Being able to establish key connections and leveraging existing relationships is often the difference between doors being opened for you and being turned away. Whilst there is some truth to the old adage “it is not what you know but who you know”, many of the individuals I have seen go on to be successful with their endeavours have been very proactive in building their networks, getting introductions to key contacts and companies, and also harnessing the knowledge amongst their peers and within their network to assist with preliminary filtering of supposed ‘opportunities or connections’ which come across their radar. The other notable trait which stands out for me is a willingness to take action or try things irrespective of the unknown. The fear of failure is very often the reason why opportunities are not seized or certain products fail to see the light of day. In other countries business and commercial failures are often seen as a badge of honour or necessary scars you have to have before you can be successful. Whilst it may not be quite the same here in Australia (yet), what is evident is that those willing to have a go and take action are more often the ones that will have an intriguing success story to talk about, whilst those that keep developing and improving their tech and waiting for the perfect time sometimes just fade away into obscurity.
For many businesses, IP also often represents the greatest proportion of overall asset value, so in the same way that owners take steps to safeguard their other valuable business assets (e.g. plant, premises, stock, human capital etc), they should equally be considering what measures they have in place to safeguard their valuable IP assets.
Q: You’ve been in the role of National President of LESANZ for 12 months now and recently returned from San Diego where you attended the LES International Annual Conference. In your opinion, why do we place such strategic importance on the early identification and protection of client’s IP rights? A: In simple terms, IP protection and IP management is all about risk minimisation and maximising opportunities for business success. Being apathetic towards IP can result in business and revenue opportunities not being realised, and organisations being exposed to commercial risks and challenges which could have been avoided. from shelves because IP landscape knowledge or FTO issues weren’t considered is not the sort of thing you want to hear as a director, manager or business owner. Equally, learning that something your organisation developed could have been protected and provided you with a sustainable competitive advantage, or worse, is now being used by a competitor to the detriment of your business, all because you failed to consider certain IP issues at the right time would distress the most hardy of business managers. IP is obviously only one of numerous things that can determine business success or failure, but the adoption of some simple IP management principles and practices can at least help businesses ensure that they are well positioned to make the most of their creative endeavours. Being told you have to cease production or remove products
In Western Australia, the Ignition program delivered annually by Curtin University (now in its 8th year) and the Concept to Creation course now being delivered by CERI (The Centre for Entrepreneurial Research and Innovation) are two great courses that I have been fortunate enough to be involved with and which I have no hesitation in recommending to business owners and budding entrepreneurs alike. The Start Something program is another successful local initiative that seeks to encourage entrepreneurship and research commercialisation within university environments. In terms of courses that more specifically focus on IP licensing and understanding/extracting value from IP assets, LESANZ (the Licensing Executives Society of Australia and New Zealand) has numerous courses and workshops which focus on these areas that are regularly offered throughout Australia (and New Zealand). There are various levels and modules within these Intellectual Asset Management (IAM) courses which enable them to be tailored to a certain extent for specific organisations or professional groups seeking to upskill their members or employees in respect of IP and IP commercialisation endeavours.
It would also be remiss of me not to mention the many award programs that are available in the innovation space, some of which include mentoring and other advisory sessions which themselves can prove very valuable to applicants (i.e. over and above any awards which are also earned). The WA Innovator of the Year (IOTY) program, of which Wrays has been a strong supporter of for many years now, is one such award program we regularly recommend to our clients in the start-up and emerging business space. Q: We hear about the importance of grit and determination needed by start-ups, entrepreneurs and SME’s to not only survive, but to thrive. What are some of the common success factors or personality traits that you see as critical in those that you work with? A: There are several notable success factors and personality traits you see over and over in the innovation space, but one that stands out for me more and more is the ability to develop and harness the value of a strong business network.
your technology space and what restrictions or roadblocks these may place on your own technical and commercial activities. The ability to protect your own innovations and solutions (e.g. by way of patents, design registrations or other protection mechanisms) does not in itself guarantee your ability to market or use you products, and it is important that business managers and owners understand this important distinction. course also help inform technical and business activities in terms of avoiding reinventing the wheel, guiding R&D activities, and with the identification of potential customers, competitors and collaboration opportunities. Q: I know you’re knee deep in the innovation ecosystem. What are some of the programs you recommend for those seeking to learn more in order to take their programs and courses out there that can help individuals or teams build new skills and learn from the experiences of seasoned campaigners which can prove invaluable when businesses are seeking to progress to a next level. Understanding the IP landscape as it applies to your area can of business to the next level? A: There are numerous good