We had a busy boardroom yesterday for the first in our series of “Entrepreneurial Insights” breakfast seminars. We were lucky to be joined by speaker Geoff Jones, the Design Director at award winning product design consultancy Fearsomengine. Having worked with a number of start ups and University spin-outs over the years, Geoff had a lot of valuable insights to share with our clients.
Geoff’s secret to providing top class product design services rests in his company’s concept of “dynamic innovation”, a holistic approach to product development and capturing the intellectual property rights generated from that process. He says that all too often companies focus on getting intellectual property rights, rather than the right intellectual property and then their product development becomes constrained by that. Rather than rushing out to obtain a patent (or indeed, any other IP protection) at the earliest opportunity, he advises clients to bring in IP expertise at an early stage in the development process, to ensure that the IP advisor has a complete understanding of the product and can advise more fully on the range of intellectual property rights which might be created in relation to concept work but is not reflected in the final core product or patent.
In this way the end product is driven by ideas rather than by the limits of a patent already obtained. He cites a number of his clients who started with a good idea, but during the design process, find that the good idea becomes so much more than they initially anticipated.
He makes a good point. We see start ups pitching to potential investors all the time and in a competitive market it is understandable that starts ups approaching potential investors need to demonstrate IP protection in place. However, if this inhibits the creative potential in the design process, it could be a hindrance rather than a help, particularly if some valuable development work is discarded along the way meaning that patent claims are unnecessarily narrow.
Also, we know that the financial constraints on starts ups mean they are under tremendous pressure to get value from every £ they spend. Being cost-savvy is key. Patents are expensive so when you do apply for one, you need to make sure it covers all it needs to.
Thanks again to Geoff for his comments and to everyone who came along. Hope that you can join us for the next seminar in the series, “Supply Chain Infrastructure and Delivering the Potential” on 25 September. If you would like to register for this seminar, or indeed any of the others in the series, please find more details here https://mbmcommercial.co.uk/news-and-events/article/entrepreneurial-insights-seminar-series-2014.html