Next-Generation Water Management
NORMA Group is an international market leader in engineered and standardized joining and fluid-handling technology. Supplying customers in over 100 countries with more than 40,000 product solutions, NORMA supports its customers and business partners in responding to global challenges such as climate change and the increasing scarcity of resources.
The company’s innovative joining solutions are used in water supply, irrigation and drainage systems, vehicles with conventional and alternative drive systems, ships and aircraft, as well as buildings. NORMA leads with world-class engineered joining technology, which is why the world, and many industries readily acknowledge the company’s next-generation water management solutions. The industries and communities NORMA serves are growing exponentially, and as they do, they are becoming critically reliant on innovative, robust infrastructures for support.
Competitive Industry & Business
Robert Kusche, the in-house patent counsel at NORMA Group, says “competitive intelligence and innovation data are essential to our development strategies. We use this information as a part of our daily routines, not only in the IP department but in engineering and R&D as well.” A key part of Kusche’s role is keeping pace with competitive IP and technology intelligence to understand and assure freedom to operate in the many different markets the company serves as well as new trending technologies.
When Kusche joined NORMA, he used PatSnap to connect disparate innovation data. He started the process by setting up automatic alerts for the different fields of technology NORMA operates in. “These alerts are sent monthly, which provide me an easy place to analyze the results, and then discuss the results with our technical teams – first with key users and then in the broader global group with all the respective people that are involved in a specific field of technology.” In addition, PatSnap provides NORMA with the necessary tools to ensure freedom to operate when undertaking new projects.
Patent and R&D insights and data play a critical role to NORMA. Kusche says, “It’s very important we are aware of other parties’ patents, especially in the field of automotive suppliers because this is a very competitive industry and a very competitive business. Not only to understand the R&D efforts of our competitors, but also to ensure we have freedom to operate and aren’t infringing with our various ongoing projects.”
Collaboration is Key
Kusche notes that when it comes to innovation and patent work, the process is always collaborative. “The engineers can’t do this alone, nor can I do it alone. We must do it together and that’s also what’s most successful.”
The engineers have technical experience in the product and fields of business the company works in, and Kusche has patent experience to be able to read and interpret claims. Through this collaboration, Kusche says, “I am able to tell them what is in the claim and to discuss what is in their product, if it is covered by that claim or not, and how we can design around it.”
Workspaces is also a key tool the NORMA Group uses for collaboration purposes. With the results from Kusche’s ongoing alerts, he has several workspaces organized for each of the technical fields where he can manage the results. “I can select the important patents and add them to their respective workspace which is also shared with the engineering teams. We then classify the results together, adding customer comments based on patent relevancy or interest.”
Extensive Time Savings
According to Kusche, PatSnap also provides NORMA with significant time savings when it comes to innovation. “When using my workspace to directly distribute the results to our respective technician or engineer. This saves us a lot of time, and at the end of the day, time is money.”
Moreover, Kusche pointed out that PatSnap not only provides benefits in terms of time savings but also gives NORMA a competitive advantage. He added, “By using PatSnap and adopting new processes, we can now monitor third-party patents much more effectively than we ever could before with any other tools.”
Some of the key features that help Kusche’s team maintain this advantage are:
- Dual View: One of Kusche’s favorite features is dual view, he says “having the two screens enables you to see all the data, claims, bibliographic data, and images, all at one time, making it super easy to analyze patents.”
- Translations: The machine translation offered adds convenience and efficiency “In the past if there was something interesting in another language, we would be able to see the image and would have to use another translation tool, but it was tedious and not always a good representation. PatSnap’s machine translation provides all the information we need at one time, which is a really great feature.”
- Semantic Search: The semantic, or similar patents search is “very useful when you have found something of interest, and you want to see if there is something out there that is similar. It very quickly gives you are overview of what is out there in this specific topic.”
He emphasized, “PatSnap’s dual view and the machine translation being available within one tool is something I have never seen before in any other tool, to me those features are truly perfect and make my day-to-day much easier.”