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Patent Searching RESEARCH by Genius Geeks

Patent Search: Determine how prior art is similar or different?

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Patent filing requires “money”. Patents have filing fees, professional fees and maintenance fees over the life of the patent and a large amount of money is required for the defence of the patent. A Patent search is carried out inorder to ascertain that the patent generates enough financial gains to justify the cost associated with its filing and the time and expense of moving forward with a patent application is a worthwhile.

For inventors, searching prior-art in the form of patents filed and granted should be the first step in the patent application process. Patent search gives an opportunity to discover which aspects of your invention can be claimed and high quality patent searches can help inventors anticipate about the scope of any patent claim. Without a patent search an inventor will describe the various  aspects of an invention as if they are equally important which won’t be the case.  

A patent is lot more than just a document. Careful assessment of patents found in the search report is tedious but the inventors who really take the time to read the key patents found in the search know its importance in contributing to the decision about whether to move forward with the patent application and then ultimately to meaningfully contribute to the preparation of a patent application.

Unfortunately, a lot of inventors only give a hasty and not thorough review of the patents found, thereby missing a great opportunity to use the prior art found to figure out what is most likely unique and patentable. Inventors perhaps look at the titles, the pictures, maybe read the Abstract and get overwhelmed.

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For this reason inventors frequently choose to hire a patent professional or patent attorney for carrying out patent search. The inventor has the detailed knowledge of the invention, and is in the best position to identify the similarity and differences of the invention with respect to the prior art and the patent professional is in the best position to determine whether those differences will likely contribute to patentability through a collaborative approach.

A detailed compiled disclosure of the invention forms the foundation of a strong patent application. Determining how the prior art is similar and how it is different is essential to being able to gather great detail of information that can be put together while writing a patent application and invariably leads to a far more detailed written description of the invention.

Many a times inventors carry out a patent search themselves before filing a patent application and during the patent examination an exact invention already patented is found. But this is why you do the search!!!!

Thus, It is better to spend a modest amount of money on patent search before filing a patent application to learn about the prior patents instead of spending a lot of money on patent application only to learn later that no patent could be obtained.

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Three Types Of Innovation. Here’s How To Manage Them

Three Types Of Innovation. Here’s How To Manage Them

“Dreamers are mocked as impractical. The truth is they are the most practical, as their innovations lead to progress and a better way of life for all of us.” ― Robin S. Sharma

With a view of generating revenue immediately from new products, a firm should customize the process of product development for different kinds of innovations. For a company the biggest challenges aren’t in coming up with big ideas but in the organizational and management issues that these new ideas bring along.

No matter what a company is dealing in, companies strive to create innovative products and services adequately and accurately.  

“Chance favors the connected mind.” ― Steven Johnson

For an individual to to bring new ideas to market, create more realistic testing and growth expectations and better manage their innovation pipelines, it is important to identify the types of innovations, needs and the correct approach to nurture and grow the type of innovation.

THE THREE TYPES OF INNOVATIONS

To prolong their stay in the market, companies need to come up with sustaining products and services. Sustaining innovations in products or services help any organization raise the bar enough to stay in the game. These innovations can sometimes be thought of as modification of an already existing product.

To significantly up the level of game within an existing category a company should come up with remarkable offerings. The product should be such that seeing it, customers couldn’t help but want it–over time making it the best-selling product.

“Progress is made by lazy men looking for easier ways to do things.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

When we think about an innovation, many of us have some sort of ideas in our mind. Such breakthrough ideas are called disruptive innovations because they disrupt the current market behavior, rendering existing solutions old-school, transforming values, and bringing previously marginal customers and companies into the center of attention.

The Social media could be considered a disruptive innovation within sports. More specifically, the social media has radically changed the way that news in sports circulates nowadays. Social media has created a new market for sports that was not around before in the sense that players and fans have instant access to information related to sports.

“In a world of change, the learners shall inherit the earth, while the learned shall find themselves perfectly suited for a world that no longer exists.” ― Eric Hoffer

To help explain the difference between these three types of innovations, let’s look at the coffee industry. Maxwell House came up with a dark roast version of coffee, it introduced a sustaining innovation. A new flavour was only a variation on their existing products.

A breakout innovation was General Foods’ line of International Coffees, which added connoisseur of fine flavors to the instant coffee category and elevated the at-home coffee experience. And Starbucks has obviously been a disruptive innovation, turning coffee into a destination experience worth paying a lot more for.

“Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship…the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” ― Peter F. Drucker

In a given category, disruptive innovations come first and are then followed by a series of progressive innovations, with sporadic breakout hits interspersed. Eventually, the market is disrupted once again, starting the cycle anew.

Although  disruptive innovations have the potential to yield the greatest benefit to a company, it is not necessary that it will lead to immediate market success. Because disruptive offerings differ significantly from the existing products, they often require time to gain market acceptance.

“You have to take your own bold approach, and if you do you will be rewarded with success. Or calamitous failure. That can happen too.” ― Steven Moffat

Analysis of revenue and consumer buying patterns:

  • Sustaining: Immediately moderate, then tapering off.
  • Breakout: Rapidly strong, then quickly dropping to a lower level.
  • Disruptive: Longer gestation period leading to exponential growth.

For disruptive undertakings, success typically requires different development processes,

different approval and funding mechanisms, and different performance expectations. At

times, work on a disruptive innovation gets stalled in a system that is optimized for the creation of sustaining offerings. For the success of a project a company should tailormade their approach depending on the goals.

