[Part 1 can be found here]
Technology Commercialization Factors
Closely related to market factors are aspects of the inventions themselves. Is the invention narrow or broad? Amazon’s “1-Click” patent notwithstanding, broad inventions tend to be more valuable than very narrow inventions. There are several reasons for this: in the aggregate, royalties and/or damages in infringement cases may be higher for broad compared with narrow inventions and portfolios. Broad patents may make it difficult for competitors to “patent around” the inventions or to find new ways of solving a given problem that are as effective and efficient as the patented technologies. In addition, depending on the evolution of relevant markets, more parties may infringe broad than narrow patents.
- Is the invention best thought of as a component of some larger product or service?
- Is the invention sufficient to be the basis of a new product or service offering?
- If component technology, who makes or would make the whole product?
- Do prospective customers have a history of incorporating technologies from other sources or are they a “not invented here” culture?
- Do prospective customers have a history of acquiring patents and if so, at what valuation?
- Are there competing technologies that solve the immediate problem and if so, are those solutions more or less costly, or easier to manufacture?
- How long does it typically take to get a “design win” in the relevant industry?
- If the invention is sufficient to support its own product or service, what kind of funding is required to get to market?
- Who might invest and why?
- What kind of ROI might investors reasonably expect?
- Is there an enthusiastic, well-motivated team ready to take the opportunity forward?
Competition and Freedom to Operate
- Would the new product or service be in direct competition with established players in the relevant industry?
- Woud the new product or service eventually require licensing patents / technologies from other players?
- Do other patent and technology owners have a history of licensing their patents / technologies?
- Can the invention be eventually used in multiple vertical markets or industries or in just one?
- If the former, does the invention have to be augmented in some way for each vertical or would the same invention be useful across markets?