“Take a look at the bigger picture and try to understand what the potential value of your product or technology is in regard to other products or technologies on the market”
“If you have a technically interesting idea that is both novel and inventive, you can file a patent application for it” explains Gerrie Hoogendam, Sr. Patent Attorney at DSM. “While it is not legally necessary to file a patent application for your newly developed product or technology it is advisable, if you would like to monetize your technology effectively. Without patent protection you may e.g not be able to stop competition that simply reverse engineered your product.” On the other hand, having a patent does not in itself make a sustainable business and in practice, a lot of patents end up on a shelf without ever being used. Hoogendam gives a few tips to filing a patent:
1. In an early stage, investigate your market. Get a clear picture of competitive solutions on the market to estimate what the added value of your product or technology is on the current and future market. If the potential value is little, having a patent will not help your business case. In addition, investigate your ‘freedom to operate’. If somebody else’s patent turns out to be hindering the development and/or commercialization of your product or technology, this might create a serious problem. On the other hand, if you identify early on that somebody already developed a certain product or technology, there may also be an opportunity to license in that technology rather than developing it yourself.
2. Make the patent claims as relevant as possible to your future business. Identify upfront what specific part of your invention will be critical elements for a strong business case and make sure you have strong claims on it. Patent attorneys can help you, e.g. to draft good claims that take into account potential issues around proving infringement.
3. Determine in which countries you would like to sell your product or technology. Balance the patent (and translation) costs in these countries against the expected revenues.
4. A granted patent is valid for 20 years from its filing date, or for as long as ‘patent maintenance fees’ are paid. If in your technology filed regulatory approval is necessary, the values of the patent will also depend on that. With approval already there, the technology (and thus the patent) is likely to have a higher value than without. As the approval process may be costly and time consuming, market entry may be further away than you think. That is something to keep in mind, particularly if your business case is built on the assumption that revenues will be generated quickly.
5.If you are not going to sell your product or technology yourself, determine how you want to make a business out of your patent (selling, royalties, etc.). Understanding your market will help to estimate what price or royalty rate you can realistically get from the company you are selling or licensing the patent to.
“The IP guidelines of InSciTe are quite unique"
“The IP guidelines of InSciTe are quite unique. Projects focus on the value creation from RT&D in an early stage and the IP guidelines are set up in such a way that the thinking on value creation is done early in the projects rather than at the end of a project”.
To read more about value creation from knowledge at InSciTe, read the item in this newsletter on Valorisation.