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For this year’s World Intellectual Property Day, Groupe SEB recalls the essential role that industrial patent registration plays to foster and enrich innovation and creativity to enable innovative players to become stronger and more competitive. With some 250 million products manufactured each year, protecting innovation is a priority for the Group.
The mission of the Industrial Property Patent Department and the Legal Department - Intellectual Property at Groupe SEB is to support R&D, design and marketing teams throughout the process of product creation by detecting the innovations to be protected. Products are covered by patents for technical inventions; and by designs and models to protect the products' aesthetic form. In 2020, Groupe SEB filed 443 patents, 312 models and 166 trademarks worldwide.
Industrial Property Patent also plays a crucial role in defending the group's interests by combatting brand, patent and model counterfeiting and copies. This approach consists of an active watch, notably in regions reputed to be at risk and on online channels (brand protection), as well as the technical and legal analysis of competing appliances relative to our patents. In the event of proven breaches or violations, the IP department asserts the Group's rights and implements anti-patent infringement actions in our key markets in the form of transactions, seizures, production stoppages or even destruction of molds and products.
Groupe SEB and its Chinese law firm WanHuida received the 2021 UNIFAB Award in the “Best court decision” category at the 25th European Intellectual Property Forum. This award is the culmination of several years of legal proceedings in China to protect one of
Groupe SEB's most disruptive innovations, the Actifry fryer, which cooks fresh fries with just one spoonful of oil.
Patents essentially play two roles: a legal role, as in intellectual property law, they enable the holder to protect and profit from their invention, and a role as catalysts of creativity and innovation, thanks to the technological information they contain. For several decades, our patent monitoring strategy within the Group has consisted in providing scientific and competitive knowledge to our innovation teams, using patent material including 90 million publications comprising 90% of scientific knowledge. The innovation community includes more than 1,500 employees in R&D, Marketing and Design. Beyond the products, Groupe SEB strives to enrich the consumer experience by developing services and solutions to respond to major societal and consumer trends.
Since Groupe SEB was founded in 1857, innovation has always been at the heart of its strategy and values. The Group’s history includes a long list of innovations in disruptive concepts, new functionalities as well as ingenious discoveries. From the Super Cocotte pressure cooker (1953), to the Cookeo food processor and the Cuisine Companion; including the (almost) oil-free Actifry fryer (in 2006), and the nonstick frying pan (in 1956) or the self-cleaning iron (2008), this innovative spirit is part our Group’s purpose: better daily living for our consumers throughout the world.
Innovations are supported by a globally recognized trademark portfolio (including names such as Tefal, Moulinex, WMF, Rowenta) or regionally (Seb or Calor). The Group has a portfolio of 31 major trademarks to protect, as well as product names such as Actifry, Companion, IXEO, etc. that have become references in their product categories. In total, Groupe SEB holds around 20,000 patents and over 20,000 trademarks and designs worldwide.
Organizing a World Intellectual Property Day enables us to highlight the key role that patents play in innovation strategies. Patent strategies bring numerous benefits. They are a source of creativity for inventors, a means of monitoring and negotiating with rivals and partners and, above all, a legal means of protecting our competitive advantage via anti-counterfeiting actions. Filing a patent is always a risk, because we never know if the invention will be produced, nor if it will be a commercial success. Protecting our innovations also means recognizing the commitment of our teams in their projects to develop new products and services.
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