Sometimes in this profession you come across a patent or application which solves a problem you had never imagined existed. While I found this in the news and not through work, it certainly had the same impact!

As my colleague Susi Fish already noted in an earlier post, there is a boom in patent applications at the EPO directed to self-driving vehicles. Ford have filed a new application directed to using a vehicle's self-driving capabilities to bake off the "new car" smell. While new car smell is generally considered a positive in the American market, this is not the case in China where the smell is associated with the potential for health issues. I am not sure where the Chinese market stands on the recently launched Fiat 500 perfumes!The patent application describes the new car self-driving to a sunny area, opening a window and intermittently running the engine to dispel the smell.

This is a reminder that patent applications can be directed to inventions which solve a wide variety of problems. Your business may be generating patent-suitable intellectual property in ways you haven't realised yet. Patent protection which is only relevant to certain target customers or markets can still be extremely useful.