22 Tips to Master the 5 Skills of Disruptive Innovators

Become a disruptive innovator by mastering these 5 discovery skills

History is evident that disruptive innovators have the ability to change the world for better; be it Jeff Bezos, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk…

In his farewell letter to his employees, Jeff Bezos talked about innovation being the root of Amazon’s success. “We’ve done crazy things together, he said, and then made them normal.” Steve Jobs is always remembered for his words about innovators and trailblazers about whom he says “…while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.”

Most people say – ‘Disruptive Innovators’ are wired differently. However, I feel what we are calling as wired differently is just a capability to see things from multiple perspectives. 

Clayton has called these perspectives “Discovery Skills”, in the book “The Innovator’s DNA”. Clayton claims if you can acquire these skills, you can also think like disruptive innovators. This implies if we can teach them to our teams, we can make our organization more innovative. Let’s see what are these ‘Discovery Skills’ and how we can teach them to our people:

  • Associating
  • Questioning
  • Observing
  • Networking
  • Experimenting

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #1 Associating

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #1 Associating

Being at the cusp of different disciplines and finding ways to associate them to create ideas that are out of the box is the first discovery skill. How do you train your mind to do this?

Tip #1 – Force New Associations

Combine things that you wouldn’t usually put together. Look around your home and life and find the two most used gadgets but unlikely to be used as a single one and force your mind to make the best possible association. We are picking a refrigerator and Google Home.

Refrigerator + Google Home

Let’s of think some potential associations:

  • How about talking to the refrigerator just the way we talk to Google Home and asking – “How many cartons of milk are left in the fridge?” instead of opening the fridge and checking ourselves.
  • Or how about asking the fridge to ring a bell when your home made ice-cream is set and ready to dig into? Just the way we ask Google Home to set timers.

As a systematic approach, create a table as follows. Pick a problem(s) you are facing, identify a random item or idea. For inspiration, look around you.  Now try to come up with an association of these two. Here are some examples for your reference:

Unsolved problemUnrelated random item or ideaPotential Association
How do I get more users to download my new mobile adventure treasure hunt gaming app?Running shoesCreate a feature where the game uses the phone camera as a projector and allows the user to treat it as a VR experience. 
How do I prepare my workforce for a post covid comeback?House plantCreate a temperature controlled outdoor, socially distanced workspace where masks need not be worn. Create an atmosphere that feels safe and comfortable and makes your workforce want to be present. 
……Your turn…….………………

Tip #2 – Take on a Different Persona

Take on a different persona. Even by physically altering the way you look and dress, you can force yourself to think like someone you are not. For example, if you’re looking for design innovations with a twist of utility, dress in a black t-shirt and blue jeans for a week so you can feel like Steve Jobs. Let his association of learning calligraphy to subsequently create fonts on his computers inspire you.

Tip #3 – Generate Metaphors and Analogies

Find ways to look at things from an uncommon perspective. Use metaphors and analogies to think of products that you could revolutionize. Ever thought of an AI powered smart ceiling lamp that can watch over patients? The device being smart enough to know if the patients are sitting, standing or laying down and to call out for help if they fall down. 

List of Products (“What if” Metaphor)Possible New Features/Benefits
What if” we aren’t controlling video game characters using a remote, but with our brains? What if they just so happen to be going exactly where we want, when we wanted?Mind control gaming with increased efficiency and lesser need of hand eye coordination
Device-less, play from anywhere, unrestricted game time 
What if” 
………Your turn……..………

Tip #4 – Build Your Own Curiosity Box

Collect and put together things from your travels and explorations, things that may not be useful even. Put them together in a box to trigger your curiosity or even display them where they jump out at you everyday. When faced with a problem, look at them and allow them to let you come up with out-of-the-box solutions. 

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

Tip #5 – Use SCAMPER to Generate Breakthrough Ideas

SCAMPER! Substitute. Combine. Adapt. Magnify, Minimize, Modify. Put to other uses. Eliminate. Reverse, Rearrange. An acronym to inspire innovation and generate insight, use the concepts that this acronym stands for to rethink and allow you a fresh perspective to a problem you may be facing. 

