March 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 19
By Ken Ryan
Las Vegas—When he started Innovations 4 Flooring (I4F) in 2009, John Rietveldt could envision the day when his company would be known as an intellectual property player on a global scale in the field of locking systems.
“I am not surprised by our success, but you have to be lucky,” the CEO told FCNews at Surfaces. “For 20 years, two companies dominated the landscape [in locking systems], but people need to be free to use whatever system they want. The market was ready for innovation and for change. Our locking system is now the standard for SPC.”
I4F is noted for its 3L and TripleLock locking profiles as well as Click4U, a one-piece, drop-lock solution that eliminates the need for an additional insert on the short side. The technology works with all materials including LVT, rigid core flooring, multilayer flooring, laminate and wood. He said his main focus is to make Click4U a market standard.
Rietveldt called 2017 “a breakthrough year” for the company and added, “this strategy continues in 2018 and has already gained significant momentum.”
Indeed, the company has been extremely busy forging partnerships with global companies, with three such moves occurring in January. First, it announced an extension of a strategic partnership with the Classen Group in which I4F obtained exclusive sub-licensing rights for one of Classen’s IP portfolios encompassing more than 500 patents specific to flooring materials, locking patents and important inventions for digital printing and liquid laminate technology. This extended partnership follows the agreement between I4F and the Classen Group announced in January 2017.
Two weeks later, I4F signed with Ulrich Windmöller Consulting, which owns all the patent rights for Windmöller Plastic Core Patents in Europe; it is also co-owner of the Windmöller Patents Rights in the U.S. along with Kowon R&C Corp. These patent rights cover products containing a plastic core, including LVT and WPC. Lastly, I4F inked a global strategic partnership pact with Kronospan. As part of this agreement, I4F receives rights for Kronospan’s patent portfolio covering flooring locking, wall panels, board compositions and production, as well as digital printing and furniture. “We have all the important manufacturers on board,” Rietveldt said. “We are getting to a very strong position.”
The evolution of this IP company also included a name change, to the brand-friendly I4F. As Rietveldt noted, “We are a new modern company that is expanding and trying to do things differently.”