Stunning examples of New Zealand's clean technology innovation, such as Dr Mike Duke's Solenza integrated solar energy solution, require equally clever intellectual property thinking to be successfully commercialised.
WaikatoLink Ltd, the commercialisation1 arm of the University of Waikato, has had a long relationship with James & Wells Intellectual Property2.
WaikatoLink brought James & Wells into the loop in 2005, when it became clear Dr Mike Duke's invention3 had the potential to revolutionise the solar energy markets - commercial, industrial and household - by dispensing with unsightly 'bolt on' solar energy panels, and instead, providing a seamless solution integrated into a buildings' roofing structure.
James & Wells' IP4 strategists have monthly review meetings with WaikatoLink's IP team.
James & Wells Principal Dr Gary Betteridge, who works extensively with WaikatoLink and has experience with commercialization of University IP, says good, regular communication with a university based company is essential.
James & Wells provides high level strategic IP advice at regular intervals for selected WaikatoLink projects.
WaikatoLink's CEO, Duncan Mackintosh says James & Wells' on-going expertise is invaluable: "Inventing great products is one thing, but to take them to market and protecting our valuable IP requires strategic thinking and knowledge. James & Wells has assisted that thinking consistently."
Solenza's solar energy solutions can be retrofitted into existing roofing structures, and provide increased power and water heating efficiencies over traditional solar energy panels.
Following discussions with WaikatoLink, James & Wells filed patent5 applications in New Zealand and internationally for two aspects of the invention - a building integrated combined photovoltaic cell and solar thermal collector arrangement (BIPVT), and a building integrated solar thermal collector (BIT).
Gary Betteridge says: "It is essential that we be involved from an early stage, and certainly before there is any public disclosure. It is also critical for the inventors and applicants to work closely with us throughout the lifetime of the project, and that lines of communication are always kept open."
"WaikatoLink's expertise and experience in commercialising research-based opportunities, and its understanding of the importance of IP, means it has been an excellent client to deal with and its products are consistently successful in returning value to the...