SCAMPER ChallengeInvent a new type of Vending Machine  
SubstituteSubstitute salespersons at stores with vending machines – unmanned and cashless stores
CombineSell advertisement space by installing a screen
 
AdaptInstall QR codes/screens for digital payments
Magnify, minimize, modifyModify receiving tray to be soft and padded to minimize breakage of delicate items
Put to other useTurn traditional vending machine into fresh juicer by replacing packaged food and drink with fresh fruit and juicing mechanism
EliminateEliminate the keypad to punch in codes for products. Maybe use a touchscreen for product selection.
Reverse, rearrangeInstead of taking stuff out of a vending machine, humans get inside and use it as plug and play office

You might also like to read this post on “Innovations in Aerogels With SCAMPER”.

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #2 Questioning

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #2 Questioning

Questioning is the art of learning. Questions seek and frame and expose. Answers change over time, with varying degrees of accuracy and subjectivity. But ask the right questions and you will be amazed how the doors to innovation open. 

Tip #6 – Engage in QuestionStorming

When brainstorming finds you caught in a rut, try QuestionStorming. When you sit down together as a team, ask What if, What caused, Why, Why not, What is questions. Write down every question and once listed, prioritize and discuss the most important or intriguing ones to find better solutions.

Tip #7 – Cultivate Question Thinking

When discussing products and/or innovations within your company, convert your statements into questions. By reformulating statements into questions, you will find not only do the problems you are facing become clearer and help members of your team feel responsible for solutions. Teach your team members in the orientation session about the first principle of thinking. You would love reading this one too – “7 ways to Encourage Innovative Thinking at Your Workplace”.

Tip #8 – Track your QnA Ratio

Keep tabs on your Q&A ratio. Studies have shown that disruptive innovators ask more questions than give answers. And more often than not, good questions generate greater value than good answers. 

Tip #9 – Cultivate your own Question Bank

Maintain a record of your questions as your own written question bank. Keep revisiting these questions to identify patterns and categorize the kinds of questions you are asking. When you do, question your own questions to disrupt your thought to lead to better innovation.   

The table below will help you ask the right questions. 

 Describe the TerritoryDisrupt the Territory
Innovator’s DNA SkillsWhat is? Who? What? When? Where? How?What caused it?Why? Why not?What if? How might?
Observing    
Networking    
Experimenting    

Ask more questions when you go through your question bank. Question your questioning patterns, try and understand which questions generate emotional responses, see what kind of questions lead you best into disruptive thinking patterns.   

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #3 Observing

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #3 Observing

Whether it was Einstein with his theory of Gravity or Galileo measuring time with a pendulum; all innovators, thinkers and makers had something in common. They noticed, they observed and they theorized. Observation is the bedrock of innovation. It is where innovation starts. 

Tip #10 – Observe Customers

Observe the people you are making your product for, the existing customers. Observe how these customers experience your product. Look out for what they enjoy most about your product, and look out for what is leaving them dissatisfied about it. Is there a functional connect only or is your product leaving your customer emotionally connected? 

Tip #11 – Observe Companies

Identify a company you like, or one that inspires you. It may be a blue chip company or a trailblazing start-up. Dig into its hows and whys and think of ways you could incorporate its ideas into your business or product. 

Tip #12 – Make Observation a Habit

Set time aside everyday to observe. Make it a task in your daily to do list. Set aside a few minutes each day to observe the world around you, or a part of it that catches your fancy. Note down (this may even be photographs and videos on your phone) your observations and review them every once in a while. 

Tip #13 – Observe With All your Senses

Observe with more than just your mind. Whether you are observing customers, another company or the world around you, observe with all your senses. Make it a habit to see, taste, hear, smell and feel every experience. Make notes about what responses various experiences trigger in you. You never know what explosive idea is hiding under a whiff of something!

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #4 Networking

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #4 Networking

Idea networking is about you stepping out of your comfort zone and engaging with people who have thoughts that may be different from your own. Fresh thoughts, ideas and perspectives are a powerful arsenal to carry in your toolkit. 

Tip #14 – Expand your Network Diversity

If you are the smartest person in a room, you are in the wrong room. So, like Tony Robbins says, surround yourself with people who are successful, who are forward-moving, who are positive, who are focused on producing results, who support you, it will challenge you to be more and do more and share more. If you can surround yourself with people who will never let you settle for less than you can be, you have the greatest gift that anyone can hope for. Expand the diversity of your network. Engage with people of different ages, socio-economic backgrounds, gender, profession, industry, countries. 

