It has for many years been a dream to get a patent. It even was on our bucketlist. Although the patent itself is just the beginning of the adventure, the process to apply for the patent was very educational. We now know we have a unique technical solution to a problem which is our invention. The proces of selling and making Smartek a success is what will make it an innovation.
Together with our Patent Lawyers at EP&C we initially started with a Dutch patent ('octrooi') which was awarded to us in May 2020. Next step was to apply for a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) in order to seek worldwide -Patent Pending- and to postpone worldwide patent applications.
Next to our patent we also have copyrighted Smartek as a brand and logo. Which means that usage of our name and logo requires consent from us.
There are already hundreds of patents worldwide regarding magnetic (toy) blocks/bricks all with very nifty and tiny differences. US5347253 patent is the first patent (as far as we know it) describing a free moving magnet inside an enclosure. This patent has already expired many years ago probably because Neodymium magnets only became easily commercially available by the end of our previous millennium. Furthermore, all other patents related to free moving magnets are a sub-set of this invention.
The main innovation of Smartek is the addition of protrusions and intrusions which are also called protrusions/extrusions or projections/recessions. In layman terms we call them: balls and holes. In LEGO terms this is called in the original patent application studs/tubes. While the pre-WWII patent of a toy building block talks about bosses.
As shown in the image, the main innovation of Smartek is: The combination of magnetic attraction (via a free moving magnet) and the balls/holes on a surface, makes it possible to connect blocks/bricks together without having to align the magnets.
While the original Smartek blocks are not suitable for children we do expect with bigger blocks to move into the toy space where we hope to be recognised as the next building block of the future.