Read the article in the latest issue of the World Intellectual Property Review (issue 4/2022) written by our European Trademark Attorney Riikka Palmos.
A patent portfolio increases your company’s value and spurs global success – Case Virta
A growing number of people are choosing the climate-friendly electric car. These vehicles can be charged at stations bearing the logo of Virta, a Finnish electric vehicle charging company. Intellectual property has played a key role in the company’s fast global success.
Virta was founded in 2013 by a number of Finnish energy utilities. Electric vehicles were on the rise, and their batteries needed to be charged. Today, the electric vehicle charging platform technology offered by Virta is serving several international charging network operators and energy utilities.
Virta has become a Finnish market leader in the electric vehicle charging business with the largest public charging network in Finland. The company is also enabling electric vehicle charging all over the world, and serves over 200 charging networks with over 30 brands. Their solutions help to build an eco-friendly society.
Virta’s charging stations are available in public spaces, but also at hotels and shopping centers offering a charging service for their customers. Charging stations can also be installed for apartment buildings or private homes.
– For the consumer, it’s easier if we have one global charging network. Our application enables drivers to find the closest charging station and pay for the charging, says Jussi Ahtikari, CTO at Virta.
Patenting increases the value of your company
Virta is operating in over 25 countries and employs over 90 experts. The company’s main office and product development are based in Salmisaari, Helsinki. Sales offices are located in Sweden, Germany, France and the UK.
As Virta made the decision to go international a few years ago, they became aware of how crucial intellectual property really is – it’s a topic investors will invariably bring up, because patented technology increases the company’s value.
– We didn’t have much patenting expertise, but potential investors would ask about patents on a routine basis. That’s why we contacted Papula-Nevinpat, Ahtikari recalls.
– Virta is operating in a fast-growing industry where competition is tough. As your patent portfolio gradually becomes public, it also serves as a deterrent to copying, says Tomi Konkonen, European Patent Attorney from Papula-Nevinpat, who has been working with Virta from the start.
– So we can be sure that someone else hasn’t already patented any of our key solutions. Knowing this, we’re able to sell and develop new services with positive expectations, Ahtikari adds.
More innovation and benefit to the whole industry
A patent portfolio can also drive innovation, benefiting the whole industry. Virta operates in a new field of business with no established practices.
– We always ask the question if some invention would have already been invented by a competitor, or if we could patent it. In that sense, IP also drives creativity, says Ahtikari.
– As a relatively new company making new things for future needs, we can bring benefits to the whole industry.
Konkonen points out that Virta has already patented some pioneering inventions. Their IP portfolio is still young and growing, but it already includes about 10 IP families, some with several members.
Software patenting on the rise
Traditionally, patented inventions have been physical products, like devices. But now software patenting is rising, and for instance the biggest filers for a European patent today are software companies.
– In principle, software is not eligible for patenting. What you can patent, however, is what happens on the servers – what the software does to Virta’s mobile application or charging station, Konkonen explains.
Virta is particularly satisfied with Papula-Nevipat’s experience in software patenting.
– At first, we were unsure if it’s even possible to patent software, says Ahtikari.
– The people at Papula-Nevinpat have the ability to turn our vague ideas into a concrete patent application. They explain how the patent application goes through the process, what to do at each stage, and where to file each application. They know all the legalities, and always make sure we get the best possible outcome.
An IP firm frees you to do other things
When dealing with a new industry, even the officials are not always up to date. Papula-Nevinpat has also helped Virta to draft statements and explain new concepts in the application process in order to prove that the invention is new.
The future of electric vehicles looks bright, and Ahtikari is confident that the inventions made by Virta will be at the core of the industry. While Papula-Nevinpat is taking care of the company’s IP portfolio, Virta is now free to focus on conquering the global market.
– We can rely on Papula-Nevinpat to take care of our IP. We have so much underway right now. There’s just no way we could handle all of this without a partner, Ahtikari sums up.
Protecting your invention begins already during product development. Papula-Nevinpat’s IP experts help you to evaluate the extent your idea can be protected as well as the right protection strategy. We look forward to hearing your idea – just contact us!