A pair of New Zealand brothers has pushed the boundaries of ebooks with a new mobile application called Booktrack.
Booktrack is a fully immersive reading experience that adds new dimensions to an ebook, through carefully created and synchronised sound effects and a music soundtrack that matches individual reading pace. Launched in the US in August 2011, it's now a popular seller on the Apple App Store.
Co-creator Paul Cameron: 'Reading rates around the world are declining - especially with younger audiences - and it's mainly due to the rich multimedia environment reading has to compete with. With Booktrack, we're trying to provide another reading option that will make reading fun again.'
Light as paper
Booktrack could well be the ultimate weightless export model - it's a highly efficient business with global reach, which leverages others' distribution channels and infrastructure platforms, using IP created in New Zealand. While the sales and marketing of Booktrack is focused in the US, the R&D takes place here.
Protecting that unique IP has been a vital step in Booktrack's path to success. Three years ago, armed with a prototype and a provisional patent application, Mark and Paul approached patent attorney Hadleigh Brown at AJ Park.
Hadleigh's been fantastic. He really understands our product from a technical level, so we have good continuity when we come back with new developments. But he also suggests different approaches and strategies around our IP. It's been an invaluable relationship.- Paul Cameron, Booktrack
Any New Zealand company taking an idea to the world has to ensure their IP is well protected at an international level. Brown has helped them align their IP-protection strategy with their commercialisation strategy to get the best result.
'We assessed what they had and initially protected the most important inventions to secure them an advantage in the market,' he says.
'Successful patenting and commercialisation is a lot about timing. They were developing their technology and at the same time wanting to protect their innovations and seek investment. Start-ups don't have big budgets for IP so it's vital to file a patent application when the technology is advanced enough. It's all about managing costs, timing and sequencing.'
Booktrack is protected in several major international markets thanks to AJ Park's well-established relationships with overseas associates. With differing and constantly changing laws in each country, getting the strategy right is essential.
A real page-turner
'These guys are exciting clients to work with,' says Brown. 'They've grown quickly and found significant credible investors willing to fund their idea. It's exciting, as an advisor, to see your client launching successfully and progressing on from having an initial prototype and an idea to turning it into something that can be downloaded from the Apple App store.'