Lessons Learned from IKVA and Decanto

Opening slide

Lessons Learned from IKVA / Decanto. 

Decanto was a project by InKnowVision Alaska to satisfy a use case combining boxed wine and wine aerators. The product was entered in the 2013 University of Illinois Cozad New Venture Competition, reaching the semi-final round. A utility patent was filed for it in March, but shortly afterward a very similar patent, filed before ours, was discovered. With little corrective action available before the patents are reviewed, we are currently waiting for the USPTO. Time will tell what happens. In the meantime, here are some lessons I learned from the experience:

  1. The act of pursuing a venture seems to be a learning experience for the things you think you will do, but it ends up to be more of a learning experience because of the things you run into along the way.
  2. Keep your business parters in the loop. The engineering team, Jason and I, decided to enter a business plan competition without telling the two LLC managers. Understandably, one wasn’t happy. The other was reluctant to encourage us because of the first guy’s response.
  3. If you think you have an original clever name, google it. I’d rather have a lame name than the same name as someone else.
  4. If you think you have a clever idea to patent, do due diligence. And google it. And then learn the industry verbiage, and google it again. Send it to your lawyer, but don’t rely on them to google it. And before you invest money in it, google it more. If your competitive advantage is IP , be sure the IP is really yours.
  5. Take investor and outside feedback with a grain of salt, but listen to it. When they ask, why hasn’t someone else done this, be sure someone hasn’t. If they say there isn’t a business case, investigate the low success scenario as well as the high. Be self-critical. Does the venture really make sense? Does it match with your personal purpose and values?
  6. Spend the money to do a second exploratory patent search before patent submission if time has elapsed since the first.

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Great experience, learned about patents, got a little burned, will be sure to do it right next time.

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