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Swindell & Pearson Case Study - Obtaining Patent and Trade Mark Protection for Signstr8

On Monday 07th August 2017.

The Client’s Challenge

Led by Managing Director Chris Nicklin, SignPost Solutions designs and manufactures signage products for the highways industry. The firm is known for inventing the original anti-rotational sign fixing clip in 1995 which is now standard across road signage throughout the country.

Chris and his team discovered the industry was facing a common problem as vandals would purposely twist road signs. This was causing drivers to not receive the correct information which could potentially lead to accidents. The responsible authorities would have to dispatch teams to repair the signs incurring significant expense.

Working with his R&D team, Chris developed a new style of post to prevent the problem. The end product was Signstr8, an anti-rotational sign post that could be used with conventional mountings.

Before going to market, however, Chris knew he needed to obtain IP protection to prevent competitors from copying the idea and depriving the company of a potentially lucrative revenue stream.

road with signpost

How we Helped

Chris approached Patent and Trade Mark Attorney, Robert Sales; knowing that Robert’s ability to understand the practical application of an invention as well as the commercially relevant service he provides would be invaluable in protecting Signstr8.

After spending time with the team to understand SignPost Solutions’ business plan and commercial focus, Robert was able to discern that patent and trade mark protection could be obtained. A UK patent application was prepared and filed before the Intellectual Property Office which focused on the specific format of the Signstr8 post. Trade mark protection for ‘Signstr8’ was also obtained to protect the brand by creating additional barriers against competitors. This also gave the company and its product authenticity when speaking to their potential clients.

We kept SignPost Solutions informed throughout the process with regular updates. Keeping clients engaged ensures the work is not only completed on time and within budget but is also to an extremely high standard.

Successful Result

With the IP rights secured; SignPost Solutions was able to market Signstr8 to both existing and potential new clients as an innovative new solution to a common problem within the sector.

Several councils have started using Signstr8 for their highway signs. Where it is in use, councils have commented that they’ve seen a fall in damage to signs and are spending less on callouts for repairs saving many hard-stretched departments money. SignPost Solutions has also received a large number of enquiries for the product from interested buyers. This level of interest is now helping the company push on with its plans for growth as Signstr8 becomes an increasingly common sight on our roads.

The highway industry is a large and expanding market for SignPost Solutions. Signstr8 has fitted very well into the company’s existing portfolio of products, which are vital to the successful growth of the company. Having in place the right type of IP protection ensures that SignPost Solutions has a vital edge over competitors, creating barriers to entry and ensuring the company will continue to be the market leader within the highway industry.

“It is always a challenge to obtain appropriate protection for what appears a relatively straight forward invention once it is explained, but was in fact far from straightforward to produce in the first instance. It was a pleasure working with Chris and the team at SignPost Solutions. I am always fascinated by how they innovate with products for the highway industry.”

Robert Sales Patent & Trade Mark Attorney Swindell & Pearson

“Having worked with Swindell & Pearson for over 10 years, I have always found their services to be second to none. Their guidance, help and support has been instrumental in SignPost Solutions obtaining patents and trade mark protection. SignPost Solutions considers itself at the forefront of the Highways industry. I consider Swindell and Pearson to be at the forefront of IP, I’m happy to leave it to the experts.”

Chris Nicklin Managing Director SignPost Solutions

Swindell & Pearson is a UK based intellectual property firm that has been helping businesses and individuals protect and defend their ideas, innovations and brands for over 135 years. With its head office in Derby, the firm also has offices in Stoke, Wolverhampton, Stafford, Sheffield and Burton upon Trent. To find out how Swindell & Pearson can help you and your business with any patent, trade mark or design right matters please get in touch via or by telephone on 01332 367 051.


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