INNOVATORS need to look beyond patents for product and idea protection in today’s fast-moving markets.
“Businesses have to have a defensible business model,” says Gold Coast Innovation Centre (GCIC) business development executive Michael Murtagh (pictured).
“If your discovery creates a new market and you have good success in the first couple of years you will attract competitors.
"Without defensibility, something you have spent years of your life chasing, and have poured all your effort into, could come to nothing."
Murtagh says while a patent is a strong start to ensuring defensibility, it should not be the only layer of protection.
Forming partnerships with strong existing companies can protect a product, as can investing in the right staff and keeping a tight control of the core product.
Competition can sometimes come from a company’s own sales staff member who have been taught all about the product, how it works and have contacts in areas where it is selling, says Murtagh.
And with some overseas markets renowned for knock-off merchandise, even the location of a business can be considered part of its defensibility if local laws help protect a unique product.
The GCIC, a joint State Government, Gold Coast City Council and Griffith University initiative, runs out of the university’s campus on the northern Gold Coast.
The not-for-profit organisation aims to assist companies commercialise their new technologies and bring them on to the international stage, therefore creating jobs on the Gold Coast.
Murtagh says the GCIC strongly advised on the importance of product protection, particularly if a company or innovator hopes to attract investors.
“From an investor’s point of view and from a business model point of view, you do need to be able to defend your position,” says Murtagh.
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