Delivering a Sustainable Future
Hundreds of household products, including nonstick cookware, waterproof clothing, and electronics, are made with highly toxic, fluorinated chemicals called per- or poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). These chemicals build up in our bodies and are often referred to as ‘forever chemicals‘ because they do not break down naturally in the environment. Very small doses have been linked to several health problems, including cancer, reproductive and immune system harm, as well as other diseases. Today, most people, including newborn babies, have PFAS in their blood, and up to 110 million people may be drinking PFAS-tainted water.
Puraffinity is a spinout company from Imperial College London that specializes in designing and manufacturing novel advanced materials for environmental benefit, focusing initially on PFAS removal. They have developed an innovative adsorbent media allowing an easily deployable solution for addressing PFAS compliance. As a sustainability first company, their mission is to create a material that is not only cost-effective, but also capable of fitting into our increasingly urbanized, highly populated world — with an ultimate goal of providing clean water to communities around the world experiencing water scarcity and contaminated drinking water.
Sustainability First Innovation
Simon Foxon, Head of Product Development at Puraffinity, is involved with providing technical leadership to their product development team, capturing new IP, and ensuring their developmental activities are aligned with their commercial goals. He has vast experience in green technology companies, and now is helping to develop Puraffinity’s new water treatment technology in hopes of one day enabling communities around the world to have access to clean drinking water.
As a startup, Puraffinity is in a high growth stage, and “To become a successful company, having access to analytics and innovation data is invaluable. It ensures we have an understanding what our competitors are doing and it’s vital to have this data when we’re trying to generate structures that are completely new” says Foxon. For Puraffinity, patent filings and IP is a great pre-revenue indicator – “having a strong patent portfolio is important, and it also looks good to investors. If you have an idea, you can wrap it up in IP and it’s watertight.”
Stronger Decision Making
To have access to innovation data in-house, Puraffinity turned to PatSnap. “Having the capability to do freedom to operate searches ourselves saves us time and money” says Foxon. They are now able to do 85% of the work themselves in-house, before going to their outside counsel for final analyses. As a team they are able to evaluate the preliminary research being done, ultimately leading to stronger decision-making and better outcomes, at earlier stages of development.
Since bringing PatSnap on board, Foxon has found they have three main ways they utilize PatSnap’s Connected Innovation Intelligence platform. Firstly, to gain a 360-degree view of what their competitors are up to. “We have a good understanding of who the big players are, so we can do competitive analysis ourselves with your visuals and landscapes on the areas they are active in, and where they’re not as active – what countries they are and are not patenting in.” Secondly, they utilize Discovery to find startups in their field, some of which may be operating under the radar so they may not necessarily have been aware of them. “It is very useful for getting a feel for who the big players are, but also the small players in the space, and sometimes how they’re all related as well.” Thirdly, they utilize PatSnap to get a deeper understanding of the patents themselves and an in-depth look at the claims and details contained in them.
Multi-Layered Functionality and Visuals
According to Foxon, the multi-layered functionality and visual features of PatSnap are what make it stand out. The AI-powered technology extracts the key themes and keywords from your ideas and groups the corresponding related patents in an easy-to-digest, visual format. For Puraffinity, the ability to quickly analyze the landscape and competitor activity from a bird’s eye view, as well as take a deep dive into the patent data, has allowed them to have a deeper understanding of their industry and informed them on “how to carve out their own niche in the patent landscape.”
Since Puraffinity transitioned to using PatSnap, they have a clearer, more comprehensive picture of the industry, the chemicals and the patents associated with their research. Some of the key features that help Puraffinity obtain this picture are:
- Patent landscapes are especially useful because you can see where all the competitors are operating and where they’re clustered, “It’s not based on a single technology as well which is useful”
- The analytics in Insights where you can share your idea, and “the platform pulls out the keywords and patterns, as well as the groups within each of those keywords”
- The Discovery module is especially helpful to get an overarching picture of the industry, including the big players, investments, and smaller startups that “may be operating under their radar”
When asked, Foxon encourages others to try out PatSnap for themselves. “If you want to get really deep into patent data and analytics you can, but you don’t need to be a specialist in patents to get value out of it [PatSnap], because a lot of the hard work is done for you.”
- The ability to perform FTO (freedom to operate) analysis in house
- Anticipate and envision the R&D efforts of competitors
- Track industry startups that may be working under the radar