Posts Tagged: "innovation"

The Evolution of Modern Ballpoint Pen: A Patent History

Bíró was not the first inventor to conceive the use of a rolling ball in socket mechanism for an ink writing utensil. By the latter part of the 19th century, a few designs for this type of utensil would be developed and even patent-protected by their inventors. Although none of these became truly commercially successful… It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that the invention of the ballpoint pen likely saved the lives of Bíró and his family… When anti-Jewish laws went into effect in Hungary in 1938, Bíró fled to Paris and eventually wound up in Argentina with his brother and other members of his family.

The Evolution of Prosthetic Devices: A Patent History

The oldest known prosthetic device existing in our world is also one of the smallest. Scientists have dated a wooden prosthetic toe found in mummified remains in Cairo to somewhere around the year 950 BECAUSE… Advances in bionics and massive investment through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has brought about an intriguing new wave in prosthetic technology within the past decade. In May of this year, the DEKA Arm system developed by DARPA and Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, was awarded approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. This prosthetic system utilizes a series of electrodes capable of reading muscle movement so that a wearer feels as though the appendage is being naturally operated by the brain.

A Strong Innovation Ecosystem is Needed for Job Creation

Speaking without notes, Walker was in rare form. He spoke about everything from job creation to the need to allow innovators to benefit from the fruits of their labors… If you want an engine to create jobs you have to have inventors who bring value. “Make no mistake, at the core is invention and innovation, pick your term, they are one in the same,” Walker said. Without customers we don’t have jobs, and you cannot get customers without solving a problem and having some kind of competitive advantage. “If we don’t have a strong ecosystem that supports innovation we are going to have less of it. This isn’t rocket science,” he exclaimed. If we make something complicated we will have less of it.

Nobel Prize Innovation: Lighting the World with Blue LEDs

With the advent of blue LED lighting, it is now possible to create white light devices by combining blue light with red and green. As the Nobel Foundation points out in their background report on the 2014 physics laureates, “Incandescent light bulbs had lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps. The fact that LEDs could supplant all incandescents and fluorescents in lighting applications alone has major implications for energy efficiency in our world. In an LED bulb, about half of the electricity charging the diode is converted into light, whereas incandescent bulbs only convert about four percent of their charge into light.

Exclusive Interview with Jaime Siegel of Acacia Research

Siegel: “I think this effort to destroy the value of intellectual property is a bigger wet towel on innovation. When startup companies, after they get their angel investing, go out to try and raise funds on round Bs and round Cs, one of the things that investors look at is whether or not that company has an innovation that is different and protectable so that the investors know that number one there is something in there that’s protectable so that they can protect their investment. And when companies, small companies that make the investment into intellectual property portfolio development it sends a signal, two signals. It sends a signal that, number one, they’re progressive enough and smart enough to think about protecting their innovation. And, number two, it provides collateral for the investments that the investors are making into the company. So if the company were to not be successful in its business, they would have this asset of an IP portfolio sitting there that could still be sold or otherwise monetized to help the investors recoup their investments.”

Smithsonian Will Host Innovation Festival at National Air and Space Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum will host an Innovation Festival Nov. 1 and 2, a collaboration between the Smithsonian and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The festival will highlight accomplishments of American inventors and the spirit of innovation. It will feature displays, talks, performances and craft projects for children and adults.

Patent Trolls are NOT the Biggest Barrier to Innovation

This survey shows what those in the industry have long known — patent trolls and the need for patent reform are NOT the biggest problems facing the high tech industry in the United States. In fact, 92% of respondents feel that there are other things that are more concerning and a bigger barrier to innovation. But how can this be? The public has been consistently fed the line that patents stifle innovation. How can something that stifles innovation not be the biggest concern, particularly when so many of the tech giants from Silicon Valley have for years blamed the patent system for all their woes? The simple answer is that patents do NOT stifle innovation, and those who are intimately familiar with the industry know that to be true regardless of the lies promoted to advance patent reform, vilify innovators and lay the blame for everything at the feet of patent trolls.

The Cost of Not Having Patent Protection

How many patent applications has your company filed today? If you are a typical new economy small tech company with software and internet centric technology or products, the number of patent applications your company filed today is probably zero. Of course filing and prosecuting patent applications is not cheap and that’s part of the explanation. However it is worth noting that most of the successful companies with software-heavy products, including those in the list above, have been filing patent applications from their very early days.

Silicon Valley’s Anti-Patent Propaganda: Success at What Cost?

