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Posts Tagged ‘ innovation ’

Best Practices for Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Posted: Sunday, Sep 14, 2014 @ 8:00 am | Written by Andrew J. Sherman | No Comments »
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Posted in: Books & Book Reviews, IP News, Articles

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mr. Sherman, a partner at Jones Day, is the author of Harvesting Intangible Assets, which addresses strategies to jumpstart our struggling economy. He will also be the featured speaker at a free webinar on Thursday, September 18, 2014, at 1pm ET, where he will discuss these and other topics related to driving new streams of revenue from intellectual properties.


Over the years, I have developed and observed a wide variety of best practices for fostering and establishing on a sustainable basis a genuine culture of innovation. These must be embraced at all levels of the organization to be effective. What follows is discussion of some key lessons for maintaining a culture of innovation.

Innovation, like the spreading of fertilizer, is messy, lumpy, smelly, expensive, and unpredictable. Innovation rarely happens in a neat and sequential fashion. Imposing too many rules or protocols will retard or overly restart the process. And there must be a commitment to spread the fertilizer frequently, consistently, and across the entire field, not just once in a while to “pet” projects. And the results are not always what you would predict or expect. If you create processes that are appropriate for the levels of innovation and creativity goals that have been set, you create an environment that supports this process. If you are overly process oriented budget driven or linear in your thinking, you may be putting too many walls around a process that needs room to breathe.

Does Innovation Lead to Prosperity for All?

Posted: Monday, Jul 28, 2014 @ 12:30 pm | Written by Joseph Allen | 31 comments
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Joe Allen, Patents, Technology & Innovation, US Economy

There’s a famous Chinese curse “May you live in interesting times” which certainly applies now. It seems that every cornerstone we’ve relied on has slipped, creating instability in all aspects of modern life. As humorist Ogden Nash remarked: “Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long.”

We live in a world where seemingly everyone has a cell phone —and a rifle. Every day we learn of breathtaking scientific discoveries and atrocities straight from the Dark Ages. Thanks to technology images of beheadings travel instantly around the world.

Debates rage over hot button topics widening divisions in society. One is over the merits (or demerits) of the patent system. That’s really a subset of a larger question: does innovation lead to prosperity for most people or does it merely widen the gap between the haves and have not’s?

What, if anything, should be done to correct “income inequality” is a point of contention in our political system. President Obama says that growing income inequality and a lack of upward mobility is “the defining challenge of our time.” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) ads: “Trickle down (economics) doesn’t work. Never did.”

The Case for Incremental Innovation: The Importance of Protecting Follow-on Pharmaceutical Discoveries

Posted: Monday, Jun 23, 2014 @ 9:00 am | Written by Dr. Kristina Lybecker | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Dr. Kristina Lybecker, Guest Contributors, International, IP News, Articles, Patents, Pharmaceutical, Technology & Innovation

The pharmaceutical industry is widely criticized for wasteful spending on duplicative research to develop “me too” drugs, and focusing their efforts on “evergreening” patents. Those who argue that incremental innovation and follow on improvements to existing therapies aren’t worthy of patent protection need to look more deeply at the reality of what subsequent innovation provides. The case for protecting incremental innovation is laid out in a new publication by the Fraser Institute (released 19 June 2014), in which a thorough exploration of the therapeutic and economic value of follow-on pharmaceutical innovation is provided.

Pharmaceutical innovation is an inherently dynamic process; one innovation builds on another and improvements draw from a long history of earlier technological advances. Sir Isaac Newton once stated, “If I have seen far, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” In her classic paper on innovation, Scotchmer cites this quote and emphasizes that virtually all technical progress builds on a foundation provided by earlier innovators.[1]   Innovation is an undeniably cumulative event, and progress happens both in leaps and bounds (radical innovation) and in small steps (incremental innovation). In the context of the pharmaceutical industry, radical innovations encompass breakthrough discoveries of the ‘first-in-class’ medicine with a new mechanism of action. In contrast, incremental innovations may expand an existing therapeutic class through the development of a new drug based on differences in adverse effects, delivery systems, dosing schedules, or heat stability. In 2012, 45 new drugs gained regulatory approval from the US FDA, the highest number since 1997. Currently there are 907 biologics, medicines and vaccines in development, targeting more than 100 diseases.[2] Much of this innovation can be considered incremental, resulting in so-called ‘me-too’ or follow-on drugs. These are therapies that largely replicate the action of existing drugs. All indicators suggest that a significant share of medical progress is happening through incremental innovation.

The Evolution of Air Conditioning Technology

Posted: Friday, Jun 20, 2014 @ 2:36 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 3 comments
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Posted in: Evolution of Technology, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

As the sweltering heat of summer begins to set in across the country during the summer months, people all over the country are running to their thermostats or single-unit air conditioners to stay cool. Just by pressing a few buttons, a typical American homeowner has the capability to completely control the temperature and humidity in a space. This innovation has revolutionized the demographics of our entire country, allowing many people to live comfortably in southern climates which would otherwise be oppressively hot.

