Lundatex: "The value of the research is manifested in the patents"
Put together a surgeon with a professor of physics and maths... add a textiles researcher... and give them an unsolved problem in wound healing. The result is Lundatex, a patented bandage technology that always provides the correct pressure.
Studies show that only 12 per cent of health care professionals wrap bandages with the correct pressure. Too little pressure results in poor or ineffective treatment while too much pressure can cause serious injury to patients. Professor Torbjörn Lundh, Deputy Vice-Chancellor at the University of Gothenburg and co-founder of PressCise AB, learned of this problem from a surgeon, and decided to solve it. His research has resulted in compression products that make it easier for health care professionals to apply bandages with the correct pressure. The bandage has both longitudinal and transverse grooves that should be applied to form straight stretches when the body part is bandaged.
"The technique involves combining mathematics with a clever material. When applying for a patent, it can be a challenge to show that the technology really has an inventive step while at first glance it may seem simple," says Torbjörn.
It was obvious to Torbjörn Lundh and his team that they would apply for a patent. It was never even discussed.
"Applying for a patent felt natural, otherwise we'd be cooked. This is my third patent, so I already knew my way around. It was much harder the first time. The hardest part is finding the right consultant to work with. In the academic world, we are used to the idea that no one dares say anything unless they are 100% sure. I've learned the hard way that it doesn't work that way in all industries," says Torbjörn.
Patents and skills are the greatest assets
In the end, PressCise obtained a patent for its technology and today the patents, together with its expertise, are its greatest assets.
"The company’s value is manifested in our patents. It's one of the company's cores. The other core is all those working for the company and their skills," says Torbjörn.
Risks of being too comprehensive
The company has chosen to go directly to the international market, instead of starting in Sweden. Many choose to start their patent journey in Sweden because it is both cheaper and easier, while providing a high quality review. In retrospect, Torbjörn sees several risks in wanting to protect his technology everywhere.
"At the start, we were too comprehensive. This is both unnecessarily expensive, and ineffective. What happens if a big company infringes our patent in a country where we don't really have a market? We don't have enough muscle to operate there. So, we’ve learned to select a few key countries where we know we have our market," says Torbjörn.
He believes Sweden has great potential that we could better exploit by identifying early on those students and researchers who are inexperienced in managing intellectual property.
"We at the universities want the same thing as the Swedish Intellectual Property Office. That is, to train researchers and students in the management and utilisation of intellectual assets. So many ideas fall by the wayside because of mistakes in these respects. Together, we could improve patents. It would be great for Sweden,” says Torbjörn.
Torbjörn's advice for taking research to market
- "Enrol in a course with the Swedish Intellectual Property Office. At the University of Gothenburg, we offer a training course in utilisation of research together with the Intellectual Property Office. It's available at numerous universities and I highly recommend it.” More information about the Intellectual Property Office's courses at universities.
- Be careful when choosing a consultant. A major expense for start-ups is consultant costs. Think about what you can do yourself, and get your money's worth from the consultant. Ask for references from other companies.
- Consider whether your research solves a real problem. Scrutinise the problem before presenting the solution. Find out if anyone is willing to pay for the solution.
- Get help from the Intellectual Property Office. They are always prompt and give good answers.