Harnessing the Benefits of Process Patents
Aug 11, 2022
WPL has been granted a patent for its cutting-edge WPL Hybrid-SAFTM process technology. The patented technology employs a submerged moving-bed, fixed-film reactor which can treat wastewater with greater energy efficiency compared to traditional submerged aerated filters (SAFs), in a tighter site footprint whilst meeting environmental compliance.
In granting the patent, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) has recognized that the technology is new and is not being used anywhere else. WPL has demonstrated this is an innovative step, that it is moving the product forward.
Specifically, the process patent relates to the way wastewater is made to recirculate within the biozone and how we can get an even distribution of flow across the media. WPL is doing this in a way that has not been done before.
Once it has been decided to take a patent forward, a lot of effort goes into writing the abstracts and application. It then goes to the IPO, which reviews and comments, and it goes back and forth for a while until it is eventually granted.
This procedure is fairly time-consuming and can take anything up to five years. The good thing is that as soon as you file, the status is recognised as patent-pending and you are protected.
But, of course, the protection offered is the biggest driver. We see it as a ‘keep off the grass’ sign and expect companies not to breach the patent. We also think that the idea of having a patented product is appealing to customers.
WPL is continually looking at how it can develop the technology further and has sponsored a PhD student to research more opportunities and enhanced efficiencies. This signals the company’s wholehearted commitment to and investment in on-going research and development.
Value from innovation
In terms of return on investment, the Hybrid-SAF process technology is proving its worth. It is a significant part of WPL’s business to invest in research and development, and innovation. There is always a risk, but the successful outcomes of our patent applications demonstrate that the investment is all worthwhile.
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