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Business Assessment:

I evaluate an area of interest and determine what the IP landscape looks like, who the key players are, how fast the the technology is changing, who who owns the key IP and what skills/technology the client has that will let them be players in the market.


Consider Photovoltaics in 2008 (see PV velocity curve in slide show).  The curve reveals that quantity of IP is related to the price of  oil.  IP increased in early 1970's during the first oil price rise and again in 1978 for the next major price rise.  During the 1980s, the velocity  dropped at the same time the price of oil fell and the rose again in the late 2000's as oil peaked above $100/barrel.  Clearly alternative energy is attractive during times of high oil prices. My client wanted to invest in PV at that point.  Analysis revealed that the area of interest was very crowded with many patents and strong players who had been investing in the area for decades.  While the technology was old, it was established and had a proven 20 year life (required by the industry).  My client had an improved technology, but no market presence and no way to verify whether the product was capable of a 20 year life. Others with improved technology had previously failed to replace the entrenched techology and the dominant supplier had a portfolio of IP ready to launch as an improved technology (with the 20 year pedigree).  Our client decided not to invest.  Within a year, there were major disruptions in the PV market and many that had invested withdrew from the market.


Another client had interest in graphene technology in 2009 (see slides above) when most of the work and IP was academic.  They felt the technology offered significant opportunties as a transparent conductor (perhaps to replace ITO). They teamed with academic groups and acquired a start up and have develped key IP along the way. Initial commercial activity has been spear headed by IBM and Samsung, but these companies will likely be purchasing the graphene from source that could be my client.


A client developing a new biobased material had interest in where the equivalent oil based product was used and who were the key playeers.  They wanted to work with companies in the value chain to understand the uses and get a better understanding of how the product would be used and what if any unwritten issues might arise.  Among other analyses, an application and function chart was created for many of the market segments.  The slide (see above) examines the cosmetic market, a particular ester, its application and function and company using it.  The client met with select cosmetic manufactuers and was able to have them evaulate their biobased ingredient. This was successful and the client's product is now incorporated into a cosmetic.


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