We work with Ag-Tech Industries to put in place a strong suit of intellectual property around the remarkable Lifeguard® roll-over protection device. This has included negotiating and transferring the intellectual property rights to the invention from the inventor to its new owner, as well as securing patent and trade mark protection in New Zealand, Australia and other international markets of interest.
When a quad bike or all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rolls over it can crush the rider, causing serious or fatal injury. Unfortunately, accidents like this have been steadily increasing on farms and other workplaces. While traditional roll bars may provide some protection, their rigid structure has the potential to injure the rider, so their value has been questioned over time.
Realising many of these rollover accidents would be survivable if the person could escape from under the vehicle, or the impact from the vehicle on the person was less severe, Vernon Suckling of Ag-Tech Industries set about finding a solution.
He commercially developed the ATV Lifeguard®, a remarkable quad bike crush-protection device. It has the instant flexibility to shape itself over a person on the ground while retaining the strength to bear the load of the bike on each side, as well as during the rollover.
Before taking the ATV Lifeguard® to market, the team at Ag-Tech Industries needed to ensure there was a position in the market for the product and it would be possible to obtain commercially useful protection. If that proved to be the case, they would have to secure the appropriate intellectual property rights to the Lifeguard® rollover protection device in New Zealand and overseas. Only then would they have a strong platform on which to commercialise their technology and to prevent copy-cat devices being developed by competitors. They engaged the experience and expertise of the firm right from the start.
“Once I knew the device would work, I went to a couple of places to see about getting a patent in place. The firm just seemed to get the invention right away and they clearly knew what they were doing,” explains Vernon.
Duncan Schaut, Senior Associate, assisted Ag-Tech Industries to put in place a strong suit of intellectual property around the Lifeguard® device. This has included negotiating and transferring the intellectual property rights to the invention from the inventor to its new owner, as well as preparing patent and trade mark protection in New Zealand, Australia and other international markets of interest.
“Duncan’s very good. He’s easy to get hold of, understands the engineering side, knows what he’s doing and explained things to me along the way. Things like the importance of not just covering the actual device but the principle behind it, the flexibility,” says Vernon.
The result is strong intellectual property protection for Ag-Tech Industries, giving the company the confidence to move into new markets and safeguarding their investment in developing this innovative device. Strong intellectual property protection will also preventing unsafe copycat products entering the market.
“Our relationship was good, so I went back to them for the trade marks and they worked through that with me. Duncan introduced me to Lucy, one of the trade mark specialists, which made it all very easy for me,” says Vernon. “They’re genuinely interested in our success and Duncan still drops in to see me from time to time.”
The invention generated immediate excitement as a great piece of engineering with the potential to save lives. It wasn’t long before the device received significant national awards, including the Innovation of the Year Award at Mystery Creek Field Days. It’s also causing quite a stir in farming circles around New Zealand, Australia and wider international markets. Commercialisation and distribution of the Lifeguard® product has now been taken up by Landcorp Farming Limited, as well as several other overseas farming institutions.