The latest patent law shift from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file” system will surely benefit Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) that relies on its product patents and strong product innovation pipeline to maintain its market share. Kimberly-Clark produces pulp and paper-based consumer products like Kleenex tissues, Huggies diapers and Kotex sanitary pads and competes with companies such as Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) and Unilever (NYSE:UL).
Speedy Patent Approvals: Better Innovation Pipeline
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In a major patent policy change, the latest U.S. Patent Law reform shifts patent laws from “first-to-invent” to “first-to-file” system that will significantly speed up the patent processing and grant process.
KMB operates in a highly competitive environment and relies on constant product innovation to maintain its competitive edge and market share. Most of KMB’s products contains innovations protected by patents and a faster patent process will help it obtain patents and turn them into new products much sooner than before. Many of the company’s patents that are still caught in backlog will also be processed quicker.
KMB obtained 547 patents between 2006 and 2010 from the U.S.’s Washington Patent Office, more than any business or organization in Wisconsin in that period. This year, its has received patents for its Kleenex Cool Touch tissues and the Little Huggies Slip-on Diaper.
We have a $77 Trefis price estimate for Kimberly-Clark, which is 10% ahead of the current market price.