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How Halton uses IPR to keep fresh air flowing indoors
Halton has been providing indoor air solutions since the 1960s. With Papula-Nevinpat’s help, the company has built an IP and trademark portfolio for some of the world’s most advanced indoor air technology.
One of the many effects of the global pandemic is increased attention to indoor air quality. In environments visited by many people – public buildings, restaurants, offices, etc. – keeping the air fresh not only reduces the risk of people breathing in viruses, it also helps to improve overall well-being. Clean air is vital to our health.
Ventilation is a massive market with many different niches. Several of these are being served by Halton, a family-owned company from Finland that has been designing, manufacturing and delivering indoor air solutions since 1969. Today, the company has customers around the world and employs some 1600 people in 36 countries.
Halton started out making indoor air solutions for office spaces and public buildings, but now its largest source of business is the food-services industry. Prominent references include the Hyatt Regency in Mexico City, The Shard’s Oblix restaurant in London, and the St. Regis resort in The Maldives. The company also has a strong presence in the health and maritime sectors.
“Innovation and product differentiation are super important for Halton,” says CEO Kai Konola. “Take demand-control ventilation, for example. We created an infra-red sensor for professional kitchens that can detect when cooking events are about to take place, so that ventilation can automatically turn up or down depending on need. This kind of solution can bring energy savings of up to 70%.”
“The smartest demand-control applications we offer are based on technology we’ve developed ourselves and protected with patents,” he says. “Creating IPR is a big driver of business advantage for Halton. We’re also active in taking care of our trademarks so that we don’t become exposed on that front either.”
Collaborating with customers
Halton’s engineers work closely with customers to develop solutions for specific use cases.
Collaboration with a healthcare client, for example, led to the development of intellectual property for creating ultra-clean operating theatres. The more people there are in a surgical environment, the greater the need for ventilation. So Halton developed and patented a solution that can assess the microbial load in the air and make automatic adjustments to the volume and flow patterns of fresh air.
Similar collaborations have led to other innovations. For example, in cooperation with healthcare customers and partners, Halton has developed a protective airflow solution to help prevent medical staff in hospital environments from being over-exposed to pathogens from their patients.
“The protective airflow pattern is designed to prevent bacteria exhaled by the patient from entering the breathing zone of medical staff. This makes their workplace safer,” says Kim Hagström, Halton’s Director of Technology and Offering.
Protecting IP and trademarks
With all this innovation, Halton has worked hard to protect its IP. The company has fought several infringement cases over the years, in some instances preventing the infringement or agreeing on a license fee reward for Halton.
“Together with Halton we actively follow the patenting actions of the company’s competitors,” says Papula-Nevinpat patent attorney Mikko Nissinen. “We also help Halton to spot upcoming trends in the industry so that these results can be utilized in Halton’s own product development too.”
Halton currently holds some 130 patents and files several new applications each year.
“When Halton wants to introduce a new brand, we always conduct trademark searches to see if there might be an obstacle,” says Papula-Nevinpat European trademark attorney, Heidi Mikkola. “The company is very active in looking out for infringements and has a good trademark portfolio with well-protected brands. We go through the portfolio together every year to see what needs to be renewed.”