ewool : Facing Canadian winters one patent at a time

Alain Desmeules, founding president of ewool

Whether you're a winter sports enthusiast or you face the worst of winter weather on the job, imagine enjoying your favourite activities without fear of the extreme cold.

State-of-the-art heated clothing from Montreal-based, ewool, could well transform your experience of our harsh Canadian winters.

When idea theft becomes a catalyst for innovation

Alain Desmeules, president and founder of ewool, began his career in the construction industry. Following in his father's footsteps, he was confronted with idea theft within the family business. Designs, advertising and even the company name were plagiarized, infringing on all the company's intellectual property (IP). At the time, none of their ideas or inventions were protected by IP, exposing the company to the risk of counterfeiting.

Following this unfortunate event, Alain Desmeules made IP a priority in his entrepreneurial projects.

A culture of innovation : An essential pillar of competitive differentiation

In 2015, Alain Desmeules founded ewool and set out to develop garment-integrated heating technologies. Today, ewool is Canada's leading manufacturer of heated garments, focusing on the quality, performance and discretion of its innovative garment-integrated technology.

At ewool, the culture of innovation is supported by active IP protection throughout the innovation process. Even before launching his company, Alain Desmeules ensured that his company name could be registered as a trademark, and that the equivalent domain name was also available. ewool has filed over 150 patent applications, in Canada and abroad, demonstrating the priority it places on protecting the returns on its investments in research and development and innovation. Alain Desmeules also owns trademarks registered in 39 countries, and has recently added industrial designs to the company's IP portfolio. These are inexpensive compared with patents.

The registered industrial design of ewool's controller for its heated wearables
Figure 1 - Text version

Industrial design 226228, registered by ewool. This perspective view of the design represents the visual features of ewool's controller for its heated wearables. The portions shown in stippled lines do not form part of the design.

ewool sets itself apart from its competitors with its innovative SnapConnect charging system, an easy-to-use magnetic contact charging system. "Magnetic chargers in themselves are used for other types of technology," explains Alain Desmeules. "However, on my button for my heated glove, the SnapConnect enables the glove to be charged without having to remove the battery. You simply connect the plug to the magnetic contact. I'm the only one to have come up with this idea." In connection with this novel charging system, the entrepreneur has filed applications for a patent and several industrial designs in Canada, the United States and other countries. These applications concern a new battery and connectors adapted to SnapConnect. The aim is to prevent plagiarism by competitors. The combination of patent and industrial design is a good way of protecting several aspects of an innovation.

IP has thus become a differentiating advantage for ewool in a competitive market, making it possible to curb competition, avoid plagiarism and ensure the originality of its products.

Patent monetization and access to investment : A winning strategy

ewool's IP strategy combines elements of a proactive approach (offensive strategy), aimed at securing its market position in a specific sector through the acquisition of IP rights and measures against infringers. It also includes a financial dimension (financing strategy). Patent protection increases the company's acquisition value and attracts investment. A diversified IP portfolio, including several quality patents, offers more advantageous conditions when a company is sold.

It played a crucial role in securing major investments. ewool's existing patents and solid business plan were instrumental in convincing investors, demonstrating innovation and long-term financial viability.

Sufficient funds for effective protection

Alain Desmeules stresses the importance of obtaining freedom to operate in the market by registering patents in a targeted manner, and of having the necessary capital to protect and enforce one's IP rights. The cost of protecting against counterfeiting should not be underestimated. Although expensive, patents represent an important upstream investment to protect future returns. The income they generate reinforces the justification for this initial investment

Savvy innovators : Think big

Alain Desmeules advises young entrepreneurs to ensure that their ideas have global potential before embarking on the IP path. While acknowledging that IP can be costly, he stresses that it is essential to ensure the long-term viability of an innovative company.

In short, ewool's story highlights the crucial importance of IP to a company's success. Wise strategic choices, an innovative culture with adequate protection and the ability to leverage IP are essential. IP goes beyond the mere protection of ideas; it is essential to the development and longevity of the company, acting not only as a shield, but also as a catalyst for growth and investment.

Find out more

If ewool's IP journey inspires you, and you'd like to discover more compelling success stories, subscribe to the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO)'s newsletter "IP for Business News". Stay tuned for upcoming webinars and share this article on social media to inspire others in their IP projects. You can also listen to episode 27 of our "Canadian IP Voices" podcast, in which patent broker Louis Carbonneau shares some tips and tricks for investing wisely in IP filings, ensuring the acquisition of valuable IP rights.

Your path to success in the world of IP awaits you!

Related links