An entrepreneur with a passion for new ideas has called upon the help of a Sheffield-based patent attorney to protect his revolutionary new burial system, which could help to alleviate the growing land shortage faced in many of Britain’s graveyards.
Brian Fisher, a self-confessed ‘coffin boffin’, has pioneered a new environmentally friendly burial system capable of accommodating six or more burials in a single plot, whilst eliminating the threat of collapse when neighbouring graves are interred. He approached Howard Lock Intellectual Property for advice on protecting his idea, and after successfully being granted a patent, Brian’s innovative burial system will soon be launched.
The Bripod Gravesafe system, pioneered by Brian, uses a strong outer case which is inserted into a burial plot, allowing graves to be dug safely without the threat of collapse. At the same time, a second inner membrane creates a protective barrier between the bottom of the coffin and the ground designed to prevent deadly toxins from seeping into the ground.
Patent specialists Howard Lock Intellectual Property conducted a number of searches for similar ideas and filed a patent application with the Intellectual Property Office, and now that the patent is granted, Brian is working towards securing the vital funding needed to launch the revolutionary system in the UK.
Howard Lock, owner of Howard Lock Intellectual Property said:
“For any inventor looking to commercialise an idea, it’s vital to ensure that protection is put in place as soon as possible. Obtaining a patent gives an inventor legal ownership and rights under the law. The patent has already been granted in UK and with similar patents pending in both the US and Europe, it effectively prevents others from stealing the idea.
“When applying for a patent design, it’s always important to demonstrate a genuine inventive step, and in the case of the Brian’s Gravesafe system, this could help not only to solve the shortage of space in Britain’s graveyards, but also offer many other environmental benefits.”
According to industry experts, many of graveyards are nearly full, with some predicting that capacity could be reached within just 10 years. A number of local authorities in large towns and cities, notably in London and the South East have already started recycling forgotten graves to accommodate additional burials. The process currently used involves exhuming the original grave, digging deeper into the ground to provide additional space, however, Brian believes that this approach is not only dangerous for the gravediggers, but exposes hazardous materials back into the environment:
“Graves that are currently being recycled date back to Victorian times, a time when many noxious chemicals and compounds including arsenic and other associated adhesives, sealants and cosmetics were used by undertakers as part of the embalming process.
“Re-opening these old graves not only exposes gravediggers to a potentially lethal cocktail of chemicals that have been lying dormant in the ground, but as the graves go deeper and without adequate protection to shore up the sides of the graves, the more likely it that the walls will collapse.
“I am sure that it will only be a matter of time before we follow examples adopted in many other parts of the world where graves are leased for a fixed period of time, before being reused. It’s a concept that in Britain we perhaps aren’t too familiar with, but with acute shortages of land in many parts of the country, I’m sure that grave recycling will become more commonplace.
“The difference between the Gravesafe system and the schemes currently being trialled is that once buried, the grave remains sealed and undisturbed. Modular systems are commonly used in the Far East and even Germany, but mine is the only one that prevents toxins from coffin and the body contaminating the land. The first stage in taking the product to market was securing a patent, ensuring that the system couldn’t be copied.
“Gravesafe offers many other advantages when compared with other systems currently on the market. It will allow bodies to be exhumed easily, as well as reducing the time taken to dig the grave to be reduced to just 1-2 hours, something which is very important in some cultures. An additional feature is that the system protects the coffin once interred, meaning that the grave will not collapse under the weight of the earth.
“In Britain we don’t really like thinking about or talking about death, but after spending some time researching the idea and consulting Howard, my patent attorney, I recognised that it wasn’t just a problem in Britain, but one faced in many parts of the world.”
Notes to editors
Howard Lock Intellectual Property was formed in 2006 by experienced Patent and Trade Mark Attorney Howard Lock. He recognised that many SMEs were losing substantial amounts of income as a result of failing to protect themselves through effective trade marking and patenting. Howard benefits from over 20 years expertise of working with SME businesses and during his career he has helped a wide variety of businesses, predominantly in the manufacturing and engineering sectors to protect their valuable intellectual property.
During his career, Howard has helped to provide support for a wide range of individuals and organisations from hobby inventors to blue-chip companies. He is a European Patent Attorney (EPA), a Chartered Patent Attorney (CPA) and a Member of the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (MITMA).