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The lifesavers

Their lifeboats may be the difference between life and death for the customers. Tough competition in a niche business implied that Norsafe wanted to patent their equipment.


Norsafe has been in the business for generations, and has over one hundred years of experience selling safety at sea through the production of lifeboats and rescue boats.

–We like to say that we do not produce lifeboats, but that we develop safety at sea, Vice President of the Norsafe-group, Arild Hansen, explains.

He finds it a very meaningful job.

–Lifeboats in average rescue 1400 human lives per year. It is in our backbone that the equipment we produce may be the difference between life and death. Therefore, testing and quality assurance of the boats and the equipment is especially important to us.

Their largest market share is in the North Sea, with approximately 55-60 percent at the Norwegian sector. During the 111 years Norsafe has existed, they have produced more than 26.000 boats, and are now the greatest manufacturer of the world for this kind of equipment.

 

Tough competition

”Lifeboat builder since 1903” is one of the slogans of Norsafe, which is a family owned business.  Today they supply conventional lifeboats to be lowered down into the water by means of a wire, Free-fall lifeboats, which are dropped down to the water and Rescue boats, so called ”man overboard ”-boats, used to save people who have fallen into the water. Additionally Norsafe, for the past 20 years, has supplied boats to police and military. Other special boats supplied by them are workboats, for use for instance during seismic operations and aquaculture. The Davit-systems are also from Norsafe. Explained simply, these are the steel constructions used to get the lifeboats out to the water from boat or platform.

Hansen explains that specialising within lifeboats is a niche, but still the competition is tough.

–Therefore, it is important to assure the products we have spent a lot of time, resources and money on developing. We do not want see our product copied by a competitor.

Norsafe started cooperating with Bryn Aarflot in 2008, when they wanted patent protection for a lifeboat hook they had developed. Norsafe and Bryn Aarflot can now look back at six years of cooperation.

–For us it was important to use someone specialised at this. Excellent service and follow up has been some of the reasons that we have been so satisfied with Bryn Aarflot. We experience that our interests are well taken care of, and that is a good feeling.

 
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Bryn Aarflot has cooperated with Norsafe in order to evaluate if the rights by other companies may be a threat to them. Norsafe and Bryn Aarflot have discussed strategies with both active and passive use of IPR in order prevent problems with the rights of other companies, and in order to help Norsafe to win the competition with other companies without a destructive price-cutting war.

–Bryn Aarflot wish to offer an experience that IPR does not have to be very complicated, CEO of Bryn Aarflot, Kristine Aarflot, says.

–We offer our clients flexible and commercial counselling which does not necessarily end in registration of rights, but which contributes to the client getting a conscious relation of how IPR may be utilized as a competitive advantage.

Bryn Aarflot offers their clients a team consisting of specialized patent attorneys and lawyers with procedural experience, and a unique range of services within IPR.

Looks to Norway

Hansen explains that Norsafe wants to be uncompromising concerning safety, quality and functionality.

–Some customers are unwilling to pay what we mean a safe boat must cost.

However, in offshore projects safety is highly appreciated, according to Hansen.

–We are happy to see that we have got a ”look to Norway”-effect, where the strict regulations we have at the Norwegian sector has now been implemented also several other places in the world.

Bryn Aarflot have assisted Norsafe in protecting their competitive advantages by methodical assurance of Norsafe’s IPR, which is considered to be beneficial for the company, in particular patenting of technology, functions and equipment for the boats.

–When everything else fails, the lifeboat is the only thing you can trust. It is the final bulwark. Therefore, it is important that it is thoroughly tested and designed to withstand far more than it is actually going to go through, Hansen explains.

 

Kristine Aarflot at Bryn Aarflot is if the opinion that Norsafe is an interesting Norwegian client because they are continuously developing and adjusting products for their clients.

–They are active within IPR and operates in an international environment. As client, they are confronting Bryn Aarflot with a broad spectrum of issues relating to IPR.