By @SimonCocking

Interesting interview with Dr David Corr from Intellectual Ventures, long time supporter of the BT Young Scientist event.

Why are Intellectual Ventures supporting the BT Young Scientist event?

The business of acquiring patents is complex and requires inputs from several areas of technology.  At III we are therefore interested in connecting with the Irish Innovation Ecosystem to identify expertise that can help us in our business.  We have discussed opportunities for collaboration with several Government Agencies, Universities, and Research Institutes that we believe could assist us in our mission.  We are also interested to provide what we believe are complementary and possibly unique views on the business of invention to those who we collaborate with and, more generally, help to grow awareness of patents, inventions and ideas in the Irish context.

You mentioned you will have Lego professionals on hand. What is a Lego professional, and what will they be doing?

These guys are a company who educate students and corporates through the use of lego.  On the day at BTYS they will be employed by III to mentor and guide students in how to use their imaginations and be creative with the pieces in front of them.

There  are high profile business individuals to present prizes to the best inventions on the stand each day. Who will these be?

We have confirmed attendances from Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General, Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland who is presenting a prize on our stand to the student who makes best use of the pieces provided as decided by the lego professionals.  We will also have confirmed  Mr Paul O’Neill from Dublin Chamber of Commerce who will also present a prize on one of the days.   We have a number of representatives who will be at the event and have assured us they will drop by the stand.

IV award winner 2015

Tell us about some of the past winners and their ideas? 

2015 winner – Elle Loughran – ‘To develop and functionalise a graphene-based biosensor to measure attractin, a protein biomarker for high-grade gliomas’ Category: Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences

2014 winners – Ronan and  Eóin MacGaoithin  – “A cheapadh fréamhshamhail do brathadóir oighear tar éis an dorchadas lena n-úsáid ar bhóithre na hÉireanns”.  ” To appoint a prototype for ice detector after dark for use on roads hÉireanns ”

What’s your own experience of the invention process?

As an inventor, and business owner in Ireland, I have experience, like many scientists and engineers in Ireland, of the Invention process, i.e., taking an idea, applying for a patent, supporting the application, and developing products from the granted patents.  IV’s business model adds a dimension to the patent world in Ireland that has not really been considered, i.e., the business of patents and invention.  For Ireland to be competitive in the future, I believe this view is critical and by indicating to Universities, Researchers, Inventors and other holders of patents that there is a specific market and market value for patents, we could go a long way to being a leader, certainly in Europe, on this topic.


What does Intellectual Ventures do?

Intellectual Ventures believes ideas are valuable.  The value of ideas is translated to the commercial world in the form of patents.  Intellectual Ventures has therefore categorized various ways to translate ideas and created individual business models around these.  Intellectual Ventures invents on its own, collaborates with companies to invent, and purchases patents that have defined commercial value and can be more widely applied than the intended original invention.  In the mode of inventing on its own, this is achieved by creating patents from ideas generated by internal inventors and also its extensive network of inventors.

The value of these inventions is generated through creating spin-out companies and/or licensing the rights in the inventions to other companies.  In collaborative mode, IV invents in partnership with companies who seek to create new products or improve on old products, in some cases the companies may wish to re-invent themselves and so by partnering with IV they get a broader view of what is possible.  IV gets a return on its investment in this mode through the collaborative process but also through extended application of the invention and licensing to others.  In purchasing patents, and this is the principal activity of Invention Investment Ireland, IV purchases patents or portfolios of patents that can be more broadly applied in various market places.

The companies and inventors who created the patents have decided to sell the patents for various reasons, for example, the patent is more broadly applicable in fields they are not operating in, they may want to simple raise more money for their business, or indeed, individuals may decide that setting up a business or going about licensing is too much work for them.  In purchasing patents, IV makes its return from licensing the rights in these patents.

The business of acquiring patents is complex and requires multiple disciplines to arrive at a view to the value of a patent.  In this context, IV’s Engineering and Strategy teams collaborate to understand the technical and commercial value of the patents acquired.  As the business operates across multiple sectors engineers of various disciplines are needed and these are generally educated to a post-graduate level in their discipline.

Intellectual Ventures EMEA office has been involved with BTYS as a sponsor of a special award for the last number of years.  The IV Insightful Invention Award is awarded at the main BTYS prize giving for the project that best demonstrates insight in identifying a meaningful problem and proposing an innovative technically viable solution.  The prize includes a trip to our US headquarters and lab along with mentoring sessions here in Dublin and the US.  The prize will awarded by Mary Lou Nolan our Commercial Director for Europe.

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or on Twitter: @SimonCocking

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