RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

The MIPS R&D efforts comprise one of the cornerstones of our commercial success and our opinion is that we possess market-leading expertise regarding developments and processes in our product area. Our goal is to create a climate within the organisation that fosters knowledge development and creativity to inspire co-workers to develop new solutions and/or ideas with the assistance of an established and structured development method.

Among our current and planned R&D projects are project innovations regarding products, such as developing better materials and components, and also processes, such as developing more efficient test and production processes. There are ten people in total in the MIPS R&D organisation: A Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Head of Innovation, Product Development Manager and a Senior Project Manager (Project Coordinator), along with six engineers who are skilled in development and technology.

R&D efforts are split into four separate development categories:


1. Innovation

Based on science and research with a view towards the future, and a focus on new ways in innovation and ideas to handle impact risk.

2. CONCEPT DEVELOPMENT

A more short-term view and includes efforts to improve existing solutions and already established ideas.

3. DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MODELS

based on customer development where MIPS provides customer support with regard to the design and technology for new models.

4. IMPLEMENTATION IN EXISTING HELMET MODELS

Since 2010, this category has focused on helping the helmet brands to implement MIPS BPS in existing helmet models.


Since 2010, a major focus has been to implement MIPS BPS in existing helmet models, but in recent years the R&D strategy has moved towards categories two and three with the aim of placing more focus on category one. In line with this strategy, MIPS has recruited a Head of Innovation, with a background of being responsible for the Advanced Concepts Group and all new technology development at BRG Sports, Inc., formerly one of the world’s largest helmet companies, prior to BRG Sports, Inc.’s divestment of the Action Sports division (including the brands Bell and Giro) in 2016.

Our development efforts will continue to be based on science and proven experimental methods with a clear focus on damage criteria along with an active intellectual property rights strategy.

INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS

Intellectual property rights are key for MIPS’s strategy as they enable us to retain our competitive advantage, protect R&D investments and promote credibility in relation to our customers. Our intellectual property rights strategy focuses on (1) development of intellectual property rights and (2) protection of the intellectual property rights portfolio.

(1)
We have a proactive standpoint around R&D efforts regarding intellectual property rights and patents in particular. We take into account how new successes are covered by existing rights or if we need to apply for new rights, as a matter of routine. Decisions on which new rights should be pursued are made from a global and strategic viewpoint. From a name and brand name point of view, we have a solid portfolio which is regularly reviewed to ensure that appropriate protection exists in line with the company’s growth in operations, both geographically and in the product categories. By following an ingredient brand strategy, we evaluate in which way the brand can be used to strengthen the company’s position. In general, our intellectual property rights strategy means providing us with a broad portfolio of intellectual property rights, thereby avoiding being dependent on one individual right.

(2)
For us, it is important to monitor the protection we receive from our intellectual property rights. Any infringements are handled with care and professional guidance and strategies regarding the circumstances in question. In addition, it is important to maintain an awareness of external intellectual property rights and to consider the relevance of such intellectual property rights to the Company’s operation. Appropriate consideration is taken to every newly identified external intellectual property right that has potential relevance, and in every particular case we actively agree on how to handle such intellectual property rights.
Previously, MIPS has actively challenged rights owned by external parties and will continue to do so when it is considered advantageous to MIPS.

Our strategy is supported by having regular discussions and meetings with our principal advisers regarding intellectual property rights: JA Kemp (located in the UK, and has a global network of employees) and Dimock & Stratton (merged with DLA Piper and is located in Canada).

Our strategy is supported by having regular discussions and meetings with our principal advisers regarding intellectual property rights: JA Kemp (located in the UK, and has a global network of employees) and Dimock & Stratton (merged with DLA Piper and is located in Canada).

DESCRIPTION OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY

MIPS is the owner of approved patents for a number of helmet-related innovations in the US and several countries in Europe, and in other markets. Apart from the patents that have been approved, MIPS has several ongoing patent applications. Most of the sales in the Company during the 2016 fiscal year were attributable to the product family “MIPS C1”, based on a patent that is part of the patent family “Helmet with a sliding facilitator”, while only a fraction of MIPS’s sales in the same year could be attributed to products based on the patent in the family “Protective helmet” (product family “MIPS D1”). MIPS is of the view that the Company’s patent protection offers adequate and efficient protection for MIPS’s commercial position.