Tip #15 – Start a Mealtime Networking Plan

Don’t have the time to expand your network? Start doing so over a meal. Have a meal with someone in your organization or social circle you never would ordinarily. Step outside your comfort zone if you have to to engage with a person you may not always agree with. 

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

Tip #16 – Plan and Attend New Events Each Year

Attend conferences and seminars as an opportunity to network and learn alongside. Choose a couple of conferences/seminars to attend in a year – one in a subject that interests you and another that is outside your comfort zone. This is a great way to meet people with different perspectives.

Tip #17 – Foster a Creative Community

Become part of, or better still, initiate a creative community and meet regularly to nurture ideas beyond your workplace. Invite outsiders to these meetings to get fresh ideas. Let the people you invite be a healthy mix of experts and novices so you can draw on both experience and raw enthusiasm. Train with the experts and let the exuberance of newness ignite your passion.

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #5 Experimenting

Disruptive Innovators | Discovery Skill #5 Experimenting

Experimentation is fundamental to get insights and new knowledge and in relation to innovation, experimentation is usually seen as a “search for new value”, a journey to innovation.

Tip #18 – Cross Physical and Intellectual Borders

Changing spaces – both physical and intellectual help you break out of routine and fixed mindset. Visit new places – museums, libraries, parks. Join new professional or recreational activities, attend lectures, take an online class or indulge in art. Subscribe to content from different contexts and different geographies. When you open yourself up to alien information, you will see yourself shift from a routine mindset to a hypothesis-testing mindset. 

Tip #19 – Invest Time in Developing a New Skill

Find something you are passionate about beyond your work. Turn it into a skill that you work to develop. It could be painting or photography or ballet or yoga. If you don’t want to go that far, identify another function in your company and explore it deeply.

Tip #20 – Disassemble a Product and Build a Prototype of an Idea

Have something old at home that is gathering dust? Turn it into a weekend repair project. Take it apart, study it and try to reassemble it. Have something at home that you think you could make better? Engage in a product improvement project and turn it into a prototype! Play-doh and Lego are great to create prototypes with your kids and to initiate them into innovation early. 

Tip #21 – Be Regular with Piloting New Ideas

Pick up ideas from the idea books you are maintaining and make a commitment to yourself to carry out a pilot test of one of those every month. If it doesn’t work the first time, experiment on it the next time with a small tweak here and there.

Tip #22 – Go Trend Spotting

Stay up to date with the happenings around you and constantly be on the lookout for emerging trends. Look into the future with the resources you have today and try and think of how you can ride the trend wave.  

Let’s Sum It Up

In sum, remember to keep moving. Remember you don’t have to be born an innovator. You can join the league of disruptive innovators. And while you’re on the innovation treadmill, let Bezos’ words ring loud – “Keep inventing and don’t despair when at first the idea looks crazy. Remember to wander. Let curiosity be your compass. It remains Day 1.” 

Read Next: “How To Seek Investment Using Patents?

Want to get more invention disclosures at your enterprise?

Download this inventor friendly ‘Invention Disclosure Form‘ by TIP today!

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

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Innovations in Aerogels – SCAMPER for Idea Generation

Innovation in Aerogels - SCAMPER - Idea Generation

Learn how innovations in aerogels by Blueshift, Graphene, Krosslinker, Kalwall and …. can help you come up with the next generation of technologies.   

Looking for some inspiration to generate ideas in Aerogels? You have reached the right spot! In this post we are not just sharing an actionable idea generation technique; but something far more than that. The technique we are covering is called “SCAMPER” and the bonus that we are giving here are the innovations in aerogels. ‘Aerogel’ – one of the most fascinating materials on earth.

What is SCAMPER?

Bob Eberle proposed the SCAMPER technique in his book – SCAMPER: Games for Imagination Development in 1971. You would be surprised to see that it’s not outdated yet and can still help you draw a lot of value.

The word SCAMPER is an acronym for 7 brainstorming methods. With each method, you need to answer specific questions about an existing product or idea to explore something new. Let’s take a look at these 7 methods:

MethodWhat you doWhat questions you ask
SubstituteThe focus of this method is to find alternatives. You substitute a part of the existing idea with something else to create a new thing. Which ingredient can you replace without affecting the solution?

Can you substitute people, time, or place for improving the quality?
CombineYou focus on combining 2 (or more) existing things to result in a better idea.Can you combine a new element into an existing product and improve?

Is it possible to merge 2 or more existing processes to create something new?
Adapt During this method, you stress on adapting a part of or the whole existing product or process in a better way.Can you adapt a new process or technology to the existing product?

Is it possible to adapt a process to improve the speed or results?
Modify (magnify or minify)Try to change the size, dimensions, quantity, or frequency in the existing product, process, or problem.Can you add extra features?

Is there a benefit in increasing or decreasing the frequency?
Put to other useThis process helps you to tinker if you can use your product or process in some other unexpected way?Can you use your product differently?

Is it possible to target another market for the product?
EliminateWhen you use the ‘eliminate’ method, you focus on getting rid of a part or process that may not be beneficial.What can you eliminate from a product or a process?

Is there a way to get rid of the harmful parts?
Reverse (rearrange)In this method, you explore if any rearrangement or reverse technique like upside down or inside out with the product helps get new results?What if you go backward?

Can you reverse a process and get results?

The table above shares a few questions for each technique. Feel free to download the exhaustive questions list for all the 7 techniques.

We are in awe with aerogels and hence chose aerogels to explain SCAMPER. From the first commercialization of aerogel, it has been a topic of fascination among scientists and researchers. And, we are no exception!

If you are an industry veteran from the Aerogel industry, I would recommend you skip to “SCAMPER – The Idea Generation With Innovations in Aerogels” section, as we are going to start with First Principles – explaining from basics.

What Is Aerogel?

Aerogel is a synthetic porous ultralight material. It is the lightest solid on earth; an aerogel block of a car’s size would hardly weigh 1 kg. What makes aerogel so interesting are the properties it exhibits in various conditions.

For instance – aerogels have super high thermal resistance. Look at the picture below – A flower is on a piece of aerogel which is suspended over a flame from a Bunsen burner. The flower remains protected from the flame due to aerogel.

Source – wikipedia

Apparels stuffed with aerogels can keep you warm even under a storm of liquid nitrogen (-321°F / -196°C). That’s how magical it is! The post explores 7 breakthrough innovations in aerogels in the following sections – keep reading!

Who Invented Aerogel? | An interesting Story

The inventor, Samuel Stephens Kistler, made the first aerogel somewhere in 1931. His associate and friend, Charles Learned, had a bet with him to replace the jellies’ liquid without shrinking. Kistler removed the fluid and filled the air using the supercritical drying method. The technique is not as simple as it sounds. Kistler took many years and long research to make the first aerogel.

Why We Picked Aerogel To Explain SCAMPER?

MarketsandMarkets reported last year that the aerogel market would reach a share of $1045M by 2025. During the forecasted period of 2020-2025, it would register a CAGR of 10.4%.

What keeps the demand so high is the applications in the energy, construction, and transportation sectors. The need for thinner, lighter, and economical aerogel would drive the growth. Emerging players are challenging each other for novel ideas and growth, keeping the aerogel’s field vibrant. While nonorganic silica has been the most prominent base material thus far, the carbon in organic material is also quite popular now. Start-ups are exploring eco-friendly routes to produce aerogel, as well.

The end products of aerogel are available in many forms like blankets, monoliths, granules, and powder. Here is a tree structure by IDTechEx to help you understand the base materials and available forms of aerogel.

Different types of Aerogels and the terminology

Source – IDTechEx

Having so much innovations in aerogels going on, how could we not dive in the ocean of aerogels to pull out some pearls for you? TriangleIP believes in democratizing innovation so that we can help more people innovate. So here we are sharing different models that you can use to generate more ideas. 

So, let’s learn SCAMPER with examples of aerogel based products and companies.

SCAMPER – The Idea Generation With Innovations in Aerogels

Of all the companies working with aerogels, we chose 7 promising works, based on their innovation technique that aligns with one of the SCAMPER methods. 

Substitute Like Blueshift

Traditional aerogel is made up of silica, which makes it brittle. Such aerogel can fracture under high pressure. Blueshift substituted the silica with polyimides polymer to create a highly flexible aerogel. Trademarked as AeroZero®, this aerogel makes good tapes and laminates. The strength, insulation, and flexibility make it versatile for various industrial purposes.

Innovations in Aerogel - Blueshift - Substitute
  • Aerospace and defense use AeroZero® due to its high insulation and cryogenic properties. 
  • Electronics and telecom fields have adopted AeroZero® because of its lightweightness. 
  • The semiconductors industry uses AeroZero® as it performs uniformly between temperature -200 °C and 250 °C+.

How incredible, isn’t it?

Imagine substituting one of the core materials to solve the existing problems when you think of an idea generation technique. 

Combine like Graphene Composites

“Innovation is taking two things that exist and putting them together in a new way.” – Tom Freston, Co-founder, MTV

Although Graphene Composites (GC) makes composites for aerospace, which are lighter than the carbon-based parts and have higher strength, their armors are worth talking about.

GC combines graphene with aerogel to produce the strongest, lightest, and resilient GC Shields as ballistic armors. These shields disperse the impact of a bullet or stab more effectively than other armor. GC Shieldshave been tested with various rifles, shotguns, and knives.

These mobile shields come in different sizes. They can fit in a school bag or be obtained in a bigger size to protect the full torso. A pack of shields combined to make a wall offers group protection during an attack. GC Shield™ Curtain protects active shooters in large and open spaces.

Innovations in Aerogel - Combine - Graphene Composites

Graphene Composites stands out among companies working with aerogel due to their unique product. Combining two products to offer new benefits is a great way to innovate. What can you combine to create a new product worth interest?

Adapt Like KrossLinker

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.” – George Bernard Shaw

Do you know 1 out of 5 vaccines spoils during transit in the supply chain? 

KrossLinker came up with an innovative approach to package bio-pharma products. These pharma products are temperature sensitive. Many vaccines and biologics like blood, human organs, vaccines, and drugs suffer from the lack of the proper packaging. The traditional Styrofoam packaging spoils these biologics due to temperature fluctuation and dust.

Then existing aerogel products couldn’t stand up to the fabrication challenge of cold-chain biopharma. First, the production speed couldn’t stand the demand and affected the vaccine cost for the end user. Dusty aerogel products pose contamination risks to biologics. 

KrossLinker took the challenge and innovated aerogel packaging for biopharma products. They solved the dust issues with the silica aerogels. Their products are thin, leading to smooth fabrication. Their technology produces aerogel boards 3x faster and at 50% lower production cost. Owing to low energy consumption, carbon footprints are lesser, too.

SCAMPER - Adapt - Krosslinker - Innovation in Aerogel

Adapting an existing process to solve a burning problem: just the right approach to innovating. And KrossLinker did the same.

Modify like Cabot Corp

The Cabot Corp’s idea of using aerogel powder in cosmetics reflects the ideology of ‘modify’ in SCAMPER.

Aerogel has a remarkable absorption capacity—quite useful to soak moisture and oil from the skin. Hence, if added in the powder form, it’s beneficial to enhance cosmetic functioning.

A skin product renders a matt finish by soaking the oily layer from the skin. Aerogel’s addition helps maintain anti-caking and free-flow properties in skin and beauty products. Also, it helps retain the fragrance.

Innovations in Aerogels - Modify like Cabot Corp

A small touch of aerogel to the beauty products magnifies their properties. What are your thoughts on modifying an already available product and coming up with a new idea?

Put To Another Use Like Kalwall

Aerogel by nature is translucent with a blue tint. Kalwall used this property of aerogel and made use in construction for good daylight trapping in massive structures.

While maintaining the buildings’ aesthetics, their structures make the indoor ambiance cozy and conducive to living. They offer museum-quality daylighting™, Skyroofs®, skylights, canopies, and walkways with aerogels. Not only are these products great for natural lighting, but are also great as thermal insulators.

Another benefit of using Kalwall’s design system is, they help the tenants and owners save on energy expenses. The carbon footprints of these buildings are also low. Kalwall panels also claim to be self-cleaning and resist UV rays.

Innovations in Aerogels - Kalwall - Put to Another Use

Putting a product in a different market is a risk. But a little resilience and perseverance can bring success; Kalwall has proved this.

Eliminate With Bronx Culture

While manufacturing aerogel, Bronx Culture might have thought about one question: How can we achieve the same or better aerogel without superfluous byproducts? Or simply put: what can we remove in the process to make the end product equivalent or better?

Using the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) technique of making aerogel with cellulose fibers, Bronx Culture has developed Oryza Aerogel. Cellulose fibers are obