Unilin takes the lead in IP monetisation

Almost 20 years ago, intellectual property rights were a blank spot on the map for international flooring manufacturer Unilin. Since then, the company has built up its own IP department. Unilin has not only defended its own patents, but also sold its IP expertise to other companies in exchange for a share of the profits that well-managed rights generate.

Unilin is behind laminate flooring’s famous click feature. The invention has a number of advantages for both professional users and do-it-yourselfers. Besides being easy to install and not needing to be glued, the flooring can also be taken up and reused when moving. No wonder so many competitors want to offer the same functionality in their product range, and as such, Unilin has been involved in many disputes over the years.

“We’ve been able to defend ourselves very successfully since we applied for the first patent in 1996,” says Bart Van der Stockt, head of Unilin’s IP business unit based in Luxenbourg. “Later, establishment of a licensing program made it possible for competing flooring manufacturers to use our patented click function. Licenses from our patent portfolio have generated significant profits for our company over the years.”