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|Brunswick Corporation : Brunswick Reports Nearly 100 Patents Granted in 2017; Total Up Nearly a Third Year-Over-Year|
METTAWA, Ill. Jan. 16, 2018 - Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) today announced that it had 97 patents granted to the Company in 2017, up nearly a third from its 2016 results and nearly twice as many as it was awarded in 2015. Brunswick earned a spot among the top 25 Illinois companies receiving patents in both 2015 and 2016, according to Crain's Chicago Business.
All Brunswick divisions - engine, fitness and boat -- contributed to this record-breaking innovation output, with Mercury Marine and Life Fitness accounting for a significant portion of the patents awarded during the year.
"Product leadership continues to be a hallmark at Brunswick, and the increase in patents awarded is indicative of our efforts to reinforce and advance our leadership in the marine and fitness businesses," explained Brunswick Vice President and Chief Technology Officer David Foulkes. "We have a number of new products, particularly in the marine engine and fitness equipment markets, which debuted in 2017 or will be making their debuts in the coming months. The resulting patents are reflective of those efforts and of our broader commitments to expand our differentiated, consumer-focused technology portfolio. We continually seek to develop and offer innovative customer solutions that we will bring to market at an ever-increasing pace."
According to Foulkes, the portfolio of patents awarded in 2017 expands Brunswick's intellectual property in such areas as: efficient, lightweight outboard engine design; advanced engine and vessel control strategies; intuitive vessel helm controls; enhanced noise and vibration isolation; new exercise equipment designs; and new user interfaces, among other areas.
Mercury Marine, the engine manufacturer based in Fond du Lac, Wis., garnered a record 71 patents in 2017, nearly equaling the total number of patents received by all three Brunswick business units during 2016. Mercury has a rich pipeline of new technology, and consumers will note improvements and advancements in such critical areas as emissions and exhaust, marine propulsion control systems, comfort and ride as well as easier engine service and maintenance. Mercury's growing parts and accessories business was also the benefactor of new patented technologies in 2017 as its Whale division obtained patents on water handling systems which not only support boat manufacturers, but also makers of recreational vehicles as well.
Brunswick's Fitness Division, based in Rosemont, Ill., includes such market-leading brands as Life Fitness, Hammer Strength and Cybex. It had more than 20 patents awarded during 2017, including advancements in such areas as user interface with fitness equipment consoles, push button encoders and equipment power and control mechanisms.
In addition to its robust product development initiatives, Life Fitness has conducted in-house biomechanics testing since 2000, the first in the fitness industry to recognize the need for, and to create, a biomechanics testing lab. It has the largest dedicated biomechanics team in the fitness industry to study, among other areas, how people and machines interact. The result is equipment that is inviting to all exercisers and helps them safely meet their fitness goals. Meanwhile, the Brunswick Boat Group in 2017 continued to focus on enhancing the boating experience, receiving several patents, including those for new seating as well as improved storage of gear.
Expanding efforts for innovation
The Brunswick I-JET Lab is working closely with Brunswick corporate and divisional resources to further accelerate Brunswick's progress in its areas of interest, including the Internet of Things, advanced analytics, and a range of human-machine interaction and enhanced user-experience technologies.
Also in 2017, with innovation and development in mind, Brunswick and Chicago-based TechNexus Venture Collaborative formed a joint venture to identify and advance transformative innovation to unlock new growth opportunities in both the marine and fitness industries.
Drawing upon resources at both Brunswick and TechNexus, the joint venture will source, evaluate and recommend strategic opportunities for investment as well as for support by the partnership. Among other services, the joint venture will provide diligence, incubation, direction and ongoing collaboration to aid and ensure development of those receiving investment.
"We believe that there are rich opportunities both in emerging technology and extensions of current product technologies that the joint venture can pursue," Foulkes explained. "We are excited to be working in a space that offers so much energy and innovation to support our strategy and offer us the opportunity to continue to evolve and differentiate our business to better compete in the long-term.
"Though our thrust continues to be in support of new products and enhancements of existing products, we continue to expand our efforts in the fields of collaborative research and strengthening and deepening our pool of talent. Indeed, we believe that a robust R&D effort provides a platform to support creativity and innovation throughout the organization," Foulkes concluded.