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Commercializing Process System Patents with Confidence

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

Are you searching for a way to cash in on an innovative process system? Commercializing a utility (process system) patent can give your company a competitive and economic edge. But before you apply for that patent, there are several stage-gates through which will mitigate risk and optimize the value of your idea.

Front End Loading (FEL)

Only the very best ideas graduated by an R&D Group deserve to be patent. Sometimes even very good ideas can become money pits. By following well-established commercial and technical stage gates, companies can filter out poor ideas and make concerted efforts to commercialize excellent ideas. These stage gates avoid wasting time and money on process systems that are not likely to provide favorable Returns on Investment (ROIs). Three Front End Loading (FEL) stages exist to maximize opportunities for success and mitigate risks.

FEL Stage Gates & Their Uses:

·      FEL-1 Technical Exploration

Defines technical unknowns and starts to define system design, Block Flow Diagrams (BFDs), unit operations, and system requirements.  Budgetary Pricing (+50/-50%)

·      FEL-2 Issued for Review (IFR) Conceptual Design, Budgetary Pricing (+30/-15%), and Budgetary Schedule

Process Flow Diagrams (PFDs) with Heat & Material Balances (HMBs), major equipment dimensions, all major unit operations identified, no major technical feasibility questions.

·      FEL-3  Issued for Design (IFD) Basic Engineering & Fixed Pricing / Schedule –

Resolving minor technical unknowns and completing major design including P&ID’s, basic models, system requirements, and major equipment lists. 30% 3D Physical Models, Detailed Equipment and System Requirements, Material Balances, and a determined price for system fabrication, automation, and installation.

For a more detailed explanation of the stage-gating process, read our other articles

Principle Criteria

Through all three FEL stages, you should refine and develop your idea through the following principal criteria:

·      Net Economic Benefit: the monetized value creation minus the cost of production

·      Technological Viability: how the technology compares with the next best alternative

·      Schedule: how long until the cash flows positively

·      Clear Scope Definition for on-time, on-budget project execution


By the end of the stage gate process, your project should have a fixed bid price, answers to all minor and major technology questions, a preliminary schedule and a game plan for the project’s engineering and process design and execution strategy. In other words, you should feel confident about your decision to apply for a patent. Contact Porter Process Technologies to obtain a proposal for early stage process system conceptual development work.

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