Intellectual Property in Yachting: Nauta Design's 'The Island'

By Jenna Mehdi

This week we heard exciting news from the design masterminds behind the world’s largest superyacht, Azzam, and her elegant exterior. Nauta Design has now fully patented its innovative ‘island’ for expanding superyacht aft decks and beach clubs.

The aim behind ‘The Island’ is to extend the yacht’s swim platform or beach club, designed to enhance contact with the water through the form of fold-out bulwark terraces. Nauta Design has been toying with this oft-discussed relationship between a yacht's interior and exterior since 2006 on the 80m Project Light, with a strong focus on the relationship between a superyacht and its surroundings. 

“We chose to go down a path that favored open spaces and highlight the connection, rather than the disconnection, between interior and exterior –something you’re much more aware of on a sailboat,” says Nauta Design co-founder Mario Pedol. “This was an innovation compared to what the market was offering back then.”

This intelligent approach has guided Nauta Design’s subsequent projects, culminating in their latest patented concept of ‘The Island’. This expandable aft deck/beach club is totally dedicated to guest use and the extension of entertainment space into the environment. 

“The Island concept began with 75-metre Dune that was developed for a specific client who didn't want the pool on the main deck aft and instead asked for a seamless connection between the main deck and sea level,” says Pedol. “Hence our idea of opening the area up on the sides to increase the surface area, improving circulation and providing spectacular contact with the sea. After all, the best reason to invest in a superyacht is to be able to enjoy what is all around you in the most direct way possible.”

The idea behind ‘The Island’ was to create an uninterrupted walkway that encapsulates three sides of the hull in the stern. Designers created a connection between the folding side terraces and the bulwarks extending the stern platform, allowing guests to walk freely from one side of the yacht to the other either from inside the beach club or the open aft deck. 

‘The Island’ was registered as intellectual property in 2017 and has now been approved by three regional authorities. The design concept provides for an interesting case study of intellectual property in today’s competitive and connected industry. 

‘The Island’ was approved by Italian authorities as a ‘utility patent’, and Turkish and EU authorities as a ‘design patent’; the former protecting the functional features of an article while the latter protects the aesthetic characteristics. Although specific criteria for forwarding a patent vary between jurisdictions, the invention must generally be new, industrially applicable and exhibit a discernible ‘inventive step’. Once a patent has been granted, it grants statutory right onto the designers to prevent others from commercially exploiting the patented item without prior agreement. 

“Applying for patents is a long, expensive and sometimes tedious process, but in this case we thought it was worth it,” says Pedol. “Market recognition of the right to protection outweighs any immediate commercial benefits a patent may provide.”

The Island is now a signature design feature on various Nauta Design projects from 54 to 96 metres in length; the images above show how Nauta’s patented innovation can extend the available beach club or aft deck space by up to 95%. The levels of customisability, aesthetics and functional use granted by 'The Island' make the feature a no-brainer for any Owner wishing to extend their onboard space and maximise connection to the sea. 

By Jenna Mehdi
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