When pitching an idea or invention to a company, researchers often feel presented with a difficult dilemma: how can they describe the full value of the idea or invention if companies will not sign a confidentiality agreement? Essentially, the problem is that companies will often refuse to sign any Confidentiality Agreement in the earliest stages of introduction. But any presentation of confidential material without a Confidentiality Agreement poses a major risk to any new invention not yet protected by a patent.

Why do I need a “non-confidential presentation” ?

In the field of industry-university collaboration or venture investing, a research team will need to produce a non-confidential proposal. These proposals are very different to an academic grant application, where the technology drives the process. Instead, a company or investor wants to learn about the potential commercial value. Companies and investors receive thousands of presentations. They simply do not have time to read detailed research presentations.

Focus on what the technology does

Unlike a scientific presentation, a non-confidential presentation reveals none of the technicalities of the invention. Legally speaking, it does not reveal what the inventive step consists of. Instead, it focuses purely on what the technology does and how that is useful from a commercial perspective.

Key points to include in your presentation:

Unmet Need: Describe the need that your invention would address or solve?

People: Introduce the people behind your technology. Who is your project leader that will drive the project? Companies and investor will insist on a representative from your team who has the ability to understand their needs.

Intellectual Property: State if there is any patent application related to your proposal and provide the application date.

Maturity Stage: State the development stage of your technology, e.g.  Technology Readiness Levels

Funding: Does your team have sufficient funding for the continued development of the technology?

Proof of Concept Research Plan: Do you have a research plan for future experimental work?

If done correctly, the result is an easily accessible and commercially relevant presentation that protects the interests of the researcher. If interest is sparked, disclosure of the technical content of the invention can then follow in subsequent discussions under confidentiality obligations.