Why commercialise?

Commercialisation provides funding for research and benefits for the society. For a researcher it is an opportunity to put science into practise.
A quick guide to commercialisation at the University of Helsinki
Why commercialise?

What are the benefits of commercialisation? Would it not be better just to publish the results? What do I need to commit to, if I wish to commercialise my idea or invention?

The idea of commercialising research raises many questions. The publication and commercialisation of research results are often pitted against each other as if they were mutually exclusive options. In reality syncronising publication with commercialisation support each other and add value and significance to the research results. Both are highly useful, particularly when applying for international funding.

Research results that form the basis for commercialisation can normally be freely published as soon as a patent application is filed to the patent authorities. Well prepared application provides required protection to the relevant intellectual property rights. For optimal timing, contact us as early as possible, ideally in good time before submitting your article for publication.

Put your inventions to use

The results of universities are increasingly measured by the practicality of their research, for example, the number of patents they produce. Because the purpose of academic research is to produce knowledge and solutions for the benefit of all, the results must be easily exploitable rather than remain in the hands of a small academic community.

The University has seen a pleasant upswing in the number of invention and idea disclosures. In 2020 HIS received 121 invention disclosures. A total of 47 patent applications were submitted in 2020.

The commercialisation process explores opportunities to use the invention in different arenas.

In addition to providing independent insight, your invention can provide the missing link needed for a technology, medication or application developed elsewhere and, thus, lead to great strides in the field. This is yet another reason why inventions should always be disclosed.

What is an invention?

When your insight makes your colleagues wonder why they did not come up with the same idea, you have probably discovered something significant. According to the Foundation for Finnish Inventions, an invention is a new, surprising and practicable solution to a problem.

Your invention can be a new product, service or method, or a combination of the above. It can also be an improvement to an existing product, service or method, or it can apply an established technology in a novel way. Crucially, the invention must be realisable and have a clear need and demand for the solution it offers.

You can assess the novelty value of your idea by comparing it to previously published patents and patent applications in various patent databases.  Public patent databases can be found at the following addresses: www.prh.fiwww.uspto.gov and www.espacenet.com.

Commercialising other innovations

Do you have an idea of how your research could serve the public, but not exactly an invention? Commercialising it may still be possible.

Certain types of inventions, such as research tools and methods, do not necessarily have to be patented when they are commercialised. Such inventions include cell lines, antibodies and proteins as well as new research methods.

Computer software programs and algorithms are not patentable as such. However, it may be possible to protect them as part of an invention, if certain conditions are met. However, applying for a patent may not be a requirement for the commercialisation process to be launched in such cases. Contact us, and we can together find the best way to move forward with your innovation.

Disclose your innovation without delay

When you think you have created an invention, you should report it to us as soon as possible by submitting an invention and idea disclosure. University staff is also obligated to disclose their inventions under the Act on the Right to Inventions Made at Higher Education Institutions (pdf) (No 369/2006), but an invention disclosure is particularly worthwhile as it ensures that your invention will receive appropriate attention and consideration. However, the Act places no obligation on researchers to participate in the commercialisation of the invention in any other way. On the other hand, it can be challenging, or even impossible, to commercialise an invention with no support from the inventing researcher.

If your invention proves to be commercially interesting and protectable, preparation for its commercialisation can begin. The stages of this process include identifying potential customers and markets, which may lead to licensing or the establishment of a new company.

The aim is to develop the invention to a marketable form. Because the University will bear the responsibility for funding the commercialisation, this is a unique opportunity that should not be missed.

If you are unsure whether you have made an invention that can be commercialised, please send us a short description of your idea and we will contact you about it. Of course, we will handle your message in the strictest of confidence.