10 Insights from Executing 200 Patent Landscapes for Start-ups Funded by the National Institute of Health

James H. Moeller - Moeller Ventures, LLC - https://www.moellerventures.com/

January 31, 2022

(Read-Time: ~25 minutes, Word Count: ~2,500.)

For nearly 40 years the U.S. Federal Government has been providing funding to start-up businesses via a pair of programs entitled Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR). The National Institute of Health (NIH) is one of the agencies providing this type of non-dilutive start-up funding and is the principal agency tasked with funding life science start-ups that are involved in cutting-edge and next-generation medical research and development.

But in addition to providing funding, the SBIR / STTR programs also provide support to help commercialize the funded R&D projects via the start-up businesses. For the NIH this commercialization support is provided by its Technical and Business Assistance (TABA) program. As part of the TABA program, the NIH recently completed a 12-month project that provided commercialization assessments to a group of 200 NIH-funded life science companies. These reports delivered assessments and recommendations covering 11 different areas critical to commercialization success.

An Intellectual property (IP) assessment was one of the areas analyzed and utilized a patent landscaping process that focused on the specific technology domain of each individual start-up business. The execution of these 200 patent landscapes, which was subcontracted to Moeller Ventures and m.zoro Consulting, provided a unique platform from which to deduce valuable high-level insights that are foundational to the future development of life science intellectual property and more broadly applicable to the IP strategy of any technology-oriented business. These insights are listed and summarized below.

  1. Embrace Data Science and Analytics Tools for IP Analysis
  2. Patent Analytics are Great, but Only a Piece of a 360 Degree Business Intelligence View
  3. White Space Research is Significantly Underutilized
  4. Freedom-to-Operate Research Should be More Routine
  5. Automated Patent Landscaping Can Provide Exceptional Value
  6. Ignorance is Not Bliss when it Comes to Patents
  7. Patents Should be Positive ROI Producing Assets Aligned with the Company's Growth Strategy
  8. IP Legal Counsel Should be Directly Aligned with the Company's Growth Strategy
  9. Yes, Software Patents are Possible
  10. IP Analysis can be a Key Enabler in Connections with Potential Business Partners, Start-up Accelerators, and the Venture Capital Community