Presentation at AGM 13th April 2011
Nick White of Tangible IP gave a talk on The Commercialisation of Patents. Rather than go through what patents, copyright and other forms of Intellectual Property Nick concentrated on why patents were commercially useful to hold a monopoly position for a limited period, but also as a means of defending rights and blocking competition.
Nick regularly broke off his talk to give examples of good and bad practice. Several examples of where patenting was probably not the best way to proceed, it was refreshing and reassuring to hear a patent attorney regularly advising clients to hold off patents and consider how that knowhow was best applied.
Most interesting was a series of questions he presents to clients. He informed us that this tends to move applicants away from just the technological aspects of an invention and more onto a commercial focus. A patent is only worthwhile if it has commercial value! Questions such as; Why are the competitive products commercially successful? Why has no one done it before? Why did so many previous attempts fail? Why did alternative technologies not win? And finally; why do you think you need a patent?
Following the presentation Nick ran through further examples, showing even where major companies can make mistakes and why self-patentees (some 29% of theUKtotal) were often their own worst enemy.
The audience all enjoyed a stimulating discussion.