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Inventor's Guide: Criteria for Commercialization Success

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Inventions are most likely to achieve commercialization success when strong in three key areas: Technology, Intellectual Property, and Business/Market Potential.

Technology

  1. Define the Product. Identify how your invention could be embodied as a specific product or service for use by a potential customer.
  2. Be Realistic. Many inventions are early-stage. Consider what strategies and resources are available to support further development of your invention.
  3. Stay in Touch. The technology landscape changes quickly! Track trends in your field, and evaluate impacts on the commercial value of your invention.

Intellectual Property

  1. “Prior Art”. Evaluate your invention in light of earlier work by yourself and others in your field. Identify the most closely related publications and outline differences between your invention and this “prior art”.
  2. “Reduction to Practice”. An invention is more than just a general idea or concept. Provide a description or data which enables a user to make and use the invention. A basic working prototype is helpful!
  3. Be an Engaged Inventor. If patents are filed on your invention, cooperate with TVC in preparing patent filings, and in patent prosecution activities.

Business/Market Potential

  1. Identify the “Pain Point” and Opportunity. Identify a need or demand for your invention, and understand whether the potential market opportunity is large enough to support commercialization.
  2. Check Out the Competition. Compare your invention to products which address the same need, particularly those already on the market. Define features which provide an advantage over competitors.
  3. Get Perspective. Find opportunities to interact with companies and entrepreneurs to understand the commercial perspective. Seek input from potential customers to guide further development.
  4. Partnership and Teamwork. Your expertise as the inventor is only one component of success! Actively participate in outreach and seek qualified partners to join with in commercialization.