From the business point of view, intellectual property is of the utmost importance to a company. However, if they are not identified, they have zero value. One form of intellectual property is inventions, which may be challenging for companies’ employees to identify and highlight. In this article, we look at common problems companies may encounter when trying to expand their intellectual property, especially with regard to inventions. To conclude, we will present one solution, which may boost invention activity at companies and thereby increase their intellectual property.
The common denominators of companies that create inventions are an open-minded culture and support from the management. Inventions are also acknowledged as an important cornerstone of the company’s success. Product developers are allowed time, given motivation, and ensured sufficient know-how for innovation. This entails things such as appreciating inventors and their inventions and making sure that inventions are easy to report. A company has created an employee invention policy to encourage product developers to present their ideas and inventions using an invention report form. The organization processes invention reports systematically to distinguish inventions that should be patented and/or are otherwise vital for business. Decision-making is efficient and transparent, and decisions are documented and reported back to the inventors.
Even if the company fosters a positive attitude towards invention, there are no guarantees that inventions will emerge. One reason may be that the product developers are lacking one or more of the aforementioned innovation enablers: time, motivation and/or the necessary skills.
Mika Lehtinen has been working with intellectual property rights for more than 25 years, focusing especially on their management and use. He has participated in many large projects dealing with the licensing and selling of patent portfolios, which have generated considerable profit to IP owners.
Over his career, he has prepared hundreds of claim charts, which have been used in numerous patent commercialization projects and court cases.
Enablers of invention
At the company level, motivation can be boosted by showing appreciation towards inventors, for example, in the form of acknowledgements or compensation for the invention. Another way to increase motivation is to set targets for individual employees or the whole organization. That being said, motivation alone is not enough if time or the required know-how are missing.
By invention know-how, we mean the product developer’s ability to recognize their invention and document it sufficiently extensively. A potential issue may be product developers underestimating their ideas, failing to recognize them as “inventions” or simply seeing them as part and parcel of normal research and development work. What’s more, product developers may not fully grasp the value of their invention for the company.
Although an invention may come to life in a split second, documenting it takes both skill and time. Companies should also allocate time to decision-making and invention analysis.
One solution for above challenges is invention hunting concept which enables product developers to gain the required understanding and know-how to quickly produce inventions and ideas that can be aimed at a specific area of business or product/technology category. At the same time, they can provide companies with raw ideas that are faster and easier to process further.
The service enables product developers to get excited about invention and improve their invention know-how and vision. With an upsurge in creative thinking and improved development skills, the company’s invention activity and ability will permanently increase.
Berggren is a leading and internationally award-winning intellectual property expert organization. We handle all traditional IP matters related to patents, trademarks, design protection, and domain names. In addition, we have comprehensive expertise in consultative services like IP portfolio management, and IP strategies as well as in IP commercialization.
In this event, we have teamed up with Greip IP Solutions, which provides a modern platform for IP management and collaboration.