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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 8 July 2009 Referencing Hub media

    Researchers at Riddet Institute knew there was an opportunity to sell their microencapsulation technology to food companies. Having a patent is important because it proves the technology is unique. Companies who make new technologies look for a patent for this reason.


    Dr Harjinder Singh (Riddet Institute)

    This project was totally driven by commercial opportunities. So we thought that we could create this new technology and patent it and then, if it was proven to work, then we’ll try to set up a partnership with a New Zealand company or an international company and take it forward. That’s what most companies who are going to commercialise university research are looking for. We can only develop knowledge, and to take that knowledge forward, you need someone who knows the commercial world and also can deal with the manufacturing. So we came together and formed a joint venture company called Speirs Nutritionals Limited. That is owned by Speirs Group, Massey University and Bio Commerce Centre. So now they have exclusive rights to this IP, and they’ve built a manufacturing plant in Marton for the emulsion and they are doing the marketing and distribution at the moment.

    The procedure usually is you have a provisional patent – say, in New Zealand, you file for a provisional patent for a year. After 1 year, it goes to the PCT stage when it is published, so you can search on the internet and you can find all the details, all the data. The way the patents are written by the lawyers, they give you a wide range of conditions and as much coverage as possible but they don’t tell you the exact information. If you’ve gone through the patent procedure, you can claim it is a unique proposition. Patenting seems to be the most important part, and that’s what most companies who are going to commercialise university research are looking for.

    Spiers Nutritionals Ltd