Question: CASE / Control frost to save crops / The story of Florencio Lazo Barra CASE QUESTION: DETERMINE WHAT RECOMMENDATION CAN BE GIVEN TO MR. FLORENCIO IN TERMS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (JUSTIFY) TO STRENGTHEN HIS STRATEGY AND WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST RECOMMENDED CONFORMATION IN TERMS OF BUSINESS THAT HE SHOULD USE (JUSTIFY). Background Florencio Lazo Barra studiedCASE / Control frost to save crops / The story of Florencio Lazo Barra
CASE QUESTION: DETERMINE WHAT RECOMMENDATION CAN BE GIVEN TO MR. FLORENCIO IN TERMS OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY (JUSTIFY) TO STRENGTHEN HIS STRATEGY AND WHAT WOULD BE THE MOST RECOMMENDED CONFORMATION IN TERMS OF BUSINESS THAT HE SHOULD USE (JUSTIFY).
Background Florencio Lazo Barra studied architecture, but following the death of his father, he took over the reins of the dairy farm owned by his family in Chile. In 1970, when Chile’s agricultural and forestry exports began to be promoted, Mr. Lazo decided to convert the farm into an orchard in which to grow fruit for sale on the international market.
In 1991, the VI Region of Chile, the central region of O’Higgins, suffered a severe frost from which Mr. Lazo’s fruit trees were not spared, which lost 100% of its table grape production and 80 % of plums. On the other hand, the frost also caused him great fuel costs, as he tried in vain to protect his garden with oil burners. That same year he decided to create a method to control frost that would be both more effective and cheaper than those that existed until then. “I swore to myself that my crops would never freeze again,” he recalls.
Investigation and development A year later, Mr. Lazo tried to protect his garden using a homemade system that consisted of lighting bonfires with oil drums, which, although it did not work, served to convince him that hot air, if applied to the ground in a special way and taking aerodynamics into account, it could create a temporary thermal barrier against frost. Mr. Lazo tried various options, including using helicopters to mix cold air from the ground with warmer air from above, and eventually began experimenting with applying hot air on the ground.
After four years of experimentation, in 1996 he managed to develop a first prototype, the Lazo Frost Control Machine (Lazo FCM), which passed the tests. The Lazo FCM consists of a large centrifugal fan with a heater that is towed around the plantation by means of a tractor. It works thanks to four liquefied gas cylinders that provide a range of five hours. The fans expel hot air through two side outlets, one on each side, which have a range of 100 meters each. By introducing a layer of warm air into the mass of cold air that surrounds the plants, it is possible to protect fruits and vegetables from frost.
The main advantages of the Lazo FCM are its mobility (it is not a fixed device), its low cost of operation (US$5 per ha; at least three times cheaper than other systems), its flexibility (it allows control both radiation frost and advection frost), it is environmentally friendly (it uses propane gas) and it is efficient (it creates a long-lasting layer of warm air).
Side view of a unit comprising a fan and heater using the invention, mounted on a platform or trailer and hitched to a tractor, as shown in US Patent No. 5,934,013.
Financing and registration of IP As soon as the prototype of the Lazo FCM had passed the tests, Mr. Lazo requested the help of “Innova Chile”, a government agency in charge of promoting innovation (at that time it was called the National Fund for Technological and Productive Development (FONTEC) ), and received US$170,000 with which he could make the idea he wanted to commercialize a reality, and build more machines. “In just a matter of months, orders from Chilean farmers began to arrive, and I thought: this only happens once in a lifetime. I won the lottery and it’s time to patent the invention”, he recalls.
In 1997, with the help of an intellectual property (IP) expert, he began the process of obtaining a patent abroad. The first country to grant a patent for his invention was the United States of America.
In Chile, the Department of Industrial Property granted patent No. 41,776 in 2002 for a machine for frost control that works by means of a centrifugal fan with two outlets and a heater, and that moves around the plantation mounted on a farm tractor. The invention is also protected by patent in other countries, including Argentina, Australia, China and the European Union.
The company also has a registered trademark with the Industrial Property Department of Chile.
Marketing and business results In 1997 Mr. Lazo began to commercialize his invention in Chile. A year later, the FCM Loop technology began to be exported to the United States of America by granting a manufacturing license to the company Agtec Crop Sprayers (now called Superb Horticulture), which marketed the product under the name Frost Dragon Bow. In the first three years, more than 500 machines were sold in South America and in the United States of America. In 1999 Mr. Lazo obtained the National Prize for Agrarian Innovation granted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Chile. A year later, the product began to be distributed and marketed in Europe through the Belgian company Agrofrost N.V., which sells and distributes the machines in Europe under the name Lazo Frostbuster. More recently the technology has also been exported to New Zealand and Australia.
Drawing that is included in patent No. 5,934,013 of the United States of America, through which Mr. Lazo’s method of heating for agricultural control is protected
Mr. Lazo’s innovative spirit did not stop after the successful commercialization of his invention. Based on the Lazo FCM, he began to develop a solution for thermal pest control that allows pests and diseases of agricultural production to be controlled without the need to use pesticides. This unique and patented system uses hot air to modify the microclimate of the crop and has been tested with good results on almost all fruit and vegetable crops. There are now a number of select growers in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, New Zealand and Australia who are leading the way in non-toxic, non-chemical and environmentally friendly thermal pest control technologies. environment.
Adversity fuels creativity and innovation There is no doubt about the misfortune that the loss of the crop in the frost of 1991 meant for Mr. Lazo, but this fact served as an incentive for him to carry out two revolutionary inventions that have served to increase food security by providing an economical solution to control frost and reduce contamination thanks to thermal pest control. Patents protect Mr. Lazo’s inventions and facilitate technology transfer through licensing agreements, which in turn help finance new innovations.
100% (1 rating)Solution The current international system for protecting intellectual property was fashioned during the age of industrialization in the West and developed subsequently in line with the perceived needs of technologically advanced societies. However, i…View the full answer