Authors: Dr. Jacekas Antulis, Associated Partner, Head of Patent Division at METIDA
We would all agree that commercializing an invention is a difficult and complicated process. An invention is like a mythical horse Pegasus that wings his way everywhere it desires, yet ignores his master-inventor. We would also accept that a hardworking team consisting of lawyers, businessmen, professionals from relevant fields, let alone inventors plays a crucial role in a successful commercialization of an invention. An invention might induce the start of a new enterprise, therefore it is a key element of setting up new business. A patented invention may help to monopolize the market, however, it is only a possibility that has to be properly used.
Thus, it is important to be acquainted with the main aspects occurring in invention commercialization process and sometimes evoking obstacles for inventors.
I. An invention as a dynamic creation
An invention is a dynamic rather than static phenomenon. It can even be understood as a live organism. Nonetheless, when patenting an invention, fixing a static moment of this dynamic organism is very important. Before an invention is completely finished, it should only be secretly improved. Sometimes, even after having filed an application, an invention needs to be tweaked due to various unexpected problems. Sometimes such improvements can evoke technological problems due to which implementation of an invention might deviate from an initial plan.
Attempting to solve the aforementioned problem, the following steps should be taken:
- Any relevant information should be collected urgently (unfortunately, this usually doesn’t happen quickly).
- New information should be computed (this is actually a creative process).
- Computed information should be applied in such way that any added positive element would not alter the qualities and functions of an invention in a negative way.
During the improvement of invention a compromise is often to be sought. Yet, this is often hard to reach and sometimes is even unacceptable, since inventors often look for perfection. Importantly, such technological improvements usually take a lot of precious time. Since the market is dynamic, the demand of a certain invention might decrease.
II. Price for consumers
A constant tweak of a final product might result in market related problems. For instance, it might give rise to inconsistencies between a final product price offered to consumers and production expenses, as well as the price of products of other market players. Since an invention is considered to be a unique product, its optimal price is not easy to come up with. In other words, setting up prices based on the prices of rivals’ products is not always a solution, as products might slightly differ. Furthermore, it is not clear, how much money consumers can afford to spend on a certain product. Thus, the price is usually established regarding realistic investments or out of a thin air.
III. Production line stability and reliability problems and fluctuation in production expenses
A unique product is expected to have a unique production line. If a product is not for masses and is produced in a country such as Lithuania, its separate parts are manufactured in other different countries. Under these circumstances, neither the stability nor the capacity of a product cannot be precisely predicted. Moreover, this cannot guarantee that a product will be produced in the same way as the first order was produced even if the process of production was decided on and agreed on in advance. If a production process faces any faults, negotiations are likely to be started which could result in changing conditions and rates of production.
IV. Distributors’ jealousy scenes
It could be the case that distributors who manufacture separate parts of a product and don’t see its whole completed picture do their work well and on time. Yet, if some of them find out, what the final product would be, they start looking over the terms and conditions of their agreements and attempt to increase their rates. Thereby, it is necessary to have or look for alternative production lines.
A good product that has its own circle of consumers attracts rivals’ attention. Despite the fact that a product is patented, competitors tend to think of the various ways to benefit from such product. As a result, analogues or copies are entered into the market.
Since Lithuania is a small country, patented unique products are oriented towards the export. However, product advertising abroad costs a lot. In addition, companies planning of entering their products to the market of another country should be acquainted with the language and mentality of that country.
Our client UAB Kasko Group (Ltd) http://www.kid-man.eu/ has shared their problems of commercializing their invention with us.