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Journalism - Quicklook Commercial Assessment: Quicklook - Step 4

Tips, techniques & links to help you find answers for your research papers & projects

Quicklook - Step 4

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Step 4 - Write the report and fill holes if necessary


Compile research findings

When writing the report it is important to note all viewpoints on the invention because the full range of responses will give an indication of value of the invention. An invention that is met with universal cheers and interest is typically more valuable than an invention that is met with ambivalence by most and moderate interest by others. Also, if there are any negative comments, they may point out barriers to entry for the invention, potential competition, or issues that the inventor/institution must address prior to market entry.

The entire Quicklook process should only take 20-40 hours. It is not designed to be an in-depth market analysis report that will give a complete market picture to potential licensees. It is an information tool to be used for the targeting of the invention for license or information to be used in a go/no go decision.

Format of the Report

To facilitate comparisons between different products, it is necessary to have a common format with common information about each market and technology. Each section needs to answer as many specific questions about the commercial viability of the product and achieve specific goals. Your report should be no more than five single-spaced or ten double-spaced pages, plus exhibits.

Technology Description

   Describe the important technical attributes of the invention in language a non-expert understands.

Potential Benefits

   Describe the benefits of the technology, not just the features, and the problems that the technology can solve.

Potential Commercial Markets

What products/processes could result from the technology? -- Search for similar products. Who manufactures the products? These are your competitors. Find out who purchases the products that they sell (primary and/or secondary).
What is the health and future of the industries that constitute the market for the technology? Go to Business Source Premier, Mergent Online, IBISWorld and Net Advantage for industry forecasts.
What are the key technology benefits being sought by the buyers in the market?
What is the potential market size and demand as a function of time?

Market Interest

 What is the level of interest from those contacted?

Development Status of the Technology

 Is the technology a prototype, paper idea, and bench model?

Patent Status of the Technology

 Is there a patent filed or granted? Go to: The United States Patent and Trademark Office search site

Competing Technologies and Competitors

What other technologies are currently being used to solve the problem addressed by the subject technology? Who uses similar technologies? Does the subject technology have a demonstrable and sustainable advantage over competitive technologies in the marketplace? Who are some of the competing companies and do they dominate the marketplace? Search business and news databases for overviews of a particular industry and information on product timelines, including market maturity. Do a company quick search on Factiva for competitors and then look at a company to industry comparison report.

Barriers to Market Entry

  Outline barriers to market entry. Try using keywords "entry and barriers" to search business databases.
  Outline keys to market entry.


  State a go/no go decision.
  Outline what the next steps are that need to be taken to help commercialize or license the technology.

Commercial Potential Rating



Score (1-3)

Market Potential



Market Maturity



Technology Development









The numerical ratings that are assigned to the factors (market potential, market maturity, technology development, and competitors/patents) are subjective based on the researchers findings in the marketplace.

Market Potential

A low score would be warranted if the research findings point towards a limited market potential (small market), a market that has very high barriers to entry, or a technology that is unlikely to meet required performance or price points. A high score would be for technologies that have potentially large markets, lower barriers to entry, and/or can easily meet performance and price points.

Market Maturity

The more a technology has to break new ground in a marketplace the more difficult or more costly it can be to introduce. Low scores would be for technologies that depend a great deal on complimentary technologies that either don't exist or are in their infancy (the best hydrogen powered car in the world will find a limited market because there is no way for the average person to easily fill up with hydrogen). More mature markets already have the infrastructure and buying habits in place. Technologies are usually enhancements to existing products (a new smaller, lightweight, portable digital phone would enter a more mature market). Because some new technologies can be a break from past habits and infrastructure, but still have great potential (the first electric light) this rating is given the lowest weight.

Technology Development

In the world of licensing, this factor can make or break a technology. A low state of development would indicate a technology that doesn't have any serious working prototype or is still largely in the theoretical stage. A high ranking would be given to technologies that have a working prototype, perhaps units that have been produced in a commercializable state. If licensing is the primary goal for a technology, this factor is very critical. If a licensee has to do a great deal of further development work and invest a great deal of money just getting the product ready for market, they will most likely not be willing to pay a great deal for the license. If on the other hand a company is interested in manufacturing and launching the product internally, the weight given to technology development could be more evenly distributed with market potential.


This rating is an indication of the level of competition that a product will face. Low scores would be given if there were dominant companies with better or very well accepted products in the same market the technology addresses it will be more difficult to sustain a competitive advantage over time. If there are a great many recent patents in the same technology area it is an indication that there is a great deal of activity and also a warning signal that the technology may not be sustainable over time. The patent strength is also a factor. The stronger the better. Higher scores would be in market areas that do not have dominant competitors and offer a chance for a sustained technology advantage.

*This document is a revision of one created by David Shieck and Dorothy Carner for the Idea to Product (I2P) Competition at the University of Texas at Austin in 2003.

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