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To the patent specialist, quality comes first

07.09.2018
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September 7, 2018

During his career, Antti Plathin has accumulated a remarkable combination of experience in the patent sector. The expertise of this top patent professional is further complemented by his specialisation in design rights.

Broad experience an asset to the client

I provide services to my clients in all IP matters related to patents, utility models and design rights. I am motivated by the opportunity to fight for my clients’ success and standing on the markets.

Three key players are involved in the process of protecting innovations: the applicant, patent official and attorney. I have had the privilege of experiencing all three of these roles, as a patent examiner, patent engineer in an international technology company and, since 2011, as a patent attorney at Kolster. This multifaceted experience is helpful for obtaining protection that covers the client’s innovation in an optimal manner. 

Competitive edge in protection

If your business involves creative work, you should carefully consider which parts or features of your product or process you do not want others to copy. The essential question is: “Which features of my innovation do I want to protect?” After this, it is the attorney’s task to find an answer to the next question: “How can the protection be obtained?” 

The results of product development can be protected by patents, design registrations and utility models; the most suitable form of protection is selected on a case-by-case basis. Regardless of its form, protection is more valuable the more it benefits business operations.

Quality eliminates problems

I do not want to compromise on quality in my work. However, the quality of a patent application can often be difficult to measure. High quality usually translates into freedom from problems for the client, but freedom from problems does not always mean that the application is of high quality.  I would say that the best indication of an application’s quality is the level of protection it in the end grants for the actual invention.

A patent application must be accurate in terms of its technical content. Naturally, the choice of words and formalities observed in critical clauses are also important. In addition to these, a good application has depth, a tactically favourable description of the invention, and the widest possible scope of claimed protection. In this way, one can prepare for potential infringement disputes and attempts to annul the patent. When drafting applications, I always look ahead in anticipation of situations where my client’s patent must be defended against attacks by competitors in opposition hearings or court proceedings.

Countering counterarguments

The content of the application and the attorney’s expertise play a crucial role if the patent office is unwilling to grant a patent or a competitor is truly committed to having a patent cancelled. It is not uncommon that a small detail buried in dozens of pages of text proves decisive to grant and survival of the patent. Such details are not inserted by accident.

The early years of my career as a patent examiner made me a professional in the critical assessment of applications and provided me with a solid foundation for drafting patent applications. In this line of work, it is an advantage to be able to assess the application critically during drafting and analyse the invention as an impartial observer. The attorney must be able to foresee various types of counterarguments and write an ‘antidote’ to them already in the first application concerning the invention.

Right to prohibit competitors

It is always interesting to come across products that are inferior to my clients’ products. The reason may be a patent or a design right I have drafted, which simply prohibits others from using the best possible execution. Similarly, it is rewarding to see a client’s company succeed on the basis of a product that I have protected. A strong patent has value on the markets.

A partner worthy of your invention

The key to ensuring the effective protection of an invention is selecting a competent partner. A good partner will plan and prepare the client’s application from start to finish, and make the right strategic choices during the course of the process. When your IP partner genuinely cares about the quality of the end result and the future of your business,  your invention is in good hands.

Cooperation between the client and patent attorney is at its most efficient and effective when the partnership is a two-way street. The attorney in such a partnership must be proactive, resourceful and well-versed in the client’s field of technology and business, as well as capable of taking the initiative and broadening his expertise. It is in the client’s own best interests to educate its IP partner in the particularities of the field and strategic business goals. The prerequisites for a strong end result are that the client can trust the attorney’s expertise and that mutual communication is effective.

The client’s viewpoint is valuable

IP protection must account for many factors, such as the products of competitors, in addition to the client’s products and business. A clear understanding of future trends in the client’s sector helps in building suitable protection.

My clients range from large, global companies to SMEs and private individuals. At Kolster, I work with patent engineers, inventors and product development managers from my client companies, helping them to meet challenges similar to those I faced during my years in industry. It is important to identify what the client wants and needs. 

Design right or patent?

To ensure the best quality results, a patent attorney must be able to suggest the most suitable form of protection or combination of protections for a situation.

In addition to patents, I specialise in design rights, which are intended to protect the external appearance of a product or device. Through my work with design rights, I have had the privilege to familiarize myself with industrial design process, and with various forms of consumer product designs.  

I have found that patents and design rights complement each other very effectively as forms of protection. In fact, I am often tasked with preparing a patent to protect a device’s technical solution at the same time as a design right to protect the product’s appearance. 


 Contact us

Antti Plathin, antti.plathin@kolster.fi, +358 40 7047227