By Kenny Mumford
I met with some of the winners of the BioQuarter Innovation Competition 2012 this week to discuss how they might take advantage of the free legal service package that they won from MBM as part of their prize.
This is the second year where we’ve held an open table discussion with these start up life science and medical device companies.
In some instances, the winners are still at the proof of concept stage and so hopefully they will have learnt a few useful basics, such as the use of non-disclosure agreements and the importance of having formal terms of engagement with consultant to govern intellectual property (IP).
Perhaps more interesting is the opportunity to discuss some fundamental questions:
- Does the inventor actually want to become a full time entrepreneur and face all the challenges that come with that decision?
- Who are the actual owners of any IP that has been developed to date? It’s not always obvious.
- Will the business set out to take a product to market or does its expertise lead it towards commercial collaborations?
- Should the business look for external equity funding or will it realise its potential through some other strategy?
- What can the inventor do at the outset to establish whether their concept has been developed elsewhere - perhaps unsuccessfully without ever becoming public knowledge?
- Does the inventor have a basic understanding of what intellectual property rights might be available.
- Has serious thought been given to how any product or service might realistically find a route to market?
Part of the initial advice offered to the winners is focused on ensuring that they get the biggest bang for their buck when they do come to instructing the professionals. While it’s rarely a good idea for entrepreneurs to draft their own legal agreements, there is a wealth of information available at their finger tips to help them develop their project into a viable business.
Some of these questions are easier to answer than others but they certainly illustrate the invaluable role that can be offer by some kind of mentor. The competition winners are very luck in this respect, being able to draw upon theBioQuarter to guide them towards experienced individuals with a passion for fostering innovation.
Have you found one particular source of advice or information to be invaluable? If so, please share it in the comments below.
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