The inaudible loudspeaker
Omniwave is a truly revolutionary technology that provides audiences with an opportunity to enjoy 3D audio without a “sweet spot” that enables a free scalable listening area without limiting sight lines. While listening to an acoustical recording via a traditional sound system, the loudspeaker is virtually always betrayed as the sound source, preventing the listeners from having a more “real” experience. As pointed out by Jorn Mineur, project manager at Bloomline, “Omniwave ensures that all the information you get from the recorded space can reach you, and there’s nothing between the information of the acoustics on the recording and your ears. It’s brilliant, truly shocking! You can hear the clarinet player 3 feet to your left, trombone player 20 feet further back, so you get this very accurate image of both the stage and of the acoustics.”
“The invention was made by my former business partner, Leo de Klerk. That was the only time in my life when I actually witnessed someone making an invention.” And what an invention it was! Omniwave turns an ordinary living room into a stage, ensuring acoustical transparency, without adding or removing information while preserving sound stability all over the room.
Marketing to the “right audience”
“Leo de Klerk marketed the business on a personal level. He wanted to make sure that the Omniwave product is only used by people that he knew and whom he trusted with the invention. He was very keen on making sure that the right people use his invention.” In other words, the approach taken by the founder of Bloomline was designed to make sure that this shocking invention is not misunderstood on a big scale. “He didn’t want to set any bad examples, just like automobile manufacturers do not wish to have their cars driven by the wrong people.”
Unfortunately, the innovative mind of Leo de Klerk passed away last year and it was up to his daughter Anna de Klerk and to Jorn Mineur to ensure that the company continues. “It’s been around a while, it’s been proving itself, we have nothing to prove left and I think we can stop worrying about it. We think it’s time that we market this product to a general public and for that brand is very important I’d say.”
“The applications of Omniwave are virtually endless. Whether you are a music lover in your home, or a theatre producer, or a facility manager in the house of parliament, this inaudible loudspeaker transforms the way acoustical music is perceived.” Over the recent years, Omniwave has had a growing impact on the quality of reproduced sound in live productions and installed sound systems. Scalability of this innovative solution is well-proven by the fact that you can find it in a local cinema, high-street retail stores as well as the House of Parliament in the Netherlands.
The vital role of trademark
The protection of the intellectual property rights associated with this invention started with the registration of a patent that allowed Bloomline to prevent copycat attempts from competitors. “There’s going to be a problem eventually when the patents expire. By that time, we can’t stop others from making the same thing. Actually, this is where the trademark comes in. We need to become an established name, and to become a go-to place for people whenever they require something special.”
And how does Jorn Mineur perceive the value of the trademark? “I think it’s absolutely worth it. We can still protect the brand, via a trademark, for a lot longer.”
Experience with Trama
Trama has registered the Omniwave trademark in three jurisdictions, including the EU, the UK and the US, making an effective use of its in-house team of trademark attorneys. “I did a lot of research online. How Trama stood out was in two ways. First, in the clarity of explanation. Moreover, when you send an email and get an answer within an hour that solves your problem, it gives you a lot of confidence. Secondly, the fact that there was a well-packaged product and I really liked it. First thing I’ve learned was that in order to register a trademark in the US, you actually need to go to a law office anyway. And I was a little thrown of the offerings we saw. They lacked clarity and I simply wasn’t convinced. One of the things I’ve grown almost irritated about is unclear pricing. And Trama offered to do the whole thing in all jurisdictions that we needed for a fair price, and I thought, well, why bother. We might make mistakes; whereas this team has done this before. The terms and conditions are clear. So, all these things considered, it just reduced the risk for us.”
What does the future hold for Bloomline?
Neither the difficult nature of the global hi-fi sector nor the market standstill caused by the recent COVID-19 pandemic seem to discourage innovative efforts from Bloomline. “It is a niche product and there will always be niche players who want to do things differently”. Besides establishing Omniwave as the household name within the professional market, the company is already working on its novel product lines that hold the potential for revolutionising the sound experience even further. We just need to wait and see! Or rather hear in this case!