problem1) Describe the role of technology and technology management in overall business strategies of a firm: How does technology affect business plan of a company? Give exs.
problem2) What are the factors to be considered in developing technology strategies and R&D management?
Description of Company
Senselect Ltd was founded in the United Kingdom by John Topping in 2000. Company was formed to develop innovative and secure biometric access control systems - Senselect technology. Rather than use single biometric characteristic (like a single fingerprint), Senselect technology uses biometric sequences (like finger sequence) to provide secure, easy to use systems that replace conventional passwords and PINs.
Senselect technology could be applied to the wide range of equipment from terminals like ATM’s, retail Point of Sale terminals, computer systems, mobile phones, building access mechanisms and electronic equipment. Senselect technology simplifies system access while both increasing speed of access and improving system security. Privacy issues are also addressed as user could change their biometric sequence and thereby control use of their stored biometric templates.
Senselect supports large scale government, financial and commercial biometric projects and is presently the only technology available to incorporate sequential biometrics. Additionally, Senselect technology make sure accurate and high speed matching of individual's identity in large scale biometric installations like the UK ID Card project or cross-border access control.
Senselect owns UK and USA biometric patents. A core technology patent, GB2342749 was published by UK Patent Office in November 2000 and complementary USA Patent was granted to company in November 2003. Original patent is also in an advanced stage of completion within European Union. Extra patents have now been lodged with UK and European Patent Office to create the patent portfolio around original UK core technology patent. The intention is to take these extra patents forward into USA and into individual European Country patents.
Company also registered and were granted three trademarks – Senselect (also the company name), BioSentric and Sign-Gate. All are registered Trademarks of Senselect Ltd.
Issues - Patents as Assets
The direct cost to the company of obtaining the patents was in the region of £25,000. Extra costs such as travel will have to be added to this. Costs were kept low because the company staff did as much of the work on the patents themselves. Now that biometrics is emerging as a very hot topic, asset value of these patents to the business runs into millions (most recent valuation is £2.7 million). This in itself is a very healthy return on investment (ROI) over the four years of the company.
Ultimately, additionally to demonstrating the significance of protecting IPR in a situation of high business potential, the whole exercise has helped us to understand our business better – and that of our competitor s.
problem1) As a guide, how you evaluate value of the patents to Senselect? Do they justify the time and money spent on acquiring them? What are the intangible benefits of IPR.
problem2) “Patents are key assets as they underpin company’s business potential and future development“. Considering the case describe the statement.