“Innovation is an evolutionary process, so it’s not necessary to be radical all the time.” ― Marc Jacobs

To support the ultimate goal of generating immediate revenue, companies should classify each of its new product concepts within the framework of sustaining, breakout, or disruptive. This allows a company to manage risk and reward at a portfolio level.

Categorizing innovations using this framework is an effective way to ensure that target outcomes are in line with the expectations. Companies are able to focus their innovation efforts by clearly stating that they are prioritizing the development of breakout products and consciously minimizing the exploration of disruptive opportunities.

“Do not get obsolete like an old technology, keep innovating yourself.” ― Sukant Ratnakara

 

Indian Patent Attorney, INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY STRATEGY, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Patent Filing India, Patent Innovative Ideas, patent research service, PATENT STRATEGY

Inventorship and Ownership of Patents?

 

Who is the owner of the patent?

Inventorship and Ownership of a patent are separate and distinct issues. Disputes mainly arise over ownership of inventions between employees and employers.

Generally, the inventor owns a patent. However, the inventor and the owner of the patent may be different. This typically occurs when the inventor assigns the patent to an entity, such as a corporation or a university.

Complex and serious legal issues involving the ownership of a patent often arise when inventorship or the duty of an inventor to assign the patent is not clearly defined.

With patents, the concepts of inventorship and ownership, though related, are distinct:-

Inventorship is a legal concept that is based upon who meets the requirements to be an inventor.

The concept of Ownership relates to who actually owns the legal rights associated with the patent.

In the case of an Independent Inventor, the inventor and the owner of a patent are usually the same. In a University or a Corporate Setting, the inventor does not own the patent. Rather, the University or Corporation is the owner.

Patent applications filed in the United States must be filed in the name of the person who invented the invention.

The act of invention has two parts, “Conception” and “Reduction of Concept to practice.”

Conception is the formulation in the mind of the inventor of the complete means for solving a problem in such a way that a person skilled in the relevant art could practice the invention by following the inventor’s conception.

However, an invention is not complete following conception, It must further be reduced to practice. This can be accomplished in one of two ways.

 There may be an “actual” reduction to practice, which is when the invention is made and tested to determine that it works.

However, reduction to practice does not require the invention to be made. An invention can be “constructively” reduced to practice by filing a patent application claiming the invention.

For purposes of invention, a constructive reduction to practice is considered to be equivalent to an actual reduction to practice.

The inventor is the individual who has concept of the invention, provided of course that there has been a reduction to practice. An individual who reduces the invention to practice by following the conception of the inventor is not considered to be an inventor.

There may be only one inventor, which occurs when one person has conceived of the entire invention. Very commonly, however, invention is a collaborative process involving two or more people. When more than one person contributes to the conception of an invention, each is considered to be a joint inventor.

Joint inventors do not have to have physically worked together on the invention. There must have been some collaboration, however, and each of the inventors must have worked on the same subject matter and must make some contribution to the conception of the invention as it is claimed in the patent. All of the joint inventors do not have to be inventors of every claim.

Even if an individual contributes a conception to only one claim in a patent, that individual is still a joint inventor of the entire patent.

Each of the joint inventors are named on the cover page of a patent. The order of the names of the inventors has no legal significance.

The rights in the patent of one named inventor are the same as those of each of the other named inventors, irrespective of the order in which they are listed.

One final point concerning inventorship is that an individual who has not contributed to the conception of the invention is not an inventor, and is not permitted to be listed on the patent as an inventor.

Even if someone has contributed a large amount of money to permit the inventors to work, or if someone heads the research department in which the inventors work, that person is not an inventor.

Inclusion of such a person’s name as an inventor on a patent, with knowledge that the person does not qualify as an inventor, can result in invalidity of the patent. Therefore, that person’s name must not be listed as an inventor on the patent.

Absent any contrary agreement or duty to assign the patent, the named inventor is the owner of the patent.

As the owner of the patent, the inventor has the right to prevent others from making, using, selling, offering to sell, or importing the patented invention.

If there are joint inventors, unless there is a contract, each of the inventors has an undivided interest in the entire invention as claimed in the patent.

Each of the joint inventors may practice the invention without consent of the other inventors and without any duty to pay the other inventors a portion of the profits from the exploitation of the patent. There is no fiduciary duty between the joint inventors.

Also, each joint inventor may license the patent without approval of the other inventors and without paying them a share of any royalties received from the licensee.

Because of this, in any situation involving more than one inventor, the inventors should agree by contract how the rights in the patent will be apportioned.

For example, the inventors may agree that all proceeds from licensing the invention will be split regardless of which inventor actually licenses the invention, or that each of the inventors will have separate exclusive rights to the patent in different geographical regions of the territory.

Often, inventors assign their inventions to their corporate or university employers. When this occurs, inventorship and ownership of the patent differs.

Here, the corporate or university assignee, and not the inventors themselves, owns the rights in the patent.

Unless there is an agreement requiring it, the assignee/owner does not have to make any payments to the assignor/inventor for exploiting the patent.

An obligation to assign a patent usually arises when there is a contract between the inventor and the assignee requiring an assignment, such as when a contractor is hired to solve a particular problem, or when certain employer/employee relationships exist.

Generally, an employee must assign an invention to an employer if the employee has a specific contractual obligation to assign or if the employee was hired to invent or is directed by the employer to solve a particular problem.

Although courts have divided on this issue, employees who have been hired to do research in general usually do not have to assign their inventions to their employers. Also, employees who have been hired for purposes other than to do research have no duty to assign their inventions to the employers.

Of course, parties may define their rights by contract. It is a good idea for companies and universities to have contracts in place with their researchers that require assignment of any invention discovered in the course of their employment.