Maximising the power of IP: Inventia's 3D bioprinting

Here's how an Australian owned company revolutionised 3D cell biology and successfully commercialised its intellectual property (IP) in the process.

Inventia develop, manufacture and sell equipment and reagents for advanced medical research assays by means of 3D bioprinting. RASTRUM™️ is a bench-top medical device that prints 3D cell models, using living human cells, quickly and efficiently within a safe, self-contained environment.

Inventia has used a combination of IP rights to protect their business. Hear about their their journey to commercialisation and IP protection.

Inventia Life Science was created in 2013. I had the idea of producing a 3D bioprinting. For the last 40 years or so, anyone that growing cells in the laboratory to do research, they grow the cells on a plastic surface as a monolayer of cells. The idea of producing a 3D model has already been very well established in science that they are much better, much more reliable.

However, there is no way to mass produce those models at an effective way or even being
reproducible. And that's what this machine does. It produces a high number of individual
3D models. Very low cost and very fast.

Our first patent was filed in 2015 and that was a process planned around our first biological application. And that patent has just been granted in Australia and the US and Europe this year. On the bioprinter we have a number of patents there. Part of the product is a consumable, so that is a really critical part of our product, as it the primary revenue drivers
because it's an ongoing consumable product that our customers use. And in order to protect that cartridge, that consumable, we filed design protection for the cartridge design. So that protects the the look and the shape and the kind of detail inside the cartridge. And so that was the strategy we took for our consumable to protect it.

The process for a design protection seemed a lot more straightforward than the patent applications, as there's less detail required. But you're only protecting, I guess, the look and shape of your product, rather than the actual technology the, underlying technology. So it's a
little bit different. But for that particular piece of the product it was, I think, the most appropriate protection that we could get for it.

We decided to cover the biggest market for the applications we made and that means that whatever we do here, we have to ensure that it's been done overseas. And the plan for this business is to grow overseas. You have to think about overall in terms of the whole business,
what is that strategy? Just for an example, if you today you go and type 'Rostrum' on the internet, but the first thing to appear now is that brass with our printer. It's a very rare used name and if you make that investment in the marketing of that name, you want to protect that name to avoid anyone start to copy it. And that logo has a very distinct look. It means that people can associate, can easily recognise the brand.

So we we have a long standing relationship with design and industry who helped us, I guess, take Rastrum from a prototype to a product. That has been a really successful relationship
and I think they were instrumental in really bringing about the look and feel of the machine. Having a strong brand is crucial to the success of a product so we wanted to build something that was a bit more, I guess, flamboyant and a bit more eye-catching and interesting for researchers in a lab. I think the design is really critical to kind of, I guess, capturing people's imagination.

We are developing a very new and innovative technology and that's really what it's about is protecting all of the development work and protecting innovation so that we can commercialise and become a successful and sustainable business based in Australia.

Please note: case studies are examples of the way individual organisations have chosen to manage their IP. These studies don't provide advice and your experience may be different.