Entrepreneurs see advantage where others don't. They seize advantage by aligning people and resources to their vision. The bolder the vision, the greater the need for commercialisation strategy, business process, financial modelling and contracts.
Here's a story of one such entrepreneur.
In 2003 a tall and lanky engineer came with his rucksack to the Dilanchian Lawyers & Consultants office for a meeting.
One of Australia's largest mining and steel production companies had paid him for his consulting time for a hydrogen diffusion system in steel production. It insisted on not paying for his intellectual property (IP) created in inventing technical designs and solutions.
For many long hours we listened to the history of development of his technical solution. We did this to identify the engineer's legal position and IP. The conversation carried over to the next day when we reviewed his technical drawings. Our advice was that the chance of victory in court was too low. There was a disparity in the financial means of the parties. Moreover, our client had invented a solution but had lacked the writing and negotiation skills to precisely define, document and protect his IP.
Our client was unhappy with the advice to not sue. He objected, felt robbed, but ultimately accepted the logic of the advice. He said he comes up with stuff, and might be back one day.
Our engineer client was Vladimir Medic, a Serbian-Australian. For him to avoid similar problems in the future, we provided him with a customised consultancy letter agreement.
In 2004 Vladimir returned with his rucksack. It was full of notes and graphs for a soot blowing technology concept for a coal-fired electricity generating plant in Port Augusta, South Australia. Consulting work had given him a hunch. He had a technology solution, and a team of compatriots steeped in deep learning about industrial processes. They evoked images of Soviet era smoke stacks in East Europe.
Vladimir wanted business engineering from us. This included IP licences and assignments, various types of additional contracts, and business structuring advice.
Seven years on… Vladimir's company, IT-1 Pty Ltd, has a system that is designed, installed, tested and operates at the plant in Port Augusta. The invention is part hardware, part software, part know-how.
It is patented and fully documented, making protection feasible under patent, copyright, confidential information, contract and company laws. IT-1 is positioned to go to the next level.
Importantly Vladimir has a passionate and dedicated team of collaborators. We've all put in enormous sweat equity into the venture. Its growing legal protections make it worth it, as does its global market. There are thousands of coal-fired plants worldwide belching C02.
In 2011 the system's time has arrived. The technology increases boiler efficiency, reduces CO2 emissions, reduces plant erosion and has clinker development protection. It automates monitoring of coal-fired power plant parameters such as soot build-up, temperatures, flow and pressures, then fires up cleaning device to blow off soot build-up. Soot impedes operational efficiency, the more soot there is in boilers the more coal has to be burned to create a similar quantity of power. The system lowers C02 emissions for a greener future. It saves money for power companies by reducing capital expenditure, system downtime and coal consumption.
To lock in this competitive advantage, our firm has paved the system's commercialisation path with over 20 contracts. There's contracts with power companies, licensees, programmers, hardware installers, and consulting engineers. They reduce the risk of disputes and help achieve targeted outcomes by documenting deals and referencing the system's IP and technical information.
Progress has required a multi-disciplinary team even in our firm. In 2005 Daniel Dwyer profiled the technology in four tight pages of writing. He has degrees in law and IT and before he joined our firm he worked at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation. In 2010 Michael Ney, our digital media services consultant, sat for weeks with Vladimir in our office documenting the evolved fuller system for both contract preparation and a forthcoming second patent. Noric Dilanchian has worked throughout on venture structuring, licence fees, contracts and dispute resolution.
We can't afford to support many clients like Vladimir. Yet we welcome clients like him. They recognise that plans should come before contract drafting and value the fact that law and consultancy in combination build businesses. Lawyers are called too often after a fire has started. We prefer to build fire proof structures, more like engineers and architects.
Vladimir is an adaptive entrepreneur. His company will be filing a second patent and is now open for investment, supported by plans, proposals and financial statement forecasts which we've helped him pull together.
Call if you have an interest in the IT-1 system or seek a quote from us.