Every revolutionary force must stand for something. Innovation Liberation Front (ILF) wants good ideas to have impact and generate prosperity, for the innovator, their organisation and the community.
ILF believes that simply having a good idea is never enough. You have to fight long and hard to take an idea from conception to market, and you need strong allies along the way.
The word “liberation” in the ILF brand is about freeing a good idea from whatever shackles prevent it from having impact and generating prosperity. Perhaps it’s overcoming a funding issue, reducing vulnerability through a clever intellectual property strategy, identifying a clear USP and target niche, or executing a great licensing strategy – whatever your commercialisation issue is, ILF will fight to free you from it.
For our manifesto, Innovation Liberation Front has adopted a set of core values that we apply throughout our business.
Who dares wins - The famous motto of the SAS, meaning nothing ventured nothing gained. The best form of defence is attack. No guts, no glory. If you don’t try something, you’ll not succeed. Be cheeky and embrace surprise.
First win and then seek battle – one of Sun Tzu’s pillars from the Art of War. Establish your protection and defences, gather all available intelligence, plan to win from the outset. Approach everything with an appropriate state of mind.
Keep calm and carry on – credited to Churchill’s propaganda machine, for ILF it means be persistent, stick to the game plan, and overcome all adversity.
The truth shall set you free – Once the motto of the CIA, it takes a slightly different meaning for ILF. Strive to know all available facts. Be open and transparent. Retain integrity.
ILF was founded with entrepreneurial start-ups and high growth companies in mind. We understand your need for budget certainty. For this reason we fix costs at the outset for one off jobs and offer ILF memberships for businesses that truly want to partner with their IP provider. Each level of ILF membership corresponds to a different service package, for an annual fee which is paid monthly.
We can tailor a service package to suit your exact requirements if you wish, so please contact us if the existing packages don’t suit.
If our purpose and values resonate with you, we’d love to hear from you! Viva la genius!
Our terms of engagement can be found here.
Innovation Liberation Front provides a unique blend of services spanning intellectual property protection, commercialisation and intangible asset management services.
You will find full descriptions of each of the service offerings in the order they are listed in the right column by scrolling using the arrows provided
Intellectual property audits
Conduct an intellectual property audit to identify strengths, opportunities and dangers lurking in your IP portfolio. The audit can be broadened to also include intangible assets other than registered IP rights.
We assess whether your current IP portfolio supports your stated business strategy, and report on gaps and how to best fill them.
Searching and market intelligence
Conduct intellectual property searching to ensure you have freedom to operate and won't unwittingly breach anyone's rights. First win, then seek battle. Your searching will also help you to understand the competitive IP landscape. The truth will set you free!
Start with a commercialisation assessment to give you confidence to proceed with your innovation project or to abandon it. First win, then seek battle!
Intangible asset management
We design and help implement intangible asset management (IAM) processes within your business. Ensuring you identify, capture, catalogue and extract value from your intangibles, and have an appropriate feedback loop to measure results. We can also provide outsourced IP management services, tailored to your requirements - be that one day per quarter, month or week.
Assistance with business plans
Maximise your chance of raising capital and successfully commercialise your innovation. Let us help you with your business documentation and pitch.
Licensing strategy development
Licensing is a great business model that lets you earn passive income from your innovation. Choosing a licensee that has fantastic channels to market and great marketing resources will ensure your innovation gets to market faster and achieves much greater market penetration than you could hope to achieve on your own.
Negotiation of an IP deal is significantly more complex than most other negotiations. You need the help of an expert in the field to ensure you maximize your deal value. We are open to discussing a retainer plus success fee arrangement in appropriate circumstances.
Patents protect novel and inventive features of products or processes. They are a valuable business tool for raising capital, marketing, market defense and exiting a business.
Trade mark services
Your brand will be one of your most valuable assets. You can register words, logos, shapes, colours and sounds as trade marks.
Registered design services
A novel design for an industrial article can be protected using a registered design.
Copyright protects the expression of ideas in writings, drawings, sculptures, plans, music, sound recordings, software and other works. It does not protect the idea itself. It can be used to protect the shape of a 3D article in NZ
IAM education and training
ILF loves spreading the word about intellectual property and intangible asset management. We regularly speak at conferences and will design a workshop or seminar specific to your business needs.
The term patent troll is a derogatory term used to describe people or companies that acquire patents with a view to aggressively licensing them to potential infringers. Often this “stick licensing” is their only business strategy. A patent troll may obtain patents by buying them at auctions (for example from a bankrupt company attempting to liquidate assets), by approaching individuals or small businesses whose patents have just been granted to sell them, or sometimes by attempting to oppose or invalidate a patent as a means to negotiate a purchase.read more
Software as a service is a software licensing and delivery model in which software is centrally hosted and is licensed on a subscription basis to users who access it using a thin client via a web browser. It is sometimes referred to as "on-demand software". SaaS has become a common delivery model for many business applications, changing the way businesses of all sizes in all industries use software. The SaaS model meant the end of business as usual in the software world. For customers, the benefits are obvious and compelling: they get sophisticated functionality without up-front expenses or the hassles associated with the installation and maintenance of traditional software. For vendors of such services, the model provides low barriers to entry and unprecedented opportunities, as well as new risks and challenges. Creating and managing a SaaS company demands a new way of running a business—one that extends to all business areas that make up an organization. To build up a successful SaaS company one needs to consider the following:read more
You may be interested in starting a new business, expanding an existing business (extending your territory or the nature of business) or improving the market position of your SME by increasing the quality or availability of your goods or services. In many situations, licensing of intellectual property rights is an effective tool for achieving these business goals. Licensing started in its modern form in the 1930s when Herman Kamen obtained the licensing rights to Walt Disney properties. It has since developed into a highly sophisticated business model worth trillions at retail sales level. A licensing agreement is a collaboration between an intellectual property rights owner (the licensor) and another who is authorized to use those rights (the licensee) in exchange for an agreed payment (usually a fee or royalty).read more
The Australian government last week announced its final measure Accelerating Commercialisation as part of the Entrepreneur’s Infrastructure Programme (EIP). The government had announced its $482.2 million Entrepreneur’s Infrastructure Programme in May after it axed the previously existing Commercialisation Australia and Innovation Investment Fund for start-ups. EIP was launched with the main objective to drive business growth and competitiveness through support for business improvement and promoting economic growth through research connections and commercialisation of novel products, processes and services.read more
Letters from the Front – Innovation Story from the front line of commerce: David Hillier is passionate about his idea for a social movement changing the way individuals connect with the brands they love and give back to causes they care about. The Little Lot app transforms advertising dollars into charitable donations. Brands pay to feature on the wallpaper of a subscriber’s computer or smartphone, and Little Lot donates 75% of that fee to a charity of the subscriber’s choice. This zero-cost daily donation is facilitated through a suite of apps for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS, which serve up three designer wallpapers to your device each day.read more
An exit strategy is an essential part of any effective commercialisation strategy which is often overlooked. A great business plan will integrate an exit strategy for investors, thus showing them that the model will result in benefits and profits for them, no matter what happens. An exit strategy can have various forms, depending on the investment, the general climate and the business. A good exit strategy, well matched to the characteristics of the business and market, will not only improve the probabilities of success but will also shorten the time to exit, and often significantly increase the ultimate exit valuationread more
Since the announcement of termination of Commercialisation Australia and the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) by the Australian government in its 2014-15 Federal budget, start-ups have been immensely affected. In total, eight programs will be scrapped by January 2015, saving a projected AU$846.6 million over five years. Taking their place is the Entrepreneurs’ Infrastructure Program at a cost of AU$484.2 million over the same five-year span. These cutbacks deal a devastating blow to public funding assistance in the start-up scene, with the new infrastructure program seeming little more than a conciliatory gesture.read more
Seed funding is described by “Inc.” magazine as the earliest round of capital that is required by a start-up company. The term 'Seed funding' can be applied to any finance raised at the outset of a new venture to allow for development. Seed funding allows start-ups to establish proof of concept, develop prototype products and generate sufficient investor interest for successive financing rounds. In some cases, seed funding may be provided by friends or family or by the business-owners themselves, but outside help is generally required for a new business to survive. Angel investors will sometimes get involved in a startup at the seed funding stage. Venture capitalists are usually involved much later than seed funding, and normally take some ownership of shares in the company. Banks and other financial institutions, which provide business loans, will usually only get involved in a startup at seed funding stages if the owners have other collateral to put against the loans.read more
In the zealous attempt to get a startup to market, legal issues can often be disregarded during the run-up to launch. Key legal issues should ideally be addressed at an early stage to minimise risk and maximise the value of your investment. The considerations below are a starting point and in no way constitute an exhaustive list of legal issues that need to be considered. One of the first questions is how your business should be structured from a legal perspective. Setting up a limited company in which you, your business partners and any investors can hold shares, is usually a preferred option. This has the key advantage of limiting personal liability of the owners of the company. The company has a separate 'legal personality', and can borrow money and enter contracts in its own right. Other main types of business structure in New Zealand are sole trader and partnership.read more
A recent Federal Court ruling in an Australian court in case of MPEG LA LLC v Regency Media  FCA 180 provided legal guidance on whether a licence can be terminated when any one of the patents it covers expires. However, broader issues still need to be considered. This ruling highlights the need for Australian policy makers to revise section 145 of the Patents Act to address the uncertain application of the provision, and also the issue that is may permit the evasion of patent pool licence agreements. According to section 145 of Australian Patents Acts: A contract relating to the lease of, or a licence to exploit, a patented invention may be terminated by either party, on giving 3 months' notice in writing to the other party, at any time after the patent, or all the patents, by which the invention was protected at the time the contract was made have ceased to be in force.read more
Australia in its latest budget axed several start-up funds and among the victims of the budget reform are the Innovation Investment Fund (IIF) and Commercialisation Australia (a $213 million grants program for start-ups), two important pillars of a support system for Australian technology and innovation. IIF was established to seed venture capital firms and innovative Australian companies. SEEK, one of Australia’s most successful companies was an early beneficiary of the program. Likewise, Commercialisation Australia – a government initiative offering funding and resources to businesses, researchers, and inventors looking to commercialise innovative intellectual property – will also be killed. Commercialisation Australia has so far supported over 500 companies with grants in excess of $200 million. These changes are of particular concern to SMEs and development-stage companies that access and rely on these funds.read more
What are the implications of new Chinese trade mark laws for New Zealand exporters? The bilateral relationship between New Zealand and China has grown to become one of New Zealand’s most valuable and important. As a global and regional power, New Zealand’s second-largest trading partner, China is important to New Zealand as a bilateral, regional and multilateral partner. The New Zealand–China Free Trade Agreement is a bilateral free trade agreement signed between the People's Republic of China and New Zealand in April 2008.read more
Business Planning - A business plan covers what you intend to do with your business and how it will be done. The process of writing down what is involved in bringing your idea to reality requires dealing with the why, what, who, how, where, when, and how much of your venture. Writing a business plan forces you to take a deep look at your idea and how you will turn it into a business. Doing so helps you recognize areas that need rethinking or support.read more
Development - The next stage in commercialisation after ideation is the development of the product from the idea to the market stage. Product development is the process that takes that idea through a series of stages until the concept emerges at the end of the process as a completed product ready for the market. At the development stage of the product life cycle, it needs to be ensured that the idea will meet the potential customer expectations as well as design, resource and manufacturing requirements. While planning for all the potential outcomes and risks in advance is essential, the process should be iterative – testing ideas, designs and such like against prospective customers, challenging your own assumptions about the product, how it might be used, what is important, and such like.read more
Ideation - The world is full of ideas. We see lots of ideas in everyday objects at home, work, school and at play. All of these ideas were thought up or created by someone. Ideation is the process of discovering new business opportunities. New ideas often arise from simple questions like ‘what is this?’, ‘what is it for?’, ‘what could it be for?’, and ‘why is it this way’ etc. It is a creative process involving deliberate brainstorming and there are a number of tools and considerations that can help generate powerful ideas.read more
Kickstarter backers experienced a rude awakening when Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook. Monetary pledges, developer time and emotional investments in the virtual reality startup offer no legal recourse and no payoff for a company that is acquired for $2 billion. Only people with equity stakes — private stock — in the company enjoy the windfall. The question being asked now is should companies using crowdfunding to launch a business also offer some stake in the company? The answer lies in the new wave of up-and-coming crowdfunding sites that will be offering equity instead of rewards or gifts.read more
Intellectual Property and a Russian Free Trade Agreement - Emerging trade relations give rise to various concerns the not least of which is the differences in legal systems between trading partners. In particular, the regimes for intellectual property protection can significantly differ across different countries. With New Zealand reportedly poised to sign a Free Trade Agreement with Russia in 2014 we need to take a closer look into Russian intellectual property law to understand what opportunities or traps it may hold for New Zealand businesses.read more
What is the lean startup movement? "Lean Startup" is a method for developing businesses and products which was first proposed in 2011 by Eric Ries. The Lean Startup takes its name from the lean manufacturing revolution that Taiichi Ohno and Shigeo Shingo are credited with developing at Toyota. “Lean start-up” favours experimentation, over-elaborate planning, customer feedback over intuition, and iterative design over traditional “big design up front” development. Ries claims that startups can shorten their product development cycles by adopting a combination of business-model hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning. Ries' overall claim is that if startups invest their time into iteratively building products or services to meet the needs of early customers, they can reduce the market risks and sidestep the need for large amounts of initial project funding and expensive product launches and failures.read more
I've decided to raise money for my startup using a crowd funding platform. What can I do to increase my chances of success? Crowdfunding is gaining popularity as a source for generating funds for new ideas. It is an alternative financing method where the collective effort of many individuals to each provide small funding support helps finance the initiatives of other individuals or companies. Projects funded can vary from movie production to starting a business to disaster relief. Many famous products such as TikTok, Pebble and the game Wasteland 2 have gained their initial funding with the help of crowd funding websites. At the same time there are many products and ideas put up on these crowdfunding websites which are not able to garner enough support. One of the most famous crowd funding websites Kickstarter has a 56% failure rate. So what are the factors which distinguish the success and failure of these projects? In this article we are going to discuss a few tips which can help your crowdfunding campaign to succeed.read more
Crowd funding is by definition, “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.” Instead of traditional investors, crowd funding campaigns are funded by the general public. Web-based crowd funding platforms serve as intermediaries that connect fund seekers and fund providers. This concept can be compared to crowdsourcing, which refers to organizations that outsource tasks to a large and undefined group of people. Research indicates that crowd funding can serve as an alternative way for small entrepreneurial ventures to finance their projects. Typically, most successful crowd funding projects receive about 25-40% of their revenue from friends, family, work acquaintances, or anyone that the owner is connected to. Once a project has seen some grip, unrelated consumers start coming out of the woodwork to support campaigns they believe in.read more
There is usually a huge timeline involved in the development of a life science product/technology from the initial idea stage. One of the first major problems faced is how to determine whether a market for the product exists, whether the product will create value, and if so will investors help fund further development of the technology. Market validation can help answer a lot of questions surrounding the product such as helping to understand the actual market opportunities available as well as help map out the future competitors and partners.read more
How do I go about determining an appropriate royalty rate? The key definition in the royalty provisions is not the size of the royalty rate, but the base to which the royalty rate is applied. Should the royalty be a percentage of the invoiced sale price of the product, the manufactured cost or profit margin? Should the royalty be a piece rate – that is a set figure per product sold or manufactured?read more
Letters from the Front - Innovation story from the front line of commerce: Aucklander Mat Wylie developed Customer Radar after spotting a gap in the market for a disruptive technology that would for the first time provide companies with a live view of their business. Customer Radar is a live customer feedback technology using the mobile phone as the main feedback channel. It enables customers to provide live feedback on their experience to help companies see their business through their customers’ eyes. Live dashboards provide real time performance benchmarking and the company can be quickly alerted to dissatisfied customers, enabling service recovery to keep customers they may otherwise lose. The positive feedback received is used to encourage staff and see what customers like.read more
Letters from the Front - Innovation story from the front line of commerce: Innovation and entrepreneurship can be lonely. That's why Mark Hampton, the Kiwi inventor behind the HiLo Lens, believes collaboration has been critical to his success so far. “Being a sole founder was one of my greatest hurdles. I've collaborated with a lot of freelancers to bounce ideas off. Publishing what I was doing before having product available was a small risk, but led to great collaborations.” But where collaboration is concerned, Hampton has a warning for budding entrepreneurs. “Be wary of any advice from people who don't know your market or your technology as well as you do. Find people who know more about the market and technology than you do”.read more
Letters from the Front - Innovation story from the front line of commerce: Robb Huskinson is excited about his vision to build a platform for Kiwis to make extra cash from the things they own. Rentaholic.com is a peer to peer sharing internet platform for people to rent their things to each other. “We are going to build a great online community of Rentaholics and enable them to meet all sorts of interesting people along the way” he says. “The germ of the idea for Rentaholic.com was planted by a friend a long time ago, and it has just evolved over time”. And it’s still evolving. Huskinson says the prototype site, which has been live since late last year is now undergoing a massive overhaul and a change in the monetization model.read more
Letters from the Front - Innovation story from the front line of commerce: Innovation is often said to be 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Ideas are plentiful, but having the gumption to seize upon an idea and battle for years to see it come to fruition is rare indeed. Letters from the Front: Innovation story from the front line of commerce: Debbie Chester, who founded RimPro-Tec with her husband Chris in 2009, is one of that rare breed. “It’s a big risk at the start putting everything on the line and working as hard as you possibly can. I worked 17 hours a day for 4 years, building up our other business during the day so we could pay for R&D and IP protection for RimPro-Tec, and then working on RimPro-Tec after hours” says Debbie. “It was a hard stressful and expensive few years”. If you’ve ever pulled into a car park only to crunch your gleaming alloys on the kerb, then you’ll understand the consumer pain Debbie and Chris have targeted with their product.read more
Is it worth suing someone who is infringing my intellectual property? Ultimately, we believe it comes down to a question of cost versus benefit. IP litigation can be very expensive, if proceedings are taken all the way to a hearing. However, having a well resourced competitor eating your market share with a cheap copy of your product, or a confusing brand will cost you more in the long run, and could threaten the very existence of your business. Most litigation can be resolved long before the Court room door, and finding a negotiated settlement is almost always in the best interests of both parties. You may be going too far if you are commencing proceedings against someone who isn't damaging your business with their infringing activity, or you are suing someone "as a matter of principle".read more
When are trade secrets more valuable than patents? A trade secret is confidential information that is not known generally within the relevant industry. Things like manufacturing processes, optimal operating conditions and recipes are sometimes suitable to be kept as a trade secret. I found one reference stating that the estimated value of trade secrets in the United States alone is $5 trillion – so clearly some trade secrets are enormously valuable. The advantage trade secrets have over patents is that there is no time limit on protection – provided it remains a secret you can enjoy the benefit indefinitely, whereas patent exclusivity expires after 20 years. But keeping a secret for longer than twenty years is an extremely difficult task. Think of how many different staff might have access to your secret over 20 years, and the likelihood that one of them might not follow correct protocol, become disgruntled, actively steal the secret or just move into a competitive business where their particular knowledge of the secret might be put to use.read more
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