Product Development

Non-profit research labs are founded to conduct basic research and investigate new knowledge. Funds for this research must be applied to the facilities and resources needed to conduct the research. In the process of conducting this research many promising discoveries are made which may or may not have commercial value. Commercializing the discovery; developing the discovery to the point where it can be profitably sold to a customer, is outside the realm of a research lab and must be done by another entity; a translational research lab, start-up company or larger corporation.

Commercializing the discovery involves the transfer of technology from the lab to the commercial entity. This can be done in a number of ways but there are some fundamental principals that must be followed in all cases:

  • the intellectual property of the discovery must be protected
  • the discovery must have some commercial value

Although the research laboratory may feel that a certain discovery is far better than some established commercial product, the discovery itself is a long way from being a product. Unfortunately, most research labs do not have the resources to evaluate the commercial viability of the discovery and must rely on outside consultation to determine its value. Large universities have departments that provide this function; inventions are passed onto the department to be evaluated. However, with many competing research labs, valuable discoveries may not receive proper evaluation and be overlooked.

Some inventors may package the inventions themselves in order to commercialize the product. They may even seek investors to assist with the commercialization. Without conducting a proper due diligence, this can lead to much wasted time and effort.