It is reported that Relx has applied for more than 170 patents worldwide, 33 of which can be inquired publicly, and another 50 have been submitted for examination as of October 16. This means that Relx has become the emerging e-cigarette brand with the largest number of patent applications in the domestic e-cigarette industry.
China is the world’s largest producer of e-cigarettes (95% of the world) and exporter (90% of the world). The domestic e-cigarette industry has a large number of patents, but most of these patents are in the hands of supply chain related OEM enterprises. Since the beginning of 2018, a number of emerging e-cigarette brands led by Relx have risen, and the patent camp of e-cigarette industry has begun to play a new role.
According to internal sources of Relx , 75% of patent applications are filed within half a year from May 2019 to now. It’s equivalent to five new patent applications filed every week on average.
Previously, in the public view, RELX was concerned because of its high-speed market share growth. According to Euromonitor, a well-known market research organization, RELX accounted for 44% of the domestic e-cigarette market share in the first half of this year, more than the sum of 2 to 10. According to internal estimates of RELX, its domestic market share in August 2019 has exceeded 60%.
In addition, some of the long-term layout of RELX is happening under the iceberg. Since its establishment at the beginning of 2018, RELX has launched four e-cigarette products, and continues to increase investment in product and supply chain research and development. Wang Ying, CEO and founder of RELX, said that in the future, the company’s investment in R & D will be “unlimited”.
“We hope to promote the technological progress of the e-cigarette industry and turn this into a product to bring to users, so as to truly achieve the goal of” those who are happying vaping will enjoy themselves and have no worries, “Wang said.
50% of patents are invention patents
It is reported that more than 50% of the patents that RELX has applied for are classified as invention patents. According to the detailed rules for the implementation of the Chinese patent law, “invention patent” refers to a new technical scheme proposed for a product, method or improvement thereof, and is also a patent with the strictest examination and the highest technical content.
In more than 170 patent applications submitted by RELX, the patent covers many aspects such as atomization principle, overall design, mouthpiece, atomizer, cart, electronic control, intelligence, e-liquid formula and additives, and involves core dimensions such as research and development and production of electronic cigarette. The main value of these patents are focused on improving product quality and ensuring safety.
For example, in terms of product safety, through R & D and practice, RELX has added self limiting temperature elements to the electronic circuit, reducing the risk of rupture caused by excessive temperature of carts. The scheme will also ensure that the heating temperature of the e-liquid atomization is maintained at a constant value and reduce the harmful substances in the flue gas.
Taking the nicotine content of e-liquid as an example, RELX has obtained the formula experimental data and related patent applications to reduce the nicotine content to less than 2%, which can help smokers effectively reduce their dependence on nicotine and improve their user experience.
In the smart electronic cigarette RELX i products launched in August 2019, RELX added circuit board to the cart and integrated identification circuit devices. When the data and intelligent channels of carts are opened, comprehensive and accurate cart information and data tracing can be obtained. At present, this technology has been applied to the intelligent control of vaping.
According to insiders, a large number of patent related work of RELX is accelerating. In the next few months, more patent applications will be submitted to relevant departments for approval.
Create a closed loop of innovation
The number of patents directly reflects the innovation strength of a company, and is also the moat for the company’s long-term development. In recent two years, the overall scale of e-cigarette industry has grown significantly, but the progress in innovation and R & D is not satisfactory.
Building independent R & D capability is a long-term investment. However, at present, speculation has become a common “play method” for some e-cigarette brands: in order to launch products as soon as possible to occupy the market, many brands choose to find a “OEM” to achieve rapid production, and there is no independent testing ability for product safety. As a result, many e-cigarettes in the market have different capabilities in product development and definition, and the safety problems such as formaldehyde exceeding the standard, inconsistent with the component identification, oil leakage, dry burning and so on are becoming more and more serious, posing a great threat to the health and experience of consumers.
Wen Yilong, co-founder of RELX and head of supply chain, thinks that the current e-cigarette industry at this stage is similar to that of the mobile phone industry ten years ago: “ten years ago, the mobile phone industry was also mixed, spending five million yuan to be a mobile phone brand, but some leading enterprises led the mobile phone industry from its birth to a stable and developing period.”
RELX has completed the closed-loop layout in R & D, production and testing, and demonstrated the ability of collaborative R & D. Taking RELX i as an example, it took 381 days of R & D, 91 days of long-term testing, 23 DOE versions of validation, 6 rounds of user research and internal testing, and more than 13900 engineering samples were consumed before the product was born to improve the vape juice leakage prevention ability to the top level of the industry.
Wen Yilong said: “more than 90% of e-cigarette brand companies have no more than 10 product R & D supply chain teams. At RELX, there are more than 150 people working in the team. ”
Promote the arrival of “turning point” in the industry
Wang Ying, CEO, said that RELX’s investment in two things is “unlimited”: one is the team, the other is R & D.
In order to focus on innovation, at the beginning of 2019, RELX invested more than 20 million yuan to build its own RELX laboratory. The important mission of the laboratory is to do innovative research and development related to electronic cigarettes. RELX also relies on the laboratory to develop the world’s most stringent standards for e-liquid enterprises. At present, the laboratory has also cooperated with the Shenzhen Advanced Institute of Chinese Academy of Sciences and other external institutions to carry out basic research related to the reduction of e-cigarette damage, and has successively achieved research results.
At the same time of continuously increasing R & D investment, RELX has established a deeply controlled supply chain and quality management system. In the third quarter of this year, the world’s largest exclusive e-cigarette factory was opened to ensure that, with the rapid growth of market scale, it continues to provide products with stable and reliable quality.
At the same time, RELX is also cracking down on counterfeiting, sales and patent infringement. In the “Golden Shield operation” launched in the first half of 2019, RELX, through big data and technical support, has cooperated with the police and regulatory agencies to investigate and detain nearly 30000 sets of non-conforming offline products, and online major e-commerce platforms have complained about nearly 3300 links of fake and non-conforming products.
E-cigarettes are in the early stage of the industry cycle, and the participants are mixed. Many brands are adopting the strategy of “first development, then standardization” to expand rapidly. The negative impact of this will be unpredictable. With the further development of the market, consumers pay more and more attention to health and quality. In the future, the R & D layout of e-cigarette brand in improving product stability, safety, user experience and other aspects will be irreversible.
RELX hopes to lead e-cigarette industry reform and promote industry progress through technological innovation. “This will bring a lot of capital investment, but in the long run, it will certainly raise the cost and threshold of the industry.” “We believe that electronic cigarettes will become a mainstream and regular industry by the day when the” turning point “comes,” Wang said. In the end, it’s the consumers who benefit. “