The founders of Solar Buddies, the child friendly, refillable sunscreen applicator, have joined only seven per cent of women in the UK who currently own a UK patent.

Cwmbran-based Kelli Aspland and Laura Griffin, first applied for the patent when they came up with the idea for the Solar Buddies back in 2011, and then re-applied in 2014 following further design changes to the product.

Seven years later, they have been awarded the patent and now have their intellectual property and design protected.

Co-founder Laura Griffin said: “It isn’t an easy process, but this shouldn’t put people off. The staff at the Patent Office were so helpful and were very supportive of us throughout. We did a lot of the application on our own with guidance, but eventually decided that we would get professional help to ensure that we were properly protecting ourselves and our product.

“Even though it was costly we saw it as an investment in our business and our future as inventors, as we have plans to add more products to the Solar Buddies brand.”

In the UK, only 0.3 per cent of female business teams applied for patents in 2015, with 3.9 per cent individual women applying for the invention protection – the majority of women applying for patents were part of a mixed sex team, at eight per cent.

Kelli Aspland said: “Bringing an idea to life is tough, it takes hard work and determination, but women have more than enough of that to go around.

"We wanted to publicise the fact that we have been awarded this patent to help encourage anyone else considering the process as it’s been worth the wait. We are excited about the future for Solar Buddies and this patent gives us the confidence to push on with our ambitions for the company.”

Solar Buddies had its biggest year in 2017 with sales increasing by 500 per cent. The product was created by the duo - who have seven children between them - in response to the 'no touch' policies in schools, preventing teachers from applying sunscreen to children during term time. They were worried about younger pupils getting sunburn so invented the Solar Buddies as a solution to the problem.

Solar Buddies is refillable to 100ml, so is cabin baggage friendly and can be used multiple times. Its roller ball and sponge mechanism allows easy application with less mess and no waste, dispensing a controlled flow of sunscreen.

For more information about Solar Buddies, visit the website here: