Innovation Nation: Protecting your cashcow

It’s a sunny Thursday afternoon and we are at the New Hunt’s House G8 with some distinguished guests working in different roles surrounding patenting. Dr. Craig Titmus is a Chartered Patent Attorney who helps the patenting applicants file their patents. Dr. Miraz Rahman, who is a leading scientists in drug discovery at King’s, has generated several patented products. Dr. Surbhi Gupta and Dr. Salma Ishaq both work at King’s Commercial and Industrialization team. They help applicants including PhD students and staff to evaluate their products and the complicated patent application process.

Various topics surrounding Intellectual Property and patenting were discussed including:

  • Path towards becoming a patent attorney: the interviews, training, examinations and career paths.
  • The process of filing patents: how long and how much money it takes, how to protect your work before filing the application and the long term benefits of having a patent.

We got to know that a patent is a form of intellectual property, among others like trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. It is an invention, a product or process that is novel, useful (have commercial interests), and non-obvious (distinct from existing product or process).

The patenting rights are protected by law, which differs in different countries, and mainly prevents others from commercially making, using, selling, importing, or distributing a patented invention without permission. Since the rights are all based on commercial interests, it is a means for the patentee to generate money from their protected product. So a patent is only worth applying for when there are companies who show interest in the product.

The special requirements of a patent also makes it an expensive and lengthy process. It takes 4-7 years to complete (there are exceptions, shortest being 2 years) and application costs about £4000- 5000 (International patents). But universities offer help in terms of application and money, which makes it easier for students and staff to protect their inventions, in the end they also get a good share of the income, 90% of the first £10,000 , 75% from £10, 000 -50, 000  and so on.

It sounds like a daunting task but there are PhD students and PIs in King’s who have got there, with the help of King’s commercialization team. A brilliant epitome of the success is Dr. Miraz Rahman, a lead scientist in drug discovery, who has filed several patents for his new drugs.

It has been a long journey as he had faced not only the common academia-based difficulties (lab space, research funding etc.) but also the severe delays in publishing his work till a patent had been granted (due to the non-disclosure rule).

Despite all these struggles, he kept himself motivated by seeing the future- when patients around the world receive and benefit from the medicine that he invented. Currently, his drugs are either going on to clinical trials or are being developed by a company. We, at KCLIF, have good hopes for him and wish him the very best for the future.

We got a view of the patenting process on the other side of the fence, when Dr. Surbhi Gupta and Dr. Salma Ishaq (King’s Commercial and Industrialization team) shared some really good cases with us about the patenting journey of our peers at King’s. Dr. Craig Titmus provided us a very thorough account about the regulations and things we should notice when filing a patenting application. Together they all gave us a broader insight of how and when to file for patents. In addition to the patenting process, they also shared details of their journeys from science towards careers in the field of Intellectual Property and patenting.

With all these people working in different roles, our audience got a thorough overview of the process and a great chance to ask questions. It turned out to be an interactive discussion, with questions being asked from the audience which led to a real understanding of patenting. Last but not the least, the real life cases presented by the speakers opened our eyes about how innovation can change the game.

Identifying the Million Dollar Idea in Science-Event Synopsis

Event Synopsis

  • Identifying the Million Dollar Idea in Science.

                                                                               Guest Speaker:  Stephen Falder.

On 5th March 2015, Stephen Falder came to visit us and shared his extensive entrepreneurial experience. As a serial entrepreneur, Stephen has been involved in founding 16 businesses, which include a paint company and the widely successful Byotrol Plc- you may have seen this antimicrobial gel in your lab! He particularly enjoys business development and management i.e. identifying the million dollar idea and building it into a success. He gave us a few pointers that he found useful in this journey.

 Five things I have to tell you.

  • Relevant idea doesn’t necessarily mean making money – development and execution is key!
  • Have a plan, but don’t restrict yourself
  • Don’t over analyze everything.
    • Entrepreneurs are men of action. It does no good to be too thorough, be adaptive to changes!
  • Mistakes are corrected by you taking action- Again, do not dwell on your mistakes!
  • You can use other people’s money (OPM) – including friends, family, grant, and investors.

Stephen mostly engages in developing start-ups. He identifies ideas, realizes them with a business plan and taking actions to correct mistakes. Eventually, he leaves it and maintains a small role in the business. He is able to do that due to his ability to pick up the right people for the management team. His secret is choosing the people he’d like to be surrounded with, those who can bring different things to the company.

 Stimulating Questions and Answers.

  • What is risk like? “Risk is a great feeling.”
  • What can academics learn from the business world? “Go for it, don’t be modest.”
  • How do you spot a good idea for business? “Look for a problem that is begging for an answer.”
  • How long does it take to manage your businesses? “Depends on what level you’re involved. Some 4 days a week, some are just seasonal.”


Our next event is on the 7th of April, titled ‘ Innovation Nation: protecting your cashcow’  Register here

Speaker Introduction-Stephen Falder

Stephen Falder Byotrol biog with photo autumn 2014  We are proud to have Stephen Falder to be our main speaker of the event: Identifying the million dollar idea.

Stephen, our King’s Alumni, studied Chemistry & Biology (specifically Microbiology) in 1978-81. After leaving university he went straight into the world of business, starting in his family-run paint manufacturing business, but soon moved to acquire, start and run other businesses.

He is the inventor of an antimicrobial technology and a founder director of Byotrol plc, an AIM listed anti-microbial technology company. He is Chairman of Ecospray Ltd; an agrichem business with several patents on its garlic based crop protection products. Additionally, he is on the boards of Alpha Biolaboratories, a DNA & Drug testing company as well as Preservation Paints Limited and Byoworks Pty.

He’s a successful business man and what’s more he turns ideas in microbiology into real life products. Where did he get those money making ideas? Here is the chance to find out in our event on 5th March 2015!