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Ride2Work Day: What role has intellectual property played in the success of the Brompton folding bike? - Intellectual Property - Australia - Mondaq News Alerts

Ride2Work Day: What role has intellectual property played in the success of the Brompton folding bike? – Intellectual Property – Australia – Mondaq News Alerts

Australia:

Ride2Work Day: What role has intellectual property played in the success of the Brompton folding bike?

18 October 2018

Shelston IP

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It’s that time of the year again: it’s National
Ride2Work Day (Wednesday 17 October 2018). With this in mind, I
thought I’d take the opportunity to show my appreciation for my
favourite way to travel to work: the Brompton folding bicycle. I
take a brief look at the bike and the role of intellectual property
in its success.

What is a Brompton bike?

The Brompton folding bicycle was invented by Cambridge
University graduate Andrew Ritchie in 1975 and named after the
Brompton Oratory in South Kensington, London, which his flat
overlooked. It folds conveniently into a compact package and,
despite its small wheel size, displays surprising acceleration and
nimble handling. Designed for commuters, this iconic bike is
popular the world over.

Intellectual property protection

Patents

Patents provide protection for inventions which are new,
inventive and useful. The original Brompton patent (EP 0 026 800
B1) was filed in 1979. This patent has long expired, so how is
intellectual property contributing the continuing success of the
Brompton?

Know how

These days, whilst the manufacturing of certain parts or
processes is outsourced, the core production work is still carried
out at Brompton’s UK factory. The manufacturing is complex and
the company designs all of its own tooling. Keeping this know how
within the company makes the bike difficult to copy and helps to
keep the company a step ahead of potential competitors.

Designs

Brompton Bicycle Limited has a collection of registered designs
for various bike parts, such as brakes and grips, registered in the
UK and Europe. These registered designs protect how the parts
look.

Trade marks

The company also owns several internationally registered trade
marks, including the word mark “Brompton” and an
instantly recognizable picture mark consisting of 3 bikes,
stylized, in unfolded, partially folded and fully folded
configurations.

Each trade mark acts as a “badge of origin”,
identifying the source of Brompton bikes, parts and accessories and
related services.

Marketing

Interestingly, Brompton Bicycle Limited does not advertise. Its
marketing philosophy is to produce a great product that its
customers love and to let its happy customers spread the word. And
it works … arguably this article is one example!

The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.

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