The basics of patents explained

    August 14, 2023

    Why do patents exist?

    Patents have been instrumental since the Industrial Revolution for stimulating innovation by providing entrepreneurs with a time limited exclusivity on their inventions, allowing them the opportunity to make a return on their original investment. The inventors must fully disclose their innovations to the public, and once the exclusivity period expires the invention is free for all to use. The patent system is still used by large and small entities or individuals to protect and monetize their intellectual endeavors.

    What is a patent?

    A patent is a national right allowing the patent holder a limited duration in which they may prevent others from commercially using the invention. A patent holder may authorize others to use the invention. This way, competition in the market is opened up and the innovation process can continue to flourish. This is the principle behind the creation of Signify’s EnabLED patent licensing program.

    What does a patent cover? How is a patent read?

    The scope of the rights in a patent is defined by the patent claims. The claims are found at the end of a U.S. patent, and before the figures in a European patent. When all the elements of a claim are found in a product and such product is brought to the market without the permission of the owner, then that product ‘infringes’ the patent. A patent owner may request that the maker, importer, or seller, stops using the patent, or it may choose to grant a license.

    Who bears responsibility for branded products?

    When placing products in the market the seller assumes responsibility for all applicable regulations including patent law relating to those products, even if they are manufactured by third parties.

    What are the options within Signify’s EnabLED patent licensing program?

    If a branded product makes use of one or more Signify patents contained in the EnabLED program then Signify offers the owner of the brand under which the product is offered a license agreement which settles for the past use of the patents and provides permission, in return for a royalty, to continue to use the patents.

    In summary


    By encouraging investments in Research and Development, patents are key in driving innovation. In addition, patent licensing activities, such as Signify’s EnabLED licensing program, allow access to key technologies enabling the whole LED industry to benefit from the research and development efforts of others.

    Should you have any questions on how the EnabLED program can benefit your company then please refer to our website or contact us via email.

    About Signify


    Signify (Euronext: LIGHT) is the world leader in lighting for professionals, consumers and the Internet of Things. Our Philips products, Interact systems and data-enabled services, deliver business value and transform life in homes, buildings and public spaces. In 2023, we had sales of EUR 6.7 billion, approximately 32,000 employees and a presence in over 70 countries. We unlock the extraordinary potential of light for brighter lives and a better world. We have been in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index since our IPO for seven consecutive years and have achieved the EcoVadis Platinum rating for four consecutive years, placing Signify in the top one percent of companies assessed. News from Signify can be found in the Newsroom, on X, LinkedIn and Instagram. Information for investors is located on the Investor Relations page.

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