Protecting the “next big thing” with IP
From: Canadian Intellectual Property Office
Since 1986, Canada's ProSlide Technology Inc. has pioneered the world's most innovative water rides. Their iconic inventions have transformed the water park industry and received numerous “best ride” awards.
ProSlide continuously strives to create the next big attraction to help their customers distinguish their waterparks and deliver the ultimate ride experience. David Alexander, Senior vice president corporate affairs, explains: “Waterparks in both new and mature markets are looking for the most impactful and iconic attractions to separate themselves from everyone else.” By doing this, the parks attract more and more visitors, thereby increasing their revenues.
With an impressive list of industry firsts, ProSlide recognizes the important role of intellectual property (IP) in its pursuit of innovation. According to Alexander, IP is integral to the success of the company: “In an industry like ours where innovation is everything, we understand the importance of protecting our innovations and brand.”
Rewarding innovation through patent protection
To invent ground-breaking water ride technologies, ProSlide has continually placed an emphasis on research and development (R&D). When the outcome of R&D efforts leads to innovation that is considered to be unique and commercially viable, it is protected through patents.
As the strongest form of intellectual property protection, patents provide exclusive rights to manufacture, use, or sell an invention for up to 20 years.
By rewarding ingenuity, patents provide a strong incentive for innovators. Patent rights help businesses like ProSlide maintain their competitive advantage and profit from their inventions.
Once a patent is granted, technical information about the invention is disclosed to the public to stimulate other inventions.
ProSlide's evolving IP strategy
ProSlide's success demonstrates the value of a flexible and evolving IP strategy, one that is adapted to a company's changing needs.
ProSlide began to build its IP portfolio early on with registered trademarks to protect its corporate identity. As it continued to strengthen its brand with trademarks for its product names, ProSlide had yet to secure IP rights for its inventions.
Recognizing the need to protect its ideas in a competitive and global market, ProSlide began to develop a patent portfolio when one of its inventions, the TORNADO®, achieved international success. With its massive and unique funnel shape, the TORNADO is the most recognizable water ride in the world. Within two years of creation, sales of the ride skyrocketed.
As ProSlide expanded internationally, it continued to strengthen its IP portfolio with patents, industrial designs, trademarks, and trade secrets in each of the countries it entered.
Mr. Alexander adds, “we feel we have been very successful with our corporate IP strategy over the past decade, and this strategy will continue to evolve in the coming years.”
What can we learn from ProSlide's IP success?
- Consider patent protection during the early stages of your invention.
- Through market research, determine if your invention is commercially viable.
- Weigh the costs against the benefits of patent protection.
- Conduct a patent search to ensure your idea has not already been patented.
- An IP strategy doesn't have to be static—it can adapt as your business grows.
- Patent or trademark protection must be registered separately in each country you intend to enter.
- Consult a qualified IP agent to guide you through the complexities of intellectual property law.
Through constant innovation and with a strong IP portfolio, ProSlide has become a global leader in the water ride industry. ProSlide's success demonstrates how effective use of IP can contribute to product differentiation and expansion into international markets.
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