Air conditioners work on the essential premise of removing heat from forced air, often by blowing that air across cooling coils filled with refrigerants. Air conditioning has taken root in the psychology of middle class America, evidenced by the large number of homeowners who have at least one air conditioning unit in their homes. The incredible amounts of energy used to power these units have incited a large number of critics who speak out against the widespread use of air conditioning technologies. However, others are quick to point out that the number of British thermal units (BTUs) used by air conditioners pales in comparison to the amount of energy consumed by Americans for heating.

IPWatchdog is returning once again to our Evolution of Technology series to take an in-depth look at how AC technologies have developed over the years. Modern air conditioning goes back more than one century in America, although the evidence showing human attempts at cooling the air goes back millennia. Today, we’re sharing a quick timeline of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) technologies, with a special focus on beating the heat. We also take a closer look at the current state of air conditioning technologies, including a trio of patents related to air conditioning within automobiles..

The Story of How Patents Promote Innovation

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014 @ 12:13 pm | Written by Gene Quinn | 51 comments
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Posted in: Gene Quinn, IP News, Articles, Patent Basics, Patents

Those who claim that patents harm innovation and stifle innovation see a patent at an insurmountable hurdle, or perhaps a brick wall. There is no way around the obstacle. The only option is to infringe or simply not offer the product or service, but to them that is not an option because if they can’t sell the product that they want to sell then that has to mean that innovation is being harmed. But innovation is about busting through the brick wall, or going around the brick wall. Because of the existence of that brick wall a paradigm shift is necessary, and that is what leads to true innovation.

Of course, critics don’t understand true innovation because they conflate a particular product or service, which is new to them, to be something that is innovative. I have always found it amazing how true inventors so frequently don’t think what they have come up with is unique enough to pursue a patent, but those who offer little or nothing unique conclude that their product represents innovation. The hubris is high on the part of those who really don’t understand innovation, and the true purpose of a patent system. Those who don’t understand think it is an afront to humanity if they are not able to sell what they want, when they want, without having to pay a licensing fee to the innovator.

Recently this issue came up again when a comment was posted to an article about whether patents harm or promote innovation. The comment proclaimed loudly, confidently, and yet incorrectly that patents harm innovation. The commenter even provided an example about how he has received a cease and desist letter, which means the product that he is selling is in jeopardy of having to be pulled from the market and damages paid. This scenario was intended to be proof that patents harm innovation. In fact, it is proof that the patent system is working exactly as intended, and that patents do not stifle innovation. Patents foster innovation!

Stanford Invests $1.35 Billion Annually Leading to Diverse Innovation

Posted: Thursday, Feb 20, 2014 @ 11:13 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Stanford University, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Universities

As the 2014 annual meeting of the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM) continues, IPWatchdog also continues its coverage of groundbreaking inventions coming out of the halls and research facilities of America’s top academic institutions. Today we focus on Leland Stanford Junior University, more commonly known as Stanford University. Stanford is a private research university located near Palo Alto, CA, and boasts one of the most well developed and successful technology transfer programs in the country. But to be at the top of the tech transfer rankings that means Stanford is also committed to innovation in many forms and fields.

Stanford sets aside an annual research budget of about $1.35 billion to fund its development operations for 2013-2014, and since the 1930s the university has been the starting grounds for nearly 40,000 companies, creating about 5.4 million jobs total. A 2012 study conducted by Stanford estimated that companies formed by Stanford entrepreneurs generate world revenues of $2.7 trillion annually. Recent Stanford research projects have included new techniques for the successful removal of stomach cancer cells, as well as biological surveys of marine life showing how crude oil leaks can affect heart health in fish. Today, we’re looking at the recent publications released from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office assigned directly to Stanford University to take a snapshot look at the innovative side of this academic institution.

Our featured application today is evidenced that at least some of the research being developed by Stanford aims to improve American manufacturing. This patent application would protect a device that contains a plurality of electrodes that can create an adhering force to lift and move manufactured materials without damaging them. We also discuss a couple of patent applications related to medicine, including methods of generating ear cells from stem cells as well as better treatments for pulmonary fibrosis.

Univ. of California Invents: From Video Games to Treating E. coli

Posted: Tuesday, Feb 18, 2014 @ 10:15 am | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: Biotechnology, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Medical Devices & Methods, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation, Technology Transfer, University of California

February 19th is the opening of the 2014 Association of University Technology Managers annual meeting, which means this week IPWatchdog is taking a short break from our regular Companies We Follow series to celebrate some of the best recent innovations from America’s academic institutions. Yesterday we featured innovations from historically black colleges and universities.

The University of California is the state’s public university system and it is comprised of 10 member institutions. This system has one of the strongest research and development operations of any American collegiate system; in 2011 alone, UC was responsible for 1,581 new inventions. Today, we’re getting a closer look at the recent patent applications and issued patents assigned to the Regents of the University of California by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We’ve found an intriguing assortment of innovations in medical and industrial fields, and even the video game industry, coming out of these academic institutions.

