Secure Data is a company founded in 2008 that offers IT security software, infrastructure and consulting services to support its customers in achieving secure communication. The company currently has 25 employees and serves the German market, which is very dynamic and characterized by a high innovation potential. Secure Data drew up a DIN-Spec for a technology it developed in the area of IT network security.
A DIN-Spec or NEN-Spec is a document that specifies requirements for products, services and/or processes. However, in contrast to standards, the Specs do not require full consensus and the involvement of all stakeholders. Specs are a trusted strategic instrument for quickly and easily establishing and disseminating innovative solutions on the market.
Why this choice?
The company’s reasoning was as follows: the technology is patentable and superior to available solutions. The company mentioned in this regard, “There is nothing comparable [to our product]. This had been checked extensively.” Nevertheless, a patent does not make sense.
Firstly, patenting is expensive (> €150,000 estimated costs) for the company, and defence against patent infringements would be costly. As a small company, it does not have the resources to deal with the cost of patenting.
Secondly, the company would not be able to discover patent infringements.
The newly invented process technology works in the background, so there is no way to prove that a competitor is using it. In the words of the company’s owner: “Patents have as much value as you can enforce by law”.
Because of this, secrecy and standardization appear to be more promising
Firstly, the company does not believe in keeping the technology secret, particularly because of the owner’s personal conviction that it would not be fair to hide a technology from parties that may benefit from it.
Secondly, DIN, as an SDO (Standards Development Organization), was very interested in the technology.
Thirdly, the company aims to offer and promote new services such as consultancy and certification around their technology in the future, as explained by the owner: “The advantage of the standard is that others might want to get certified and we can earn money from that. With the patent, we most probably would not have a chance to do so, because people would simply use it without us ever noticing it”.
Fourthly, standardization leads to a stronger reputation and better diffusion, as the DIN SPEC is sent to a large number of SDO partners. The owner says in this regard, “Thanks to DIN, the solution becomes more popular. […] It used to be a niche product. But because of the publication process we got some extra requests for it.”