Innovation and IP— CO2 in the mix
CarbonCure is leading the concrete industry to a low-carbon future. With its breakthrough CO2-conversion technology, the Halifax-based cleantech company has developed an economical way to reduce carbon emissions during the concrete manufacturing process.
Retrofitted into existing concrete plants across North America, CarbonCure’s patented technology introduces waste carbon dioxide into the concrete mix during production to reduce CO2 emissions and improve strength. The result is a cost-effective, higher performance concrete with a lower environmental impact.
IP formula for success
CarbonCure has built a successful company through innovation and leveraging its intellectual property (IP) as an asset in the marketplace. Acknowledging the fundamental role of IP, Rob Niven, CEO and founder of CarbonCure says: “IP is one of those things like health and safety, if you don't get that right, then the foundation of your company washes away.”
Mr. Niven reveals that CarbonCure's formula for success is:
- an effective IP strategy
- a sound IP portfolio
- IP knowledge among the team
As the key to CarbonCure's success, this powerful combination has enabled the company to acquire venture capital, attract customers, license its technology, and increase market reach.
Developing an effective IP strategy
IP strategies that increase opportunities for innovation and growth are key to business success in a competitive marketplace. Mr. Niven stresses that “if you have a good IP strategy, you can raise venture capital, attract people, and build a strong company.”
Identifying the organization's business goals is a vital first step in the IP strategy development process. A sound IP strategy is aligned with a business strategy and pursues the same objectives. Once the business goals are identified, decisions can be made about how IP will be used to accomplish business goals.
The significant value of patents
In addition to their defensive value, patents are valuable strategic assets and powerful business tools, helping new and growing businesses acquire financial support and generate revenue through licensing.
In its early stages, pursuing patent rights enabled CarbonCure to successfully prove its concept and estimate the value of the company. This led to securing venture capital to further develop its technology, broaden its marketing efforts, and attract customers.
As a patent holder, CarbonCure was then able to generate revenue through licensing its technology to concrete plants where the equipment is retrofitted to existing machinery.
Multiple licences later and currently moving into other related markets, Mr. Niven emphasizes that it is “critical to have a strong IP portfolio because no one is going to invest in a company unless they know that there are barriers to entry for competitors, such as IP.”
IP knowledge is a team affair
As IP knowledge is invaluable when researching and developing business ideas, the entire CarbonCure technology department is IP-savvy. They have all gained useful, hands-on experience with intellectual property concepts through McGill's IP summer program.
CarbonCure applied that knowledge from the first patent search establishing its freedom to operate, to owning patents and trademarks in various countries. A business does not want to rely solely on their IP council to make decisions because occasionally, by the time the legal team is involved, it is too late.
CEO tips for SMEs
- Look at IP as a necessary business skill-set.
- Establish a good IP strategy right from the beginning.
CarbonCure's environment-saving efforts have established the company as a world leader in the field of using CO2 as a valuable input to make better materials. CarbonCure's accomplishments demonstrate the significant role of intellectual property in the success of a business.
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