Chemistry for optical products – AlphaMicron

Photo of Chemistry for optical products – AlphaMicron

Background

AlphaMicron was founded in 1996 by three professors from Kent State University’s Liquid Crystal Institute, specifically to create a liquid crystal technology for the US Department of Defense. They developed a unique technology that can change the tint (colour) of a lens within the blink of an eye. This electronic tint-on-demand technology, e-Tint®, is the only technology that can address the challenges of varying light and weather conditions.

AlphaMicron now offers an array of e-Tint® products including ballistic goggles and sunglasses, motorcycle visor inserts, automotive and avionic window and mirror applications, and medical and protective eyewear. This revolutionary material is made in the USA and is engineered, designed, and manufactured at its headquarters in Kent, Ohio.

The Challenge

Forresters was asked to take over representation of AlphaMicron’s patent matters in Europe and the UK, which mainly consists of filing and prosecution of patent applications in those jurisdictions. The patents focus on liquid crystal materials but also structural and electronic features of practical liquid crystal assemblies. Forresters equity partner Matt Barton works closely with AlphaMicron’s in-house counsel in the USA, developing strategies and arguments to obtain grant of commercially strong patents. This involves site visits to Ohio, to discuss ongoing matters with counsel and inventors, for a deep understanding of the technology. We are proud to consider ourselves part of AlphaMicron’s team in Europe.

Action taken

In addition to day-to-day European patent office (EPO) prosecution, we have fought hard to achieve success for AlphaMicron at the EPO Boards of Appeal (the effective judiciary of the EPO). When an important case was refused by the examining division, we took the case to the Technical Boards, who completely reversed the decision to refuse and provided useful comments explaining why the AlphaMicron product was inventive. The patent is now granted and we are developing strategies for a further application based on the positive comments made by the Board.

Result

As AlphaMicron goes from strength to strength, Forresters continues to provide strong support for their IP in Europe and the UK.