patenting. It already holds ten patent families and around thirty valid patents in Europe and, for example, Russia, the United States, China, Japan, Brazil and Australia – and several new patent applications are pending.
“In the licensing business, geographical coverage has value. We have also sought to protect our own technical strengths as seamlessly as possible and to anticipate future emission limits in technical solutions”, Pegasor’s CTO Kauko Janka describes the company’s active protection strategy.
Kolster’s European Patent Attorney Ossi Huhtanen has been involved in building Pegasor’s patent portfolio since the first patent family.
“Some of the patents protect large entities and the core technology, some more detailed technical solutions. Pegasor has had the courage to apply for patents in an open-minded and diverse manner in order to obtain comprehensive and extensive protection in its own area of technology”, Huhtanen praises. It has paid off.
The pioneer’s significant patent portfolio and growth potential have not gone unnoticed in the United States either. In January 2015, the conglomerate CoorsTek wanted to supplement its own cleantech expertise by acquiring Pegasor. The acquisition also opened the doors to the growing US market.
“Technology ownership and patents made us an interesting target for acquisition. We are now continuing to commercialise our nanoparticle sensor technology for the global air-quality market on a stronger basis and with better resources”, Kaartinen says.
The utilisation of sensor technology for measuring particulate emissions is the most advanced in the automotive industry. Pegasor’s technology is fast becoming the industry standard in vehicle emissions measurement.
“We have sold several hundred measuring devices for use in the automotive industry in their own research and product development. Nearly all of the world’s major car manufacturers have already utilised our technology in the development of their engines and exhaust after treatment systems at least to some extent”, Kaartinen says.
The company’s growth strategy includes technology licensing and high-volume industrial cooperation with international partners. The aim is for the licensing business to be more significant than the company’s own equipment sales as early as next year.
“It is safe to enter licensing negotiations being able to explain what patents we have in our possession. Patents bring credibility, and through them we are a more interesting partner even for major players. It is also in their interest to protect their own business well.”
Alongside its own product development, Pegasor works closely with both its Japanese and German licensing partners to reduce the emissions from vehicle internal combustion engines.
“The value of the contracts for Pegasor has already been several million euros, even though the development cooperation has not progressed to new commercial products yet”, Kaartinen says.
Partnerships have opened doors to new business opportunities outside the automotive industry as well.
“From the beginning of next year, we will also start introducing even more accurate measuring devices for use at vehicle inspection stations together with our partner.”
More generally, there are huge growth opportunities in continuous monitoring of air quality made possible by Pegasor’s maintenance-free and easy-to-use sensor technology – both inside buildings and outdoors on the streets in a variety of applications. The market is maturing in this area.
With growth, strategic portfolio management and a long-term IPR partnership become increasingly important.
Kauko Janka says that he is pleased to have a long-standing, trusted partner in patent protection.
“It has been an advantage for us that the same patent attorney has been familiar with this area of technology from the outset and understands very well what we are targeting with our IP protection. We have managed to utilise our patent portfolio commercially as well.”
An experienced patent attorney can advise and recommend how you should proceed with protection.
“It has been easy to make decisions based on discussions, background information and recommendations.”
According to Janka, the general educational aspect is also an important part of effective IPR cooperation. It is good to obtain information from an experienced patent attorney about what kind of protection possibilities there are in various cases in the first place.
“It increases your own patent expertise quite a bit when you can ask the patent attorney even things that are not directly related to pending patent applications. Kolster’s seminars have also been useful sources of information for a small company like Pegasor, since we do not have too much time to study the entire and vast IPR area on our own. They have provided updated IPR information in an effortless way.”
According to Juha Kaartinen, the Pegasor® brand is already very well-known in its own technology sector, and the name is identified with high technology and cleantech expertise. Kolster has also taken care of the brand’s protection as a partner.
“We do not want anyone to be able to tarnish our high-tech reputation. That is why we have protected and localised the brand with a Chinese-language trademark registration as well at a very early stage.”
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