The concern with the protection of a product shall take place since the beginning of its development. This was a lesson put into practice by the startup Efficeres Agrotecnologia, which created a technique applied to the planting of eucalyptus and sugarcane in a system of pre-budded seedlings.
In the pre-incubation stage, at the incubator Supera, linked to USP Ribeirão Preto, the company created by the agronomist Makximo Kubo is not operational yet, but there is already a strategic thought regarding the protection of its inventions.
The invention of Efficeres is composed of steps: Lig-Block equipment, which comprises a structure formed of interconnected sections, with sets of containers wherein the seedlings are arranged; and the recyclable container of the seedling, which comprises the innovation responsible for providing sustainability to the plantation. The idea of the company is to achieve a biodegradable container, which besides collaborating in the reduction of costs allows greater yield and less waste of the plants.
In order to assure that the invention complies with all patent requirements (novelty, inventive activity and industrial application), Efficeres team approached Clarke, Modet & Cº Brazil and its worldwide patent search service. “Although this stage of the patent wording is not mandatory, it is one of the main consulting services provided by us”, states Glaucia Gomes, director of New Businesses - SP Countryside / MG. “Most of our customers, when express their intention to protect an invention, start the process searching for precedence, so as to know the field of such invention and to check if the idea under analysis is not object of protection by third parties", highlights he manager.
The search for precedence is made based on documents and patents from all over the world, such as Espacenet, USPTO, WIPO, SIPO e JPO, in addition to the private software PatBase. This job aims to check similar projects that are already under patent process, as well as to assist in the preparation of descriptive report and documentation for filing with INPI. Moreover, the knowledge that the search for precedence offers is, further, a way of preparing for future stages, such as requirements that may be brought by INPI or even analysis of market expectations.
According to engineer Kubo, “Efficeres had already three patent requests when approached Clarke, Modet & Cº Brazil, aimed at protecting its future Technologies and obtaining a tool capable of prevent the unauthorized marketing of such invention by third parties”. Furthermore, the startup shows interest in registering its brand, which substantiates the understanding of the relevance of intellectual property.
Eficceres market has international reach and big players as potential customers: Basf, Syingenta, Bunge, Cargill and Raízen. Currently, the technique of pre-budded seedlings is used in less than 10% of the national sugarcane plantations, which shows the creation potential of the startup.
According to Kubo, “Brazil renews approximately 2,000,000 hectares of sugar cane per year, mostly with chopped cane (traditional method). Using this technique, we intend to increase the area planted with the pre-budded seedlings to 10% of this total, that is, 200,000 hectares.” If estimated such profit of R$ 65 per hectare, the annual profit of Efficeres Agrotecnologia can reach R$ 13 million.