In the next two blog posts, I will pick up questions that we encounter again and again at work. Because both can't be answered so easily in a few words, a blog post (or two) is needed.
"Do you have the patent on the Merus Technology and the Merus Ring?"
To answer this question, I refer to information provided by the German Patent and Trade Mark Office and to considerations made when founding Merus. A patent is intended to protect a product or process from imitators. It is valid for 20 years and can be extended beyond national borders if required.
This means that Merus has been around for around 23 years, and the technology has been around even longer. If there had been a patent, it would have expired already.
And this is also where the argument begins, which has spoken and still speaks for Merus against filing a patent application. The patent application contains a detailed description of the "invention", which can also be supplemented with drawings and examples. This also means that any freeloaders could now access this information and launch similar products on the market. A patent valid for 20 years in Germany costs about 14,000€ over the years. In addition, there are possible costs for lawyers, etc. if it should be necessary to defend the patent. After all, a patent on paper does not make the invention unassailable.
We are also active worldwide. This means that only by having a patent in Germany is our Merus Ring still far from being protected from imitators. Which, of course, increases the costs many times over.
All in all, we are of the opinion that a patent and everything that goes with it is more expensive than the risk of copies. The patent is not financially worthwhile for Merus.
What makes Merus different?
This question brings me to the second part of my detailed answer. A patent can make sense if you want to prevent an invention from being copied and thus lose customers. In addition to the Merus Ring and the technology, however, it is crucial that our Merus Ring is installed correctly in the right place. This is particularly important in industry. In the case of kilometer-long branched lines with hundreds of devices, the planning of the installation is the main part of the work.
The most important part of our product is the consulting service, which is based on many years of experience. It can neither be copied nor protected.
This means that a Merus ring, without the necessary knowledge about its use, is basically useless, which is why we have decided against filing a patent application and are very satisfied with it so far.