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The value of innovation - Matt Round, London Design Festival 2016

17 February 2017

Matt Round, chief creative officer at tangerine, talks about the important of safeguarding a unique idea to protect market share and brand value. Matt was part of the team that created the world's first fully flat bed in British Airways' business class; a design idea that was protected since its take-off. This is IP on a large scale.

This video is also available as a podcast.

Transcript

Dan Smith: Hi I am Dan Smith, a Director in the IP Team at Gowling WLG, and today I am joined by Matt Round, Chief Creative Officer at tangerine, and the creative mind behind two generations of British Airways' iconic Club World. So Matt, what is the value to you in protecting innovation?

Matt Round: Innovation is tremendously valuable. It creates something that is utterly unique and you are doing that for a client, in our case, we are doing it for clients and for big businesses and big brands and when you get to creating something that is totally unique, that creates a proposition for them in the market that other people cannot copy if it is well protected and by protecting something as an idea, you are protecting market share and you are protecting value for that brand and that is why it is so important.

Dan: Yes have you got a particular example of that, a particular project in mind?

Matt: I think the best example that tangerine can talk about that is our work for British Airways. Back in 1998 we created the world's first fully flat bed in business class and that idea came about from thinking about the space in a fundamentally different way and it paired seats facing forwards and aft and thought about using the width of the plane instead of the length of the plane. As a consequence of that, British Airways were able to offer a completely flat bed in the same space that competitors were offering reclining chairs so it was a very strong customer proposition, but from the business there was also a strong business case behind it because they did not have to surrender any seats in order to deliver the fully flat bed. That idea has been protected and has prevented other people from copying it. It has been a leader in the market and a vanguard that has actually changed customer expectations in that industry.

Dan: What advice would you give to designers starting out about IP protection?

Matt: IP is a challenging subject for designers starting out and obviously for a young designer, protecting it is one thing, having the financial muscle to defend it is a hugely different issue but I think as a young designer you have to remember that if you are creating good ideas, they are hugely valuable and you should do everything you can possible to protect it as far as you can.

Dan: Thanks Matt. You have been involved in some great projects and it is great to hear your thoughts on that.

Matt: Great. Thank you.


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