SENSIT Technologies: From Startup to Acquisition — A Partner in Growth


In 1980, John and Nancy Kleppe founded SENSIT Technologies, a maker of natural gas leak detectors. Since then, the company has grown from four employees to 70, increased sales by 10 times, and sold a stake to Ohio-based Crane Group. Hartman Global Intellectual Property Law has been with SENSIT every step of the journey.

The relationship began early, explained Scott Kleppe, President and CEO of SENSIT Technologies. His parents contacted Hartman Global to see if SENSIT’s technology was patentable. “They sat down with us, reviewed what we were doing, and helped us understand that our products were truly novel and provided legitimate value,” Scott explained.

Engineering Expertise Hones Patents
Hartman Global helped SENSIT acquire six patents, and the firm’s engineering expertise was critical to this success. “As engineers, the attorneys understand the complexity of novel circuits and software. This knowledge results in a passionate approach to working with the USPTO to obtain the best possible, defensible result for us,” he continued.

Hartman Global’s expertise also saves SENSIT time and money. “We’ve been involved with big city firms, but they required much more of our time to translate our ideas into legalese,” Scott added. “The approach used by Hartman Global is to dig in, understand everything, and not require lots of client time.”

This proactive, passionate approach is crucial when obstacles arise. “We recently had a patent application that was rejected twice,” Scott said. Hartman Global initiated a

Scott Kleppe, President and CEO,
SENSIT Technologies

conference call with the reviewer and argued convincingly that SENSIT’s technology was “different, novel, and worthwhile.” Ultimately, the reviewer agreed and granted the patent. “Hartman Global never gave up. They said, ‘Yes, we really can win this,’ and they were right,” he added.

Trademarks Protect Brand
It takes more than patents to build a business. Developing a world-class brand is also critical. Hartman Global helped the company protect its brand by registering the SENSIT trademark in the United States, China, India, and Europe. “SENSIT is a strong brand recognized in the natural gas industry. Not protecting our brand could diminish the value of our organization,” Scott said.

SENSIT’s strong brand and arsenal of patents helped make the company attractive to the Crane Group, which acquired an interest in the company in late 2014. Hartman Global quickly facilitated the transfer of intellectual property ownership and recordation.

“Over the last 15 years, our sales have grown a full magnitude larger. Our global reach includes 40 countries. Hartman Global has been there with us the entire way,” Scott added.

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