Helvar has a long history and a bright future in intellectual property
Laura Sepponen • Patent Engineer • Helvar
Today, April 26, is World Intellectual Property Day. Intellectual property includes both industrial property rights (trademarks, patents, designations of origin, industrial designs and models) and copyright. Of the industrial property rights, most important for Helvar’s business are trademarks and patents. I look after the latter.
A search for Helvar in a patent database gives today 694 patent documents in 434 patent families, meaning that over the years Helvar has seeked to patent 434 separate inventions. The oldest patent document I found is a Finnish patent granted in 1945, based on a patent application from 1939, or 80 years ago. The patented invention was a mechanical locking device that could be used to quickly change from one short wave radio frequency to another. Interestingly, especially suitability for military use was discussed - less than two months before Finland was drawn into the Second World War.
Helvar’s patent applications from 1950’s were related to, for example, treatment of tobacco. The first lighting-related patent application was filed in 1968, related to fluorescent lamps and ignitors. That invention was also patented in Sweden and Norway. Many other lighting-related applications have followed since, and in addition to Nordic countries, Helvar has held patents ranging from Philippines to Brazil and Australia to Soviet Union.
Even though Helvar has been actively patenting its inventions for 80 years now, over 20% of the public patent documents have been filed in the past 10 years. Interestingly, the same percentage applies also for the number of patented inventions, even though there have been significant variations over the 80 years in how many and which countries we apply for a patent. With emerging wireless lighting controls, radio technology has made a comeback to Helvar patents, this time without obvious military applications.
In addition to patents, Helvar currently has altogether 125 trademarks in 38 countries.