Regular readers of Fuentek’s blog may recall that our recent webinar about how to perform efficient technology screenings included a Q&A session with the trainers 3 weeks after the initial session. Well, that Q&A session was held yesterday, and I wanted to share some of the insights Laura Schoppe and I gleaned from the dialogue with the participants.
The most common trouble-spot for the attendees of the Q&A session was getting started with a technology screening. We understand that this can be tough, especially if you’re dealing with a complex technology or reading an invention disclosure that is, shall we say, less than clear.
The first advice we give: Sometimes you just have to take the plunge and start doing some Internet research and, before you know it, you’re on your way. Of course, that suggestion might seem a bit facile. So here are some specific tips:
- Focus on what the technology does, not how it works.
- If you are at a university, library staff can be a really useful resource for getting you started.
- If you’re struggling to understand the disclosure, try interviewing the inventor so he or she can explain the technology more fully.
Market research was another area where people ran into a bit of trouble. They tended to get hung up on finding hard-and-fast answers to the questions concerning market size and maturity. Our advice? Remember that for a screening you are looking for general trends, not detailed statistics. When looking for those market trends, knowing the order of magnitude is sufficient. (Are we talking a $10M or $100M market?)
BTW, if you’re wondering why we offered this Q&A in the webinar package, I’ll tell you: it has to do with the complexities of learning new processes and procedures. As when learning anything new, it takes practice to become proficient at many intellectual property (IP) management activities. It’s one thing to hear about a logical, seemingly straightforward, step-by-step process. It’s another to put it into practice. We wanted to give Fuentek webinar attendees a chance to dig in and get their hands dirty doing technology screenings and see where they got stuck… and then have the chance to ask us questions to help get them through the trouble spots. In fact, yesterday’s session went so well that we’re going to do a half-hour Q&A for our social media webinar. Check it out!
With all the swimming and the gardening metaphors, I guess you can tell it’s summer, eh? ☺