Monday, February 11, 2013

Capitalism at Work

On January 7, 2013 Acuity Brands, Inc. (NYSE: AYI), a producer of energy-efficient lighting and controls, announced the acquisition of assets of Adura Technologies, Inc., which developed wireless controls and energy management solutions.  Adura is a university spin-out of the University of California, Berkeley Center for the Built Environment.

Acuity Brands is, "one of the world’s leading providers of lighting solutions for both indoor and outdoor applications. With fiscal year 2012 net sales of over $1.9 billion, Acuity Brands employs approximately 6,000 associates and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with operations throughout North America, and in Europe and Asia. The company’s lighting solutions are sold under various brands, including Lithonia Lighting®, Holophane®, Peerless®, Gotham®, Mark Architectural Lighting(TM), Winona® Lighting, Healthcare Lighting®, Hydrel®, American Electric Lighting®, Carandini®, Antique Street Lamps(TM), Tersen®, Sunoptics®, Sensor Switch®, Lighting Control & Design(TM), Synergy® Lighting Controls, Pathway Connectivity(TM), Dark to Light®, ROAM®, RELOC® Wiring Solutions, and Acculamp®."  Audura's wireless energy management inventions look like a good addition to Acuity Brand's portfolio and may help accelerate wider adoption of LED and OLED solutions.

Adura holds four US patents 7,839,017; 7,925,384; 8,275,471; 8,364,325, with several granted from the US Patent and Trademark Office’s Green Technology Pilot Program. You can learn more about wireless lighting controls and how it was used at two UC Berkeley libraries here.

Audura is a Young Gun - a new and emerging entrepreneurial firms that bring new business models, new products, and new ideas to market. On the innovation, invention, and intellectual property front, Young Guns are the firms to watch. They are where talent scouts, corporate merger & acquisitions pros should look for opportunities for future growth; where investors, venture capitalists, economic and real estate developers looking to attract talent to their cities can find the best scientists, innovators and researchers. Young Guns are the engines of new economic growth and new markets.

Young Guns pursue patents to protect their innovations and product pipeline, attract investors, and accelerate market entry and expansion.  It looks like Audura has the qualities sought by the designers of the Green Tech Pilot Program - good technology, patents granted quickly enough to protect markets more strongly than patent applications along, and commercialization of research done as part of university/industry partnerships.

Way Better Patents’ Green Tech Pilot Program Discovery and Analysis Report provides an in-depth review of technology and companies earning patents under the accelerated examination program for "economically important technology".  It is a valuable shopping list for investors looking to expand their green technology investments.