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EP&C and Wings for Aid: joining forces to help people in need

EP&C Patent Attorneys is proud of its collaboration with Wings for Aid. This start-up wants to help people in need by using remotely piloted aircraft to deliver humanitarian aid packed in special boxes. General Manager, Barry Koperberg. explains why their service is important. "Our technology is already being used by military forces and also by consumers to a small extent, but not yet in the humanitarian field. And that is where help is so desperately needed. Worldwide there are 100 million people in need, 20 million of them cannot be reached or can barely be reached due to logistical problems. That is why we started this mission in 2014."


Dropping without breaking

Wings for Aid offers a solution to these logistical problems. Their innovation consists of a box that can take 20 kilos of aid supplies. The box is dropped from an unmanned aircraft, without damaging the contents. The plane obviously has no cockpit – instead it has a large cargo hold where this would normally be which contains the boxes. These are dropped one by one low down above the target area by a specially developed mechanism. When the box is dropped, four cardboard wings automatically unfold. These ensure that the box slows down during its fall and always lands in an upright position. A crumple zone in the bottom of the box ensures that even an egg will survive the landing intact. This is an important development, because it means that packages containing fragile items, such as bottles of sunflower oil, can be dropped very accurately.


Wings for Aid is highly ambitious. The first flight in South Africa is due to take place in June 2022. Regional operating bases will be set up both there and in Kenya, and training partners will be trained to fly the aircraft. After that, Wings for Aid wants to start serving the rest of southern and eastern Africa. Barry Koperberg talks about the plans: "Ultimately, we want a global roll-out with logistical coverage all over the world. We currently have one test aircraft, but have ordered a further five. By the end of 2022, we want to have six aircraft operational in two deployment areas.

To achieve these ambitions, Wings for Aid works in collaboration with various partners. These include commercial businesses as well as universities. Their joint efforts have already led to collaboration with, for example, the United Nations and the International Red Cross.


EP&C Patent Attorneys supports Wings for Aid with the protection of its innovation. This prevents others from copying it. But there is another reason why establishing intellectual property is important for Wings for Aid. Barry Koperberg explains: "Because we have patented the box, the overall concept has earned more recognition. Thanks to this patent investors are also more willing to talk to us and invest."

Patent attorney Hans Mertens of EP&C is helping Wings for Aid with the establishment of their intellectual property rights. He says the following about the collaboration: "I really like this organisation's mission and Barry's enthusiasm and hope they will continue to grow and grow. A good patent will help them do so and will help Wings for Aid achieve a sustainable position with large humanitarian organisations."



Of Counsel, Nederlands & Europees Octrooigemachtigde

Matthijs van der Linden

Nederlands & Europees Octrooigemachtigde