• 76% of global players surveyed believe current patent industry does NOT enable  continued growth in flooring industry
  • Only a third fully understands which patents they are paying for
  • 74% would opt for a short side drop-lock solution WITHOUT a plastic strip
  • Overall demand for more focus on the end customer, ease of use and real product benefits

WILLEMSTAD, CURAÇAO – Innovations4Flooring (I4F), a new technology company providing flooring installation solutions, today announced the main findings of its 2015 Global Flooring Industry Pulse Survey carried out during April and May this year. The most significant revelation was that 76% of global players surveyed do NOT believe the current patent industry enables continued growth in the flooring industry.

Overall, the lack of transparency on what current patent fees actually cover emerged as a key concern with only a third of responders fully understanding which patents they are paying for. Industry players also felt more focus is required on consumer needs in terms of ease of installation, facilitating new product development and design opportunities. 69% of those surveyed were at Chairman, CEO and Managing Director level, covering all types of flooring* manufacturing worldwide and representing over 60% of the global hard flooring market.

Other key findings include:
• 54% of responders said they were unsure, or did not believe that their current license fee structure allows their own business to grow in line with their targets; examples included the laminate market where prices have dropped dramatically but license fees on locking patents have increased or remained the same.
• 78% said they felt some or high impact on their margins as a result of license fees.
• 54% stated that they were seeing an increased demand for drop-lock systems over angle/angle and angle/snap solutions with 29% not yet sure of where the market trend is moving to; the most important aspect here was that a locking system has to be easy to install to appeal to a wide range of consumers.
• An overwhelming 74% said they would choose a short side drop-lock solution WITHOUT a plastic strip.
• Overall when asked what they would change as a priority, examples given were mainly around an increased focus on more sustainable, flexible flooring solutions to provide ease of installation and production as well as to facilitate new product innovations and design possibilities includingimproved acoustics.
• Issues highlighted by responders the most include the need for transparency in the IP arena and patent fee structures as well as a rebalancing of the relationship between licensors and licensees. The need to have the freedom of choice between the available locking systems was also strongly reiterated.

Commenting on the survey results, John Rietveldt, CEO of Innovations4Flooring said, “As a flooring innovations company, we feel strongly about understanding how technology and license fees impact the market. This global pulse survey was designed to understand what leaders and key influencers in the global flooring industry are looking for technology wise, and also to find out whether today’s fee structure is transparent enough for them to reach their financial targets.

Responses demonstrate that the industry fully respects the need for IP and patent fees but feel that there is a long way to go in terms of improving the current situation. License fees are not in line with product costs which is placing too much pressure on manufacturers’ profitability and so hindering their ability to allocate sufficient funding to new innovation.”

News release
Infographic Survey Results

Gilliane Palmer
Tel: +31 6 4189 9515
Email: gilliane@innovations4flooring.com

Notes to the editor:
* Laminate, luxury vinyl tiles, wooden flooring panels, wood plastic composite panels, parquet, cork, leather, linoleum, turf, carpet and rubber.