How intellectual property helps drive progress and innovation

Gustaf de Laval registered his first patent back in the 19th century, and ever since, intellectual property has played a vital role in how Alfa Laval innovates. In celebration of World Intellectual Property Day, we take a look at how protecting our inventions has maintained our role as a world-leading technology company from the outset.

Safeguarding our inventions

Originality and invention have been part of our DNA ever since Gustaf de Laval founded the company on his creation of the milk separator in 1878. At Alfa Laval, we are committed to protecting one of our most valuable assets: our ideas. Intellectual property rights are one way we do this.

At Alfa Laval, we are committed to protecting one of our most valuable assets: our ideas".

We hold over 4,200 patents and 2,000 trademarks – between 40 and 60 filed every year. We see intellectual property as more than just a certificate; it is a driver for innovation and development and a catalyst for us to continuously push the boundaries of technology within the industries we serve. It’s also a way to differentiate from our competitors and ensure quality for our customers. Beyond our organization, intellectual property helps bring about progress by encouraging creators to continuously improve on the latest patents out there.


Filip von Friesendorff, Alfa Laval’s Vice President Group Patent

From innovation to patent

How does intellectual property work in practice at Alfa Laval? We asked Filip von Friesendorff, Alfa Laval’s Vice President Group Patent, to walk us through a typical case. “When our R&D team develops a new product, say a heater exchanger or separator, we assess if anything is novel about it compared to our own portfolio of inventions as well as what’s already on the market or being developed by our competitors. If we believe it’s genuinely new, we file a patent to protect it against imitation or misattribution. The process can take upwards of three years, often with a lot of back and forth with the Patent Office.”


Showcasing our patents

hl12-facing-left-320x320.pngFour products from last year’s launches stand out in our growing portfolio of patented, trademarked, or protected products and technologies. The trademarked Alfa Laval DualFrac for fat modification and Alfa Laval HyDuo water purification for green hydrogen and desalination; the patented Alfa Laval Hygienic Line H12 gasketed plate heat exchanger and the Alfa Laval Twin Screw Pump for optimized product transfer and cleaning, which is protected by design protection.




Out of the thousands of patented products we have taken to market, it’s hard to pick one prime example, but for Filip von Friesendorff, there is one that has stood the test of time, “It’s amazing to see an invention power a product. For example, AlfaNova, one of our most successful heat exchangers, uses a 22-year-old patented technology, AlfaFusion.”











Gustaf de Laval 640x360

The great inventor

Alfa Laval’s founder, Gustaf de Laval, started his career with two patented inventions.

In 1878, de Laval and his business partner, Oskar Lamm, patented a revolutionary new milk separator that would form the basis for Alfa Laval. Then, in 1883, he invented a steam turbine. In his letter to the US Patent Office, he wrote: “Be it known that I, Gustaf de Laval, Doctor of Philosophy, of Stockholm, in the Kingdom of Sweden, have invented certain new and useful Improvements in Turbine Motors for Steam and other Motive Power.”

At the time of his death in 1913, at the age of 67, he had filed 92 patents.


Key numbers

Number of patents held by Alfa Laval:
Over 4,200

Number of new patents filed each year:
40 to 60

Number of registered trademarks:
Over 2,000



IP: A personal view

Magnus Hedberg, a Technology Core Competence Specialist in the Technology Development, is the sole inventor or co-inventor for 16 patented inventions at Alfa Laval. For 15 of these, patent protection is still in force. His patents include the ClipGrip, OmegaPort and CurveFlow.


“Getting a patent is a long process but an important one. For instance, I work with new concepts and right now we are working on something that could be very beneficial to the next generation of heat exchangers. More than that I can’t tell you but we’re testing in the lab and hopefully later this year we will evaluate whether this is something to patent. Having your name on a patent is something to be proud of. They allow us to protect our ideas and inventions so competitors can’t copy us but also help us to refine and evolve our products which benefits our customers.”

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