Unlocking Security: The Pros and Cons of Patented Keys and Locks

Patented locks and keys boast enhanced security features, from preventing unauthorized key duplication to resisting lock picking attempts. But, are these locks the right fit for your security needs? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the ins and outs of patented keys and locks, covering examples, pros, cons, and the best choices for securing your space.

Patented Lock Examples

Popular Choices

Discover some of the top patented locks in the market, including Mul-T-Lock MT5+, Abloy Protec 2, and Medeco M3. These locks offer unique patented keys, ensuring advanced security. Stay updated, as patented locks eventually lose their active utility patents.

Independent Innovations

Explore independent patented locks like Bowley Lock and BiLock, which aim to establish new standards in security. At the time of writing, these innovations remain outside the ownership of major security conglomerates like Assa Abloy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Mul-T-Lock MT5+, Abloy Protec 2, and Medeco M3 are popular patented locks.
  • Bowley Lock and BiLock present independent patented lock options.
  • Once a patent expires, anyone can make keys for previously patented locks.

Pros of Patented Locks

Enhanced Physical Control

Patented keys offer superior access control by deterring easy key duplication. The intricate mechanical design of the lock core not only prevents unauthorized key copying but also increases resistance to covert entry methods such as lock picking and bumping.

Restricted Access

In scenarios like rentals or business settings, patented locks reduce the risk of unauthorized key duplication. This limitation proves invaluable in preventing potential security breaches and is particularly effective against employee theft.

Key Takeaways:

  • Unauthorized key duplication is minimized.
  • Increased resistance to lock picking and bumping.
  • Effective in restricting access and preventing employee theft.

Cons of Patented Locks

Lockout Hassles

While patented locks provide heightened security, being locked out can result in more complications. Professional locksmiths may avoid picking open patented locks, often necessitating a lock change through drilling or cutting, leading to added expenses.

Availability of Patent Breaker Keys

Despite their security features, patented keys face potential vulnerabilities. Patent breaker keys, while not widely accessible, exist and can undermine the protection offered by patented keys. These keys may be found online by those actively seeking them out.

Higher Replacement Costs

Both the keys and servicing of patented locks come at a higher price point. Replacement of patented keys and maintenance services can be more expensive compared to traditional locks, adding to the overall cost of using patented systems.

Key Takeaways:

  • Lockouts may require destructive entry, leading to lock replacement.
  • Patent breaker keys pose a potential threat to patented key protection.
  • Patented keys and servicing are costlier compared to standard locks.

How to Purchase Patented Locks

Controlled Distribution

Patented locks are exclusively distributed by the holders of the utility patent. These locks are available through manufacturers and their partnered companies, typically local locksmiths or online distributors. Becoming a locksmith partner indicates a level of quality and expertise.

Considerations for Purchase

While online purchases may offer cost advantages, professional installation is essential for high-security locks. Keyed alike options, master key system availability, and adherence to building regulations should all be considered before purchasing patented locks.

Key Takeaways:

  • Patented locks are sold through manufacturers and partnered companies.
  • Partnered locksmiths ensure professional installation and expertise.
  • Verify that the chosen patented lock meets your specific needs and regulations.

How to Purchase Patented Keys

Controlled Access

Similar to patented locks, patented keys are controlled and often require a lock code for duplication. Manufacturers may only cut keys by code, and this code should be provided during the initial purchase. However, obtaining new keys directly from the manufacturer may pose challenges without the code.

Partnered Locksmiths

Partnered locksmiths play a crucial role in duplicating patented keys. They can duplicate keys using existing codes or even create new keys based on the lock itself. Mobile locksmiths can provide on-site services, ensuring convenient access to new patented keys.

Key Takeaways:

  • Patented keys are available wherever patented locks are sold.
  • Some sellers may require your lock code for new key creation.
  • Partnered locksmiths offer key duplication services with or without a code.

Closing Advice

Are patented keys and locks the right choice for you? If key control and resistance to covert entry methods are top priorities, investing in patented locks makes sense. However, for those with different security needs, patented keys may be an additional feature rather than the main draw. Consider your specific requirements, and if you decide on patented locks, ensure they align with building regulations and property restrictions.

For assistance in purchasing and installing patented locks, check if 1st Choice Locksmith services your area. Share your experiences with patented locks in the comments—what worked well, and what challenges did you encounter? Your insights can contribute to a broader understanding of the effectiveness of patented keys and locks in various scenarios.


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