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Commercialising your Intellectual Property

Commercializing IP

Commercialization is the process of introducing a new product/service into the market. It means making an idea or concept into a real business opportunity. For example, you have a new business idea for a new tool to help with trades. In order to go through the commercialization process, you will need to undergo a process of market research, development, consultation, drawing up business, distributing, and marketing plans, prototyping, and protecting your intellectual property before you make it commercially available in the mass market.

Following are some general steps involved in the commercialization process:

1. Describing the Product or Service

A clear and concise description of the product/service is written in the first step. The description should be easily understood by a person who is unfamiliar with the concept and should demonstrate the benefits and features of the product/service.

2. Protecting Intellectual Property (IP)

Before you talk to others about your business idea, it is crucial that you protect it. You will need to find the method of IP protection that is the most suitable for your business and apply for it. It is important that you make sure that any third-party that is discussing your idea or product with you will not disclose confidential information.

3. Market Research

The next step is to research the market so that the market, competitors, and customers that the new product/service will face are identified. You will need to use a marketing plan to draw up your strategy so you can identify and reach your customers. It is also very important that you confirm that your product fills a need and has a competitive advantage. Furthermore, the product’s viability needs to be financially evaluated. You will need to include detailed financial projections and cost estimates in this plan. These estimates will be crucial as you look for money from banks or other sources to support the product/service production.

4. Identifying Commercialization Pathway

A plan for product development is also needed that includes how the product will be released to the public. Should the product technology be developed and produced by the technology owner, licensed to someone else, or sold to someone else to develop? You will have to make preliminary estimates of the market size as well as its willingness to accept the product. You will also need to determine the costs of the full development of the product. Your choice of licensing, assignment, manufacturing, or joint venture may have an impact on your future strategy. For instance, if you are thinking of using overseas manufacturers for your product’s production, you will need to identify the key issues such as freight and distribution, quality control, etc.

5. Refining the Product

Once your product is introduced for the first time, you may need to refine it. You will also want to protect the intellectual property involved in the development of the product, finalize its design, test the product, and add/improve any features to make the product more marketable.

6. Developing a Business Plan with a Commercialization Strategy

Additional resources may come in handy at this point in the commercialization process. You may need to consult a professional to acquire financing, develop company structure or business plan, or create a marketing plan for your product. You may determine that you need to finalize legal agreements and partnerships. Market and product testing are ongoing during this stage of the commercialization process.

7. Exploring Funding Options

Depending on the nature of your concept or product, key funding options that you may consider include:

  • Crowdfunding
  • Grants
  • Business loans
  • Other sources of financing such as investor groups.

8. Business Growth Opportunities

Assuming the product is well-accepted in the targeted market, you may want to develop your business to include the expansion or acquisition of manufacturing facilities, financial analysis, marketing and promotion, strategic partnerships and planning. You will need to reevaluate your resource needs and organizational structure. Assuming that your business is prospering and growing, it may be appropriate to pursue improved technology or new products. You may also need to add staff. As your business grows, you will need to continually evaluate what you need to take advantage of the opportunities you might encounter in the future.

Most of the things we take for granted nowadays begin at an inventor’s bench. Achieving such success is not easy but once an innovation yields desirable results on the market, it is well worth the effort required to get it there.