Willemstad, Curacao—Innovations4Flooring (I4F), a new technology company providing flooring installation solutions, announced the main findings of its 2015 Global Flooring Industry Pulse Survey carried out during April and May this year. According to the company, the most significant discovery 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, according to the survey. Industry players also felt more focus is required on consumer needs in terms of ease of installation, facilitating new product development and design opportunities. The company reported that 69% of those surveyed were at chairman, CEO and managing director levels, 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 businesses 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 going; the most important aspect here was that a locking system has to be easy to install to appeal to a wide range of consumers.
- 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, participants’ responses mainly cited 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, including improved acoustics.
- Issues highlighted most by responders included 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.