If you wish to launch an innovative new product in emerging markets, then you should be reading this. Recently I was invited to speak on "Navigating in Crowded IP Waters" to an audience of practicing intellectual property (IP) professionals at the FICPI World Conference at Melbourne. I wish to share with you some tips on how you can create IP and launch your innovative new product in crowded waters. My simple approach has only two steps - Visualize and Realize - if you do these two steps right then you have mitigated the biggest risk around your new product.
The biggest challenge is about navigating in crowded IP waters. Your competitive advantage arises from the innovation that enables your new product. How do you create an entry barrier to your competition - how do you discourage them from designing around your innovation ? The Intellectual property around the innovative features in your new product need to adequately protected - one way to take care of this is by building a strong and comprehensive patent portfolio.
In most cases, the IP space is crowded with broad patents from competitors who are keen to commercialize their technology and also from Universities that don't intend to commercialize the technology . I have faced this challenge while launching nanomaterials based products in India. I had looked at application of Nano metal oxides as UV blockers and also as heavy metal adsorbent in water purification. In both these cases, I found the IP space very crowded and had a very challenging time in creating the right patenting strategy and enabling timely launch of the new product.
How do you get a foothold in such crowded IP spaces and how do you navigate through this space? We need to first visualize what IP we need to protect the innovative new product and then we should realize that IP.
Visualizing the IP that we need to protect the innovative new product involves first understanding the customer need, figuring out the product differentiation that will be valued by the customers and then translating that knowledge into the technology and IP drivers. Here, I demonstrate the flow of information for a hypothetical new product.
Now, having visualized the IP we need to proceed and take steps to realize the IP. We need to create a wishlist first, then asses the opportunity (what is the ease of creating this IP - high, medium, low) and then create the strategy to make it happen. This will help us build a strong patent portfolio in a systematic manner.
Thus the approach that I recommend for successfully navigating in crowded IP waters and launching your innovative new product is very simple - Visualize IP and Realize IP.
Photo - I am standing by the Yarra River (it runs through the heart of Melbourne). The Crown Towers building that you see in the background was the venue of the FICPI Conference.
Thanks - I wish to thank Leo Jessen from The Netherlands (the Chair for my session) and Ed White from UK (my co-speaker from Reuters) for sharing their insights on this topic at the FICPI dias.