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Commercialising your IP, despite Murphy and Parkinson

Posted 4 years ago

When asked why businesses fail to commercialise IP, I usually respond with two adages: Murphy’s Law and Parkinson’s Law. Murphy’s Law is ‘anything that can go wrong, will go wrong’. Parkinson’s Law is that ‘work expands to fill the time available’.

You might be wondering how these two sayings relate to the patenting process.

A common issue I see is owners of provisional patents not having effective planning frameworks in place to collect data that validates their claims according to the patent timelines.

Provisional patent owners often mistakenly believe they have ample time to make patenting decisions between the Provisional, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) and National Phases – but as Parkinson’s Law warns, their work expands to fill the time available. Then Murphy’s Law comes in. Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Without adequate data, the patent owner sees their claims progressively reduced by examiners, sometimes to a point where there is limited commercial value.

So, what’s the alternative?

Firstly, set shorter timeframes. Develop a plan to collect additional data to support the PCT stage within 6 or 8 months, and then drive the process forward.

Secondly, understand what commercialisation data you need to collect. Start data collection as soon as possible and use a framework to manage the process.

To get a feel for what your commercialisation framework should cover, here is an example from our Commercialisation Navigator™ tool with 10 questions (the tool has 30 lines of enquiry to cover all stages of commercialisation). If you can confidently answer ‘Yes’ to each of these questions, then your commercialisation project is likely on track. If you can’t, it might be worthwhile reassessing your activities.

  1. Have you checked competitor products and services within the last 3 months?
  2. Do you understand your customers decision making process – who makes the decision, do they really have a problem? What would convince them to change products or services?
  3. Can you list all manufacturing, development, or supply chain partners you will need?
  4. Do you understand the full cost of production including supply chain costs?
  5. Does your price point create value for customers and enough margin for your business?
  6. Do you have a cost-effective IP management strategy?
  7. Have you identified regulatory or legislative requirements in each target market (incl on a state basis)?
  8. Do you have an itemised budget for the project covering validation, regulatory, IP management, marketing etc.?
  9. Do you have the capital required to succeed in each target market?
  10. Do you have a list of key ‘idea failure points’ that you continually assess?

Once you have lodged a Provisional Patent, the clock is ticking. To ensure you don’t squander the opportunity, it is essential to continually map, monitor and check your progress according to a framework. My best advice? Make sure you have your decision-making framework in place to reduce the effects of Murphy’s Law; and shorten your timeframe to overcome Parkinson’s Law.

Please reach out if you would like any assistance getting your framework in place, and for more information about our Commercialisation Navigator™ tool, click here.

Author: Brian Ruddle, Managing Director of Impact Innovation Group.