To a large extent Apple, Microsoft and many other Silicon Valley innovators went along with the anti-patent rhetoric perfected by the Google machine. The Silicon Valley elite who have been bemoaning the patent system and patent trolls succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, convincing everyone of problems that don’t exist. So successful has this misinformation campaign been that now patents owned by everyone in the high-tech sector are at least worth less, if not completely worthless. By taking a short-sighted view of the litigation problems they were facing they took direct aim on the patent system, their own patent portfolios and the essence of their competitive advantage. Institutional shareholders in any company that has lobbied for patent weakening policies and court rulings should be appalled and may well want to seek out attorneys specializing in shareholder lawsuits.

When You Believe: A High Tech Entrepreneur’s Story

One of the Patent Examiners was surprised that I was there by myself and asked why I didn’t have an “army” of attorneys with me, as I was from Silicon Valley. I noted that not all startups are well funded like Facebook or Google. I went on to explain that well-funded startups and large companies were copying our ideas, cloning our products, selling to our customers and costing us revenue. Because of the increasing competition in NFC mobile payments, I was also having problems getting funding. I even explained how we had to downsize and put product development on hold. That was a new revelation for the patent Examiner, who was surprised.

Dark Days Ahead: The Patent Pendulum

All of this can really be traced all the way back to the flash of creative genius test by the Supreme Court, which Congress specifically outlawed in the 1952 Patent Act. It is no doubt making a resurgence under slightly different terminology, but make no mistake — Judges are making subjective decisions about innovations in a way that is remarkable similar to how the flash of creative genius test was applied. But today the problem is not only all of the aforementioned, misguided beliefs, but rather we have a general problem with ignorance. It is self evident to anyone who cares to be honest and objective that it takes time and money to innovate; innovation does not simply fall out of the sky or invent itself.

Fairy Tales and Other Irrational Beliefs About Patents

Without a competitive advantage sane people do not invest money in even simple gadgets, which is why it is extraordinarily difficult to get a licensing deal without a patent, and why the first question investors ask is about your patent position. As celebrated inventor Dean Kamen has said, “[t]he first thing the bank or that venture capitalist will say is, ‘Do you have a patent?’” This is the common experiences shared by everyone in the industry. Those who say it isn’t so are simply not credible.

Improving Innovation Climate Critical to US Economic Future

We have thoroughly destroyed the manufacturing capabilities of the United States and in the process decimated middle class America. The Supreme Court is forcing an anti-patent agenda on the courts, which makes it increasingly difficult climate for those in the biotechnology and software industries, two industries that employ large number of Americans and provide extremely high paying jobs. Companies are also simultaneously fleeing the U.S. for corporate tax purposes and/or refusing to repatriate trillions of dollars earned over seas else it would be taxed once again by the IRS. In short, we are shooting ourselves in the foot over and over again, then taking the time to thoughtfully reload and recommence shooting in said foot. There is no real reason for optimism given the political climate in DC and the reality that innovative advances that are now stalled in the patent system have historically carried us out of recessions and onward to prosperity; something that just won’t happen given the current manufacturing, patent and tax policies and laws.

Department of Energy Pumps Money into Offshore Wind Energy

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, there is a potential 4.15 gigawatts of energy which can be collected from offshore wind collection around the country’s waters. The total electric generating capacity of the entire nation was 1.01 gigawatts as of 2008. All of this energy can be collected from waters within 50 nautical miles of America’s shorelines… Offshore wind farms face unique problems in seafloor depth and corrosion from ocean water which can cause higher operational costs in the form of maintenance team transport and replacement components. Offshore wind technology development projects are needed to develop tools for engineering modeling and analysis which can spur further innovation and lower the facility costs for offshore projects.

Best Practices for Fostering a Culture of Innovation

Many great companies accomplish innovation objectives under the leadership of household-name visionary leaders such as Bill Gates and Andy Grove. But we all know that people don’t stay with companies forever, and the culture must be prepared to innovate with or without their day-to-day presence. Companies that are overly dependent on the physical presence of their founders cannot be sustained. The marketplace seems to be confident, for example, that Apple® will continue to thrive without the dynamic leadership of Steve Jobs, may he rest in peace, because he established a genuine and sustainable culture of innovation. Team-driven innovation will create leaders at all levels that can sustain, perpetuate, and strengthen the founder’s vision long after he or she steps down from the helm of the company. Investments in training, commitments to empowerment and delegation, and the development of meaningful succession plans are all critical elements of this process.