IP protection




Please provide a short description of the state-of-the-art and/or current trends in the field? How does the result fit into it?
The proposed conceptual design relates manly with the field of snow removal and maintenance during snowy/harsh winter conditions. The mentioned line, consisting of several modules, provides enough continuous press power in order to prepare steady bricks from the ploughed virgin snow, with open short sides in order to allow easy transportation and implementation for building temporary protective walls, dams, safety barriers, etc. The technical decision is very helpful for resolving of the enormous problems with ploughed snow transportation and disposal during heavy snowing conditions, as well as building wind protection barriers along the highways, mostly at the parts with particularly heavy wind blown snow-drift hazards.



What is the problem/need/knowledge gap that the research result is responding to?  How was it addressed before?
The problem with ploughed virgin snow disposal could be observed from two directions, at least – usually the quantities, necessary to be removed, moved and disposed, are of enormous volume. Besides the technical problems such operations are very costly, involving significant amount of loaders, snow ploughs and large volume trucks and personnel. On the contrary, the proposed technical decision allows the virgin snow to be pressed in rectangular blocks, multiple times lowering its volume. Such bricks than could be easily loaded on trucks and disposed, eliminating the needs of loading big in volume, but light weighed virgin snow, i. e. significantly lowering the truck mileage, necessary for disposal of the snow. More important, the snow brick could be used for building temporary protection barriers with numerous uses.

Similar to the proposed conception are the so called “snow melting” techniques. They are aimed to melt the ploughed snow at spot, instead of the standard transporting and disposal. But both – the standard disposal and the snow melting method are generally costly.



What is the potential for further research?
Further research can be focused on improving the characteristics and dimensions of the proposed line in order to improve stability and the robustness of the snow blocks, This will allow broadening of the scope of the implementation of the snow bricks and will lead to a further reduction in the snow volume towards the weight.








What is the proposed method of IPR-protection? (patent, license, trademark etc.)
The internal research, held with the ESPANET patent search system, revealed worldwide granted by USPTO patents and utility models for analogical or similar snow removing/transporting systems. Therefore the proposed IP protection could be as industrial design or as utility model, based on the differences in the construction, compared to the rivals. Besides this, the researcher could apply for granting an international trade mark.




What are the steps that need to be taken in order to secure the IPR-protection? What is the cost of IPR-protection?
In order to apply for IP protection in the means of utility model the company must prepare a description, clearly stating the differences and strong sides of its technical decision, compared to those of the competitors. It is advisable also to be filled an application for trade mark protection in the Bulgarian Patent Office. In case of positive development the company could receive an EC IP registration, which could be extended into worldwide one at the next stage.  The approximate costs for the first stage IP protection for the European union are 7000 EUR.



What is you overall assessment of the scientific maturity of the research result?
 The proposed technology has its potential. The problem solving technical decision by pressing the virgin snow into neat blocks, provides not only easy transportation and removal at lower cost, but also a suitable building material for creation of “at spot” anti wind temporary walls, palisades, dams and other protection barriers where and while needed.

The nature of the main building material (pressed snow) leads to “convenient” disposal of the temporary barriers, after they have fulfilled their task, by slow melting. This will also help the environment and will regulate the local groundwater levels.



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