You've had a flash of genius and invented something novel, and now you'd like to commercialize it. Benchfly's Carlton Hoyt has some ideas on how to do that. First, it's important to deal with the legalities of claiming and owning intellectual property, he says. Make sure you own it, and not the institution you may have been working for at the time. Once that's sorted, you need to file for a patent, which can require thousands of dollars for a patent attorney. You could go ahead without a patent and operate under nondisclosure agreements, but Hoyt recommends against it as these agreements offer little protection against IP theft. Then, you have three choices: license your IP to a company for commercialization, sell your IP, or build your own company around your IP. Each of these options has risks and rewards, Hoyt says. Whichever route you take, there are professionals that can help you along, like commercialization consultants or your university's tech transfer office. "Regardless of whom you work with, make sure they have the right combination of industry, business, and technical knowledge to ensure your deal is successful," Hoyt adds. "With a little help, you can take that great idea of yours and turn it into dollars."
Apr 01, 2011