Global IP Matrix - Issue 4

Northons1975

We are delighted to present the fourth issue of The Global IP Matrix magazine to you, our loyal readers.

We have had an amazing year and grown immensely in popularity since our launch of the GIP Matrix at INTA in Seattle in 2018.

When we first launched the Global IP Matrix our main goal was to produce an IP publication like no other to educate and captivate our audience with raw, undiluted news reported to you by world-renowned IP professionals from all over the globe (who are experts at knowing how the land lies in the global IP world) and we have achieved this!

Over the last year, we have continued to work with leading IP law firms and service providers to ensure our publication has something for everyone with an involvement in this very interesting industry.

We hope that you really enjoy this issue and many more to come.
Thank you all, for helping us in exceeding our expectations.

From all of us at & The Global IP Matrix & Northon’s Media, PR & Marketing Ltd

Patent Landscape of

Sports-Related Concussion

Bio: Liang Wang (MSc in Environmental

and Energy Engineering from Sheffield

University) is a Senior IP Manager at

Patent Seekers Limited and has developed

an expertise in patent search and analysis

across multiple disciplines. He is a key

member of the company’s patent search

teams, involved in over 16000 searches

for international patent attorneys both in

private practice, in-house and for major

blue-chip companies.

“Every April 26, we celebrate World

Intellectual Property Day to learn about

the role that intellectual property (IP)

rights play in encouraging innovation and

creativity. This year’s World Intellectual

Property Day campaign – Reach for Gold –

takes a closer look inside the world of sports.

It explores how innovation, creativity and

the IP rights that encourage and protect

them support the development of sport and

its enjoyment around the world.” – World

Intellectual Property Organisation

This article presents an overall review

of the patent landscape of sportsrelated

concussion.

Introduction

Concussion: Temporary unconsciousness

or confusion and other symptoms caused

by a blow on the head. – Oxford Dictionary.

Effects are usually temporary but can

include headaches and problems with

concentration, memory, balance, and

coordination.

Concussions are a surprisingly common

occurrence in sports. Although it is a temporary

injury to the brain, it can lead to serious and

longer-lasting problems. We hear the word

“concussion” quite often these days across

different sports, including but not limited to

rugby, football and basketball: “Cillian Willis was

forced to end his rugby career”, “Czech goalkeeper

Petr Čech suffered from a severe concussion in

a football match”, “Liam Picken was forced to

retire from AFL due to concussion” etc. Over

the last decade, the sports-related concussion

has become a significant concern among the

public, sports, and clinical professionals. There

have been numerous attempts at preventing

concussion in sports, such as change of certain

rules, use of protective equipment, improved

training methodology, monitoring/detecting of

concussion, etc.

Mr Liang Wang - Senior IP Manager at Patent Seekers Limited

www.patentseekers.com

How rapidly is new innovation taking place in this space?

From the chart above, we can see that there were steady numbers of publications each year since 2000.

The number of patent filings appears to start to rise in 2010, with a big surge occurring from 2013

onwards; this may be attributed to the beginning of awareness of concussions in sports. The apparent

dip in filings in 2017/2018 is most likely explained by applications that have yet to be published and

would be claiming those years as a priority. It could be anticipated that the number of concussionrelated

patent filings will continue to increase in the coming years as to how to prevent sports relatedconcussion

has become a huge topic globally. There have been numerous efforts for prevention and

mitigation of sports-related concussion, including the use of protective equipment, improved sports

regulations and legislation, concussion education and improved monitoring of concussion.

What are the trends in technology focus?

There have been numerous efforts for prevention and mitigation of sports-related concussion,

including the use of protective equipment, improved sports regulations and legislation, concussion

education and improved monitoring of concussion.

The heat map at the bottom of the previous page shows the number of patent publications placed

in the top 20 IPC classifications over the last 20 years. It appears that most of the patent filings fall

in the classifications of A42B3 (Helmets; Helmet covers; Other protective head coverings) and

A61B5 (Detecting, measuring or recording for diagnostic purposes; Identification of persons), which

demonstrates the technology areas where companies/organisations focus on. From a further

drill-down analysis, A42B3/06 (Impact-absorbing shells, e.g. of crash helmets), A42B3/12

(Cushioning devices) and A63B71/10 (Games or sports accessories for the head) appear to

have the most publications in the area of protective equipment, there also appears to be plenty

of activity happening in the concussion monitoring area as shown in A61B5/11 (Measuring

movement of the entire body or parts thereof, e.g. head or hand tremor, mobility of a limb).

By use of the latest technologies across different areas, it would be expected that there will be

more efficient ways to prevent concussion in sports to better protect athletes from serious brain

injuries.

What is the global origin of this technology?

As discussed above, the prevention of sports-related concussion has become a global awareness, which

can be clearly seen from this map, showing the distribution of the top 20 priority countries in this field.

The United States appears to be the most active country in this technical area, almost triple the number

of publications compared to China and Canada, who are also fairly energetic. Other leading countries

include Japan, Australia and some European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom,

France, Spain, and Italy. The above chart shows that companies and individuals all over the world have

a great interest in developing new technology and filing related patents in this area.

Who are the current market leaders?

This chart shows the companies which have the most patent filings in this field and indicates the

current market leaders, actively involved in the field of sports-related concussion. Riddell, an American

company specialising in sports equipment for American football, appears to have the most publications

(mostly relating to helmets). Other leading companies in the area of protective equipment include

Bauer, Easton Sports, Kranos, Bell Sports and Salomon, etc. BrainScope, a medical neuro-technology

firm using artificial intelligence to assess a variety of neurological conditions including concussion,

appears to be the top company leading patent

filings in concussion measuring/detecting

technology. IBM and Blast Motion also seem to

be interested in the area of sensing technology for

concussion. This chart also appears to be well in

line with the above “technology focus” chart.

Technology Landscape

This patent landscape map shows the distribution

of patents in the data set based on relatedness of

text, providing a visualisation of the technology

clusters prevalent within the sports-related

concussion portfolio and revealing a diverse set

of interests.

There appear to be plenty of patent filing

activities in the area of development of protective

equipment, which can be seen from those red,

green and brown clusters. Although concussions

are not always preventable and there may not

be a magic product on the market currently for

preventing concussions, helmets can protect

against more severe head injuries. It appears

that the helmet is the main technology focus,

which can be explained as the most obvious and

potentially the most effective way to prevent

concussion if they can be properly designed with

the help of latest technology, such as new material

with high energy absorbency and improved

design of the helmet layers.

In addition to the above, companies and individual

inventors have also put numerous efforts into

the field of advanced detecting and measuring

of concussion, including biometric assessment,

electrical simulation, and rehabilitation. All these

new and improved technologies will be of great

help for early and better diagnosis of concussion,

which can eventually lead to successful treatment

and prevention of any related sequela.

Conclusions

This overview of the patent landscape

surrounding sports-related concussion has

revealed that the use of protective equipment

and motoring/detecting of concussion are

the two main areas where the majority of

companies are trying to dive into and invest.

There has already been a great number of patent

filings relating to the development of products

and technologies, and it could be anticipated

that this will continue in the coming years as

sports-related concussion has emerged as a

major public health and clinical concern due to

the increased number of diagnosis worldwide.

It would be wonderful if technology could

solve the sports-related concussion crisis,

and there should be more and better research

into how to prevent concussion and therefore

protect athletes’ health.

34 www.gipmatrix.com www.gipmatrix.com 35

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