Science And Business - Common Mistakes That Inventors Should Avoid
But through the open interchange of ideas, science has much more to offer business (and business, in turn, may advance science). But mixing science and business could be dangerous for inventors and they make mistakes for bad preparation.
Susan MurilloSep 21, 2022173 Shares2309 Views
Science can benefit business more by enhancing current supply and production systems than by creating new products.
But through the open interchange of ideas, science has much more to offer business (and business, in turn, may advance science).
But mixing science and businesscould be dangerous for inventors and they make mistakes for bad preparation.
About 40 liters of water are stored in the body of a typical adult to support metabolic functions.
Burn victims may lose about 37 liters of water per day due to skin damage.
Burn patients typically get excruciating surgery as well as a demanding sequence of follow-up procedures.
Lynn Allen-Hoffmann vowed to discover a solution to assist these people after seeing the treatment of a severely burned farmer.
In 1999, after more than 1,000 experiments and a decade of research, she developed a skin substitute made from normal-tissue cell lines.
At the moment, Allen-Hoffmann serves as the company's CEO and chief scientific officer. Stratatech creates skin substitutes for both therapeutic and research objectives.
The company has more than 20 U.S. and international patents, and in July 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded it a $47 million contract to finish the FDA approval process for its most well-known StrataGraft skin tissue product.
The outlook for future burn patients who get care with StrataGraft is good.
In one clinical trial, 19 of 20 patients who got care with the new technology didn't need a hard follow-up surgery.
A scientist makes a breakthrough and then starts a business to use that finding to develop a product that could save lives.
However, not all scientific activities make the transition from invention or discovery to commercial company so easily.
Compare Robert Kearns' invention of the intermittent windshield wiper used in the majority of modern cars with Allen's experience.
Hoffmann's Kearns fought for almost 30 years to be recognized and paid for a technology he invented, patented, and worked on in the 1960s.
Kearns made an effort to sell the idea to Chrysler and Ford since he was aware of the potential commercial benefits of his discovery.
He received a nod. Then, in 1969, Ford unveiled a vehicle with intermittent wipers; in the 1970s, other automakers quickly followed.
He disassembled a wiper system that his son had purchased from a nearby Mercedes dealer and found that it had the exact same technology that he had developed and copyrighted.
He had been surprised to see wipers on even foreign cars. He then filed a lawsuit.
Kearns struggled mightily to recover any financial benefit from his innovation despite having a patent.
Chrysler and Ford countered that he had not created any novel parts and that any skilled individual could have simply duplicated the improvements he had achieved.
So, they thought that the idea was "obvious," which meant that his patent didn't work.
The courts ultimately ruled in favor of Kearns, who went on to receive $30 million from Chrysler and $10 million from Ford. But the process took a lot of time and work, and the rewards were much less than they should have been for a technology that is used in millions of cars.
In this post, we'll look what intellectual property mistakes that inventors do while opening a business.
The majority of scientists are eager to share their discoveries with the world. Academics think that publishing is an important part of the research process, so some people have no choice but to do it.
Innovations in processes and methodologies are challenging to defend.
It is frequently impossible to determine whether a product was manufactured utilizing a specific process technology because the majority of business manufacturing processes take place behind closed doors.
That provides corporations with leeway to copy the new approach or technology with impunity and avoid paying license payments.
This was the issue Robert Kearns and his windshield wiper technology were dealing with.
The result most likely would have been very different had Robert Kearns been able to assert his IP earlier.
A product should ideally provide indicators for a production technology or method.
An example of this is a new method for extracting flavonoids, a substance that prevents heart attacks in humans and animals and is present in red wine, purple grape juice, and other extracts.
The people who made the technology figured out how to give each of the flavonoids they extracted a unique chemical fingerprint.
This way, anyone who used their method could be caught with a quick test of the finished molecule.
Making a process into a product is another technique to safeguard a process innovation's intellectual property.
A method for investigating stem cells in vitro while simulating in vivo settings was developed by an inventor team connected to our TTO.
