CEO, Bern Helmets
When Adam Godwin drives through Boston, he notices something many others don’t--bicycle helmets. What’s more, he notices that approximately 1 out of 3 helmets he sees are Bern helmets.
“It’s gratifying to be part of a consumer product company that’s focused on safety,” Godwin says. “Bern pioneered the skate-style helmet to be used for all outdoor sports--snowboarding, skiing, biking, scootering. You can use the same helmet for winter sports and summer sports. All you have to do is switch out the interchangeable liner.”
When Adam and the Bern term were inventing new products eight years ago, they knew they needed to lock in their IP prior to launch.
“We interviewed four different agencies in the Boston area and chose Peter Lando and his team at Lando & Anastasi because we really felt that he understood what it took to be both an entrepreneur and a small business at the same time,” says Adam.
“With other firms, we knew we would be customer #123121. Peter was super engaging and took time up-front to learn who we were both as humans and as business people. He wanted to know our aspirations and goals. Ultimately, we felt his approach was less transactional as he sought to add value to what we were trying to do.”
Bern is currently in the process of redesigning and rebranding their goggles. “We made goggles out of soft pliable foam--the entire thing is malleable around your face,” Adam explains.
“Lando & Anastasi did the design patent for the goggles,” he says. “With a design patent, it’s all about coming up with a strategy around how we’re going to file [the patent]. The process is incremental, and with that, we might be protected for over 20 years with one design.”
“[Lando] asks the right questions and challenges us to come up with new claims, better claims. They have a lot of experience across many industries so they can point out some features or functions of products that we hadn’t considered before, which are all protectable,” says Adam.
When Bern decides to exit, Adam knows that IP will be one of the first few questions a buyer will ask. “We know we’re keeping out competitors every single day. Protecting our assets and innovations to keep people from knocking us off is absolutely worth it.”
“We’re a small company, but we compete with billion dollar companies. We can’t outspend or outmarket our competition, but we can be more innovative. And if we do our due diligence in IP with Lando’s help, we can keep on competing.”
The jury’s still out on that. The biggest value when we decide to exit it. We haven’t made that determination yet. When we decide to exit, that will be the first second or 3rd question a buyer asks. Buyer will ask to put a value against that IP. If we have a strong portfolio, we will drive a much higher valuation at the exit of the company.
It’s hard to say how many competitors have we kept out. We know that’s happening every single day. In the monetizing that, but we do know it’s worth it in the long run.
Try to protect assets and innovations to keep people from knocking us off. We’re still a small company, but we compete with billion dollar companies. It’s the only way we can compete. We can’t outspend or outmarket, but if we’re more innovative, and we do our due diligence in IP, that’s one area we can compete.