It’s impossible to write an article about the Brompton folding bicycle without mentioning its founder, Andrew Ritchie. But if you want to account for the current success of the company, you need to focus on the current managing director, Will Butler-Adams.
Here’s what Butler-Adams told The Engineer about patents:
“The patent is a weird concept because what you do is define in technical detail what your patent is so people can’t copy it. But in defining in technical detail what your patent is, you’re effectively just giving it away. And then someone in China can say “oh I don’t give a stuff about this patent, I’ll just copy it anyway” and the cost of taking them to court is far more than the 250 grand you spent [patenting it] in the first place.”
Whether you’re a fan of the Brompton, the engineering trade, or just want to find out why Butler-Adams’ first thought on seeing the Brompton factory in 2002 was “oh my God,” the full article is worth the read.