ABOUT MSA – THE SAFETY COMPANY
The company was founded in 1914, by two US Bureau of Mines engineers who worked with renowned inventor Thomas Edison to develop a small, intrinsically safe battery-powered electric light for use in mines. Since the mines contained explosive gases, the battery powered light provided a safer alternative to open flame head lamps.
- FoundationIP® - IP Management Software
- Patent Renewals
- Implement a sustainable file-free office environment
- Effectively centralise MSA’s global IP portfolio
- Improve the alignment of MSA’s IP portfolio with its core business goals
- Enhance collaboration and communication with outside IP counsel
- Better understanding and management of MSA’s global IP portfolio – able to identify and remove non-performing and under performing patent families from its portfolio, reducing maintenance costs by 30%
- Detailed global invention disclosure process
- Improved visibility into patent portfolio
- Enhanced decision-making on patent renewals
When MSA – The Safety Company decided to centralise the management of the various IP portfolios of its global affiliates, Peter Rutkowski, MSA’s Global Intellectual Asset Manager, and James Uber, Global IP Counsel, knew they had to find a web-based, digital IP management system to replace the individual patent and trademark files located at MSA’s various design centres around the world.
After comparing several competitive platforms, they selected FoundationIP primarily because the system’s electronic filing, storage, scaled cost structure and communication capabilities enabled them to centralise everything in one place. It was also accessible 24/7 from anywhere in the world. FoundationIP’s digital document management solution would not only enable MSA’s IP team to easily locate, access and store case files, it would also help improve communication and collaboration.
Centralised web-based system improves communication and efficiency
A key goal in switching to a web-based file system was to improve collaboration with outside IP counsel and to ensure the patents and trademarks within MSA’s core product categories accurately reflected the company’s business goals. Since FoundationIP is a SaaS-based system, MSA’s IP team can communicate with its global network of IP attorneys via an integrated email platform that uses a unique case reference number to automatically link all correspondence to the appropriate matter. Outside counsel can upload filed applications and docket using the same reference.
MSA also leverages FoundationIP’s Invention Disclosure Module to enhance its innovation process. With 300 engineers located at five international design centres in France, Germany, Brazil, China and the USA, ideas are submitted with all documents, communication and responses and are stored in a single place with the system.
MSA also utilises custom field options to improve the management of key product lines. The ability to segment portfolios into categories allows the company to easily review the age and status of patents, relate applications and cases to specific product lines, and to make more strategic renewals decisions.
Prior to using FoundationIP, MSA received upcoming renewals data from outside counsel in a simple spreadsheet. Each matter had to be manually reviewed in order to decide whether to maintain or abandon the patent across several jurisdictions. Today, using CPA Global’s patent renewals services in conjunction with FoundationIP, a simple report shows patents that are approaching the company’s predefined lifecycle, in addition to those that can safely be abandoned in response to competitor activity.
As well as allowing MSA to send instructions to CPA Global to pay or abandon matters, the annuities interface also collects data inputs and loads them at one time, reducing administrative burden and risk.
Enhanced visibility facilitates informed renewals decisions
Centralised invention disclosure
MSA customised FoundationIP’s Invention Disclosure Module to streamline the submission and decision-making processes. Inventors can now easily submit invention disclosures for consideration. All emails and communication between engineers and IP reviewers are saved and easily accessible in FoundationIP.
Robust search and storage capabilities
Each case or matter stored within FoundationIP is assigned a unique reference number. This ensures all correspondence is automatically filed in the correct place. Even if a document is incorrectly coded, the unique reference number ensures it can be easily located and moved.
Increased scalability and productivity
FoundationIP has enabled MSA to centralise its various IP portfolios without adding to headcount or internal resources. Prior to the implementation of FoundationIP and working within a paper file-based office, MSA’s single in-house IP attorney was only able to manage a US based portfolio that was approximately half the size of the current IP portfolio.
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