Using IP to attract Investors- the EAT-SET Project
The concept of the Emergency Autotransfution Set (EAT-SET) is one example of how strong intellectual property protection can play an important role in attracting financing.
The EAT-SET is the result of the inventive work of Dr. Oviemo Ovadje, of Military Hospital Ikoyi Lagos. The invention aims at facilitating the recovery of blood out of the body cavity during operations and re-infusing it back into the patient body after filtration. Dr. Ovadje started the EAT-SET project in 1989 with a meager sum of eighteen thousands Naira which was approximately one hundred and twenty USD. With the support of the Nigerian government which provided the necessary environment for research, the project was able to attract the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) which provided financial resources for research, development and testing of the project. The World Health Organization (WHO) participated as the executing agency.
The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) have also recognized the invention of Dr. Ovadje. In 1995 he was declared the best African Scientist and was awarded the 1995 WIPO/OAU gold medal for scientific work designed to save women who usually die from abnormal pregnancy (Ectopic Gestation).
With the help of UNDP Dr. Ovadje acquired patent protection for his invention. Currently the EAT-SET device has been protected by patents in nine foreign countries. Dr. Ovadje also acquired trademark protection for EATSET in nine other countries.
EAT-SET Industries was established in April 2001. The main objective of establishing the company was to facilitate the commercialization of the EAT-SET medical device. Though in its infancy stage, the company has already attracted several investors both public and private and the investments made so far have grown from approximately one hundred and twenty USD in 1989 to almost one hundred thousand USD. Dr. Ovadje believes that the patents and trademarks held by EAT-SET Industries have played a key role in enhancing the confidence of the investors. According to Dr. Ovadje investors are willing to put in about one million USD in the company. Currently, the EAT-SET industries is focusing on designing appropriate medical tools for developing countries which have less capabilities of acquiring costly sophisticated technologies.