It was quickly clear that the technique would have commercial uses for scientists and biotechnology companies, but it was also obvious that it would be challenging to regulate unauthorized use of the technology.
The method was transformed into a kit that could be purchased as a product as the inventors' solution.
If a diagnostic product was easy to get, users wouldn't have much reason to make their own gadgets.
Innovators can also approach a manufacturer of a larger system to explore if their novel processes can be incorporated under license into an existing tool or platform if branding products and turning processes into products are not workable possibilities.
This gives upstream producers, who are better able to keep an eye on the application of a technology, control over policing.
Inventors frequently expand on currently used technologies and procedures that are commercially available to produce innovations that are significantly more effective, economical, and better equipped to satisfy end-user desires than present offerings.
But since an idea must be "new," look "nonobvious" to those knowledgeable in the art, and contain a meaningful "inventive step" in order to win a patent, this method can restrict inventors' ability to profit from their work.
In 2010, Philip Wyers found himself in this situation when a judge ruled that his innovation of a locking mechanism, which used a straightforward recombination of preexisting designs was evident, dashign his chances for a $9 million reward from Master Lock.
The "common sense" principle was used to invalidate his patent.
By including additional exclusive characteristics in their creations, inventors can avoid this destiny.
The case for the innovations' nonobviousness will be strengthened if the changes result in appreciable improvements in end-user performance.
When an innovation is created within the context of corporate R&D, the company might strengthen IP protection by fusing existing private artifacts, algorithms, or knowledge with the standard tools and procedures.
The company may claim ownership of its adaptation of the idea if the combination outperforms commercially available tools and procedures in terms of performance.
By dealing with this "uniqueness trap" in a proactive way, innovators and businesses lay the groundwork for a strong enforcement strategy in the future, should others challenge their IP.
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Few inventions are based on new discoveries in basic science; instead, most rely on established causal links between a certain set of inputs and outputs. This fact frequently gives rise to claims that a certain invention is lacking in inventive step.
If IP claimsaren't thrown out right away, it's likely that competitors will challenge the validity of the patent.
This will force the inventor into time-consuming and expensive enforcement battles.
If inventors can show that their innovation is a fresh application of accepted science, they can refute such accusations with confidence.
An illustration of this is the knife developed by a veterinary professor that may be used to cut and pare horse hooves.
Even though the device didn't add anything new to science, it did help people with farriers' carpal tunnel syndrome, which no other knife on the market had been made to treat.
By demonstrating that an innovation makes use of a novel material application, scientists can further support claims of originality.
Take the desalination-related work of one inventor we looked at. Desalination employing membrane techniques and nanofiltration technologies has well-established general principles.
But the inventor was able to prove that her invention was a quantum leap in how well it desalinated water by combining these methods with a special material called an iron-modified silica membrane.
Another, more remarkable example was a group of researchers who created a tool to enhance operations inside a microfluidic system.
The device, which is based on conventional pipetting methods, employs a microvalve switch to control fluid flow, enabling users to extract single cells or transport small volumes of liquids more effectively.
Although the valve switch itself is not particularly innovative, the idea of integrating one into a microfluidic device, which greatly increases the tool's usefulness, has never been done before.
The fundamental invention might have a wide range of new applications when large issues are solved by inventors.
Potential rivals frequently build their own applications using publicly accessible information (such as articles in scholarly journals or patent filings).
Sometimes, despite having nothing to do with the R&D that gave rise to the ground-breaking innovation, these competitors create patent barriers around the most alluring uses of it.
We advise innovators to establish the optimum IP area early to avoid this. They can boost the return on their company's R&D investment if they carefully identify the most lucrative prospective uses of an invention and concentrate resources on developing them.
To safeguard the development work, they should also submit a provisional patent application.
This gives the business a year to complete the necessary research and take advantage of the invention's most advantageous uses.
However, the temporary application has a drawback: if the company cannot finish its investigation within a year, the information it contains will become generally available.
So, this strategy should only be used when it's likely that the results will be as expected and when the size of the market makes it worth the risk.