One hot summer day, Italian metalworker Fabio Benetti dreamed up the idea of a bottle that can be turned upside down and used as a glass The Enterprise Europe Network helped the entrepreneur turn his lightbulb moment into a marketable innovation.
Inspiration struck in a Venice café, when Benetti was served bottled fruit juice in a glass. "I thought about all the water wasted on washing," he explains, "and came up with the idea of transforming a bottle into a beautiful glass."
After finishing the designs he decided to go into business for himself and filed a patent application for the invention, but had no idea how to proceed. For advice on what to do next and help finding licensees for the bottle he turned to the Enterprise Europe Network, whose 3,000 experts in more than 50 countries help aspiring entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
Network technology transfer and innovation expert Marco Gorini of Vento Innovazione SpA jumped into action, suggesting a search of all patents to date for similar inventions and the further right steps for exploiting the idea and transforming it into a marketable innovation at international level.
"To create a new technology and make it a commercial success, you need to know what has been developed and improve upon it," explains Gorini. This advice allowed Benetti to transform the idea on the best technology solution and to secure international patent protection for a new, state-of-the-art design - awarded a creativity prize at the 2010 Geneva Inventions Fair.
Gorini helped protect the intellectual property in several other ways that the client would never have known about, including registering a design and trademark - not only for the invention itself, but also for the production process and a liquid-filling machine. He also provided the new client with a full range of innovation management services, from help with developing intellectual property and marketing strategies as well as business matchmaking services and strategies.
Through his start-up company Fab Bere Facile, Benetti is now selling grappa and brandy bottles with the patent-protected design and continues to search for commercial partners abroad with the Network's help.
"The Enterprise Europe Network helped me turn my dream into a business," he says.