The featured patent application for today’s column would protect a system of better capturing video game player motion for physical activities required of games. This system would make it harder for users to cheat these games and complete tasks without completing the physical motion the game asks users to perform. Other patent applications we discovered include better systems of creating useful stem cells and a more effective topical formula for acne treatment.

The Legacy of George Washington Carver, Tuskegee Educator, Innovator and Renaissance Man

Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 @ 5:20 pm | Written by Eric Guttag | Comments Off
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Posted in: Eric Guttag, Famous Inventors, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Technology & Innovation

EDITORIAL NOTE: Each year February is Black History Month, but this year we will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. With this in mind we decided to do a series celebrating the important and innovative contributions of African-Americans. Earlier this month Eric Guttag wrote The Black Edison: Granville T. Woods. What is below is part 2 of his article on George Washington Carver. To read part 1 visit God’s Scientist: George Washington Carver. Later this month we also will take a look at recent innovations coming out of historically black colleges and universities. For more on this topic please visit black inventors on


George Washington Carver circa 1910.

Carver received a fair degree of recognition at Iowa State College as the only African-American with advanced training in agricultural science.  He also enjoyed a fairly comfortable income considering his very humble upbringing.  By being the only African-American with advanced training in agricultural science, many other universities also wanted Carver as a professor in that science.

Then one day in 1896 came a letter from Booker T. Washington, President of the fledgling Tuskegee Institute (its full name then was “Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute”).  Booker T. Washington was a well-known and influential African-American educator, later to visit the White House at the invitation of then President Theodore Roosevelt.  Like Carver, Booker T. Washington had been born into slavery and felt that African-Americans must be educated if they were to achieve economic, as well as racial equality in American society.

My Top 10 Most Interesting Patent Innovations from 2013

Posted: Tuesday, Dec 31, 2013 @ 2:21 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | 1 Comment »
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Posted in: Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

The last day of 2013 is now upon us, and as we look ahead towards another year which is sure to be full of intriguing new technologies, we also want to take a look back and remember a few of IPWatchdog’s favorite innovations from the past twelve months. All year, our Companies We Follow series has diligently scoured the issued patents and patent applications published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. We’ve profiled numerous inventions from corporations like Apple, IBM, General ElectricSony, Samsung, Google, Siemens, Qualcomm and many more of the largest corporations in the world. We have also looked at universities, like the University of California, and we have done special edition articles that focused on Green Tech as part of our Earth Day 2013 mini-series and the future of Blackberry.

With other publications weighing in on their top picks for 2013 inventions, we wanted to take some time to discuss some of the best innovations we spotted during the past year. With that in mind we went through the aforementioned Companies We Follow series to pick some of the year’s best. This year, we’re taking a look at both issued patents as well as patent applications in a single article. While some of what follows may not be protected yet, they indicate a manufacturer’s research and development goals.

Using no other criteria than my own, this list of the Top 10 Innovations of 2013, which may include a surprise or sentimental choice here and there, shows some technologies that will likely become ubiquitous in time. Especially social media and networking innovations, as well as a couple of inventions that are meant to improve well-being and sustainability among human beings, likely have real staying power. From multi-user touchscreens to self-healing electrical grids to a robotic system, here’s what I found to be some of this most interesting inventions we stumbled across this year.

AT&T Seeks Patent to Prevent Crime on Gaming Networks

Posted: Sunday, Oct 27, 2013 @ 6:15 pm | Written by Steve Brachmann | Comments Off
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Posted in: AT&T, Companies We Follow, Guest Contributors, IP News, Articles, Patents, Steve Brachmann, Technology & Innovation

AT&T Inc. of Dallas, TX, is a huge player in the mobile communications market, and is America’s largest provider of mobile telephony and line-landed telephony products as of 2012. AT&T’s consumer offerings for accessing wireless networks are becoming more varied, as is evidenced by the company’s recent announcement that it would sell $5 day passes for wireless data packages. AT&T will also support the development of an upcoming Samsung smart camera product, the Galaxy S4 Zoom.

Telecommunications has been a major growth field in intellectual property for a number of technological firms. Today on IPWatchdog’s Companies We Follow series, we’re taking a look at AT&T to see what developments we can expect from arguably the strongest American telecommunications corporation. As always, we have a great collection of patent applications and issued patents published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to show you what’s in store.

Our featured patent application today describes a system of preventing illegal and criminal activities on gaming networks by preventing predatory users from being able to come into contact with others who are susceptible. Also, this patent application indicates that the same gaming environments could be adjusted based on local user information to resemble that player’s local terrain. Other patent applications of note include a system of targeting emergency messages to an exact geographic location for affected mobile device owners, as well as a method for transmitting high-grade video data across a cellular network.