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Posts Tagged: "inventing"

Understanding Substitutes: Is your invention desirable to consumers?

Frequently one of the most challenging aspects of inventing is determining what need a particular invention fills. This is not to suggest that inventors do not know what their invention does, why they created the invention in the first place, or how it might be used by a potential consumer. Instead, one of the biggest issues I see is inventors not having a good grasp of why an invention might be desirable from the viewpoint of consumers who might be perfectly willing to use various substitutes.

10 Critical Pieces of Advice for Inventors

There really is no one-size-fits-all approach inventors can follow, and there is no inventing roadmap to success that will work in all cases. Notwithstanding, there are certainly a number of things that can and should be understood if an inventor is going to pursue inventing as more than a hobby. By understanding some basic but critical information at the outset…

Advice for Young Inventors

Inventing success for young inventors comes when they are passionate, inspired and dedicated, which is not unlike success in all areas of life… While passion is required, knowledge is also absolutely necessary. A true inventor will learn everything they can about each aspect of the field, from the technology, to the business, to the competition. You must become an expert on your invention and on the field you’ve chosen to pursue.

America innovates most when government stands behind a stable property rights regime

America innovates most when property rights are stable and government gets out of the way so risk takers can dream the impossible and then go accomplish those dreams… The patent system all three branches of our government has created over the last 12 years has increasingly incentivized the stealing of patent rights rather than engaging in an arm length negotiation with innovators who possess patent rights that are supposed to be statutorily presumed valid. This is antithetical to basic, fundamental principles embedded throughout American law, and basic economic principles. Laws are supposed to be certain, stable and understandable. When that occurs externalities and transaction costs are low, which allows for the bargaining of rights to ensue.

Increasing Number of Women Patent Holders Can Spur U.S. Innovation, Grow the Economy

On Thursday, December 1, I attended the Innovation Alliance’s panel on Closing the Patent Gender Gap: How Increasing the Number of Women Patent Holders Can Spur U.S. Innovation and Grow the Economy. The panel, which was moderated by the Licensing Manager for the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, Jennifer Gottwald, Ph.D discussed the recent findings of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and their report on Equity in Innovation: Women Inventors and Patents that was released on November 29, 2016, which explores how women are “underrepresented” among patent holders as well as their relative success in being granted patents when they do apply for them.

Canada is underestimated as a patent filing country for US applicants

Even with its relatively small population, Canada is the largest export market for the US, with about 200 billion dollars worth of exports each year. Exporting to Canada from the US is a well-known process, and an inventor or company wishing to do so will have no difficulty in finding a company that can handle all the required paperwork and logistics. Even if one does not wish to export to Canada, licensing or sale of a patent is always a possibility. I have many clients whose business model revolves around finding products that sell well in the US and which are likely to sell well in Canada, having these products manufactured in China, and selling them in Canada. I often get asked to confirm that one of these products is not protected by a patent in Canada. If there is no Canadian patent, my clients are able to profit from the US inventor’s ingenuity.

Invention Harvesting: Best Practices for Turning Aspiration into Action

Invention harvesting can be leveraged in the context of active development projects to ensure that valuable project-related intellectual property (IP) is duly protected. Significantly, invention harvesting also can be leveraged outside the project context to encourage innovators to invent disruptive technologies to occupy a future, envisioned landscape, and to protect such technologies through the patenting process before others do so. Many companies are aware of the potential benefits of invention harvesting and aspire to begin or expand its use. However, unless they take concrete steps to support and nurture invention harvesting programs, their aspirations may bear limited fruit.

Patent Strategy: Laying the Foundation for Business Success

Patents provide a competitive advantage, and those sophisticated in business know enough to look for and exploit whatever competitive advantage exists. Patents are the 800 pound gorilla of competitive advantage, but realize if you are going to want and need significant sums of money from investors rarely does a single invention or patent command attention. No one wants to invest significant funds into a company that has a one-and-done approach to innovation. That is why the most valuable inventions will have applicability in a variety of fields, and will have a variety of different implementations, alternatives and variations.

Maximizing innovation requires a strong patent system

If a weak patent system were the answer you would expect countries that have a weak patent system, or no patent system at all, to have run away innovation. What you see, however, is the exact opposite. Those that want to dismantle the patent system or further weaken patent rights should bear a heavy burden to demonstrate the veracity of their claims. They should be required to prove that innovation at current levels will at a minimum be guaranteed to maintain at current levels if we are to take a leap of faith and disregard what history, common sense and the law of economics predicts will happen.

Limitless range of 3D printing applications fuels rapid industry growth

There’s almost no limit to the range of practical items that could be created through 3D printing equipment. A team of chemical researchers working at the University of Illinois have created a 3D printer capable of creating small molecules less than 900 daltons in molecular weight for the manufacture of pharmaceutical agents. A similar project at Glasgow University in Scotland resulted in the development of a 3D printing process for creating a series of precise reacting chambers which could be injected with chemical reagent “inks,” also performed by the printer, for making complex molecules. Specialized 3D printing equipment has been created for fabricating dental devices such as permanent crowns and denture frames. There’s even a 3D printer designed to use filaments of graphene, an incredibly hyped substance which is essentially a two-dimensional lattice form of carbon.

Plausibly estimating the market for your invention

There is nothing wrong with dreaming, but there is an extremely important cautionary tale to be told about the tremendous harm that can be done to opportunity when inventors exaggerate the market size for their invention. People with money or those who control distribution channels don’t usually prefer to do business with those who are not professional. They also don’t appreciate exaggeration because it screams that you are unrealistic, which means you will be difficult to work with in the long run. Nobody enters a business deal with someone when they think they will only create a headache.

A beginner’s guide to patents and the patent process

Whether you are an independent inventor, an fledgling entrepreneur or a seasoned inventor who is going out on your own for the first time, the best thing you can do for yourself is to become familiar with the concepts and procedure associated with protecting your inventions. Obtaining patents is not easy for the uninitiated, and without some familiarity you will…

Every invention starts with an idea

The truth is you cannot patent or protect an idea or a concept. However, it is also an undeniable truth that all inventions start with an idea, but an idea is not something that can be protected by any form of intellectual property protection. Said another way, you simply cannot patent an idea or concept. Similarly, you cannot copyright or trademark an idea or concept. So what do you do when you have an idea? How much is required in order to have an invention?

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.

John Calvert, A Champion for Indepenent Inventors

John Calvert, a twenty-four year veteran of the USPTO, retired in June 2014. If you are in the independent inventor or product commercialization communities you undoubtedly know Calvert. After starting as a patent examiner, in 1999 he started working with independent inventors. He would ultimately be in charge of the independent inventor outreach efforts of the USPTO by the time…