Industry Standard Coating

Client Printing and Paper Companies
Location Worldwide
Scope Of Work Launching Adjacent Business

Project Detail

Created a de facto industry standard coating for printing paper


This opportunity started when a leading printing company and an international paper company developed a novel coating technology. The obvious strategy was to keep this technology proprietary but this approach limited the value and faced many uncertainties for market adoption. A more attractive alternative was to create an industry standard but this approach raised new obstacles. For example, the printing and paper companies needed to share their technology with competitors. The competitors needed to be convinced that the technology would win as a standard and was worth the slight increase in manufacturing cost. Additionally, the entire effort needed to be self-funded.


ICG led a Collaborative Strategy Development project to develop a strategy for a de facto industry standard and an Evidence Based Execution Plan that would capture more than two thirds of the worldwide paper industry. The following actions were taken to overcome the obstacles:

  • A trademark was created that was neutral for all industry participants (ColorLok).
  • The patent portfolio was expanded to cover all elements needed for a standard.
  • A royalty structure was developed to encourage companies to maximize their production.
  • A self-funding model was created.
  • We engaged industry experts to advocate to other paper companies to become ColorLok licensees and spoke on panels at major trade shows.
  • The execution plan also included coordinated engineering support to help the licensees decrease their implementation and manufacturing costs.


Within 14 months after launch, ColorLok had been licensed to the largest seven paper companies in the world and within 4 years, almost 80% of A and B grade cut-sheet paper utilized the ColorLok brand and technology.