Secrets of my Success: From Patents to Patients

Barbara Lead, Director, AnaxsysBarbara Lead, Director, Anaxsys, shares her thoughts on how Intellectual Property (IP) has supported Anaxsys on its journey.

A groundbreaking discovery can sometimes transform your life. For Anaxsys, everything changed when we discovered that the percentage of water in someone’s breath could effectively detect asthma, lung cancer and other lung diseases. Additionally, as a patient’s breathing rate is an essential early indicator of serious medical issues such as heart attacks and respiratory problems such as lung infections including pneumonia ; we soon realised that assessing respiratory rates could save lives. This led to us launching our first product respiR8.

When you come up with something innovative and exciting like this, it’s important to patent it. This helps to secure funding, enabling you to develop your product further and launch it into the marketplace. At Anaxsys, we were fortunate that one of our founders had strong IP knowledge and understood the process. For SMEs without such an expert, here is some advice to help you get the most out of your creative ideas.

SMEs benefit the most

Many SMEs feel that only larger companies can profit from IP. This cannot be further from the truth. In fact, IP is beneficial to companies of all sizes and it’s often the smaller firms that can gain the most. This is because they are likely to be more reliant on IP to help establish themselves in the marketplace and as a result, SMEs file more patents and trademarks relative to their assets and number of employees than large companies. According to an IDC report for the European Commission, SMEs in the ICT sector that use intellectual property rights (IPR), have approx. 10% higher turnover, market share and employment growth than their counterparts without IPR.

IP is not just patents

Managing IP is an important business skill. It can be used in nearly all stages of business from product development, design, service delivery, marketing to securing investment and expanding abroad through licensing or franchising. Almost every SME has either a trade name or one or more trademarks and should consider registering them to keep their brand safe and maximise its potential.

Improve your bottom line

Most SMEs will have valuable business information, from new product ideas and designs to computer software or film recordings. Products or services that have IP have been found to be worth on average between 180 to 240% more than those that do not have it. Companies who use IP can also significantly increase their market valuation, turnover, investment and employee growth.

IP and funding go hand-in-hand

Attracting funding is not an easy feat, however it is dramatically improved with IP. Investors will not part with their money if they are in any doubt about your company’s ability to generate a strong return on investment. Patent applications and issued patents have been shown to speed up venture capital funding for start-up companies by 76%. They also lead to more investors, larger amounts of investment, and a greater likelihood of achieving an initial public offering (IPO)i. Anaxsys is a case in point; with the granting of our patents, we secured a grant of over £350k from the Technology Strategy Board for our respiR8 device.

Research and share

To increase your knowledge of the IP system worldwide and gain a deeper understanding of how it can benefit you, use online resources such those from the European Patent Office (EPO) or free business IP tools from the Intellectual Property Office (IPO). Additionally, it helps to collaborate with other SMEs. For example, earlier this year, we shared our experience at an event run by the consortium, Ideas Matter to help promote creativity and innovation in healthcare and enable others to learn from our experiences.

SMEs are some of the biggest drivers of business growth, employment, creativity and innovation. By looking after their ideas, company, brand and products with IP, they are setting up their company for a strong and prosperous future.

To discover more about how IP can benefit SMEs like Anaxsys please visit:

i (Haeussler 2009, Cao and Hsu 2010)

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