The Value of Technology Screenings: Let’s Do the Math

Editor’s note: For more on this topic, see the blog post “Screening Techs Before Patenting Pays Off: Running the Numbers

Several recent posts on the Fuentek blog have talked about having interns perform technology screenings. You probably also noticed that we are hosting a webinar designed to teach interns the screening essentials. But this post is not a plug for that! 🙂 It is a plug for doing technology screenings.

The cost of a screening is comparable regardless of whether it is performed by a professional or a student intern. (Remember that there are costs associated with mentoring and managing interns.) And a screening does not have to be time consuming. In our IP management services, we take only a few hours to perform a screening.

However, the cost of not performing a screening can be very expensive for the technology transfer office (TTO). Let’s do the math.

Say you have 10 invention disclosures that move straight to patenting without a screening to validate that commercialization potential exists. Assuming $25,000 as the average cost to obtain a U.S. patent, it will cost the TTO $250,000 for these 10 technologies plus the additional resources needed to market the technologies to potential licensees.

If you use a two-step filtering approach like Fuentek’s for the same 10 technologies, all 10 will go through the first step of a screening. Statistics from the thousands of technologies Fuentek has screened show that about 6 will not warrant patenting. That right there is a cost savings of about $150,000.

The remaining 4 technologies will be recommended for a market-based assessment, which is step 2 in the prioritization. Most likely, 1 of the 4 assessed technologies will not be recommended for patenting, yielding another $25,000 in savings.

So far, you’ve spent less than $50K to identify the technologies with commercial potential while saving yourself $175K in unproductive patenting. You may go on to spend another $75K to patent the 3 top technologies plus about $50K to market and secure licensing interest for them. And chances are very good that you’ll actually get the deals thanks to the screening and assessment efforts.

So what do you think is better: (a) spending $250K just to patent 10 technologies or (b) spending about $175K to screen, assess, protect, market, and successfully secure 2 or 3 licenses for the same batch?

Wouldn’t it be nice if all choices were this easy?

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Posted by Laura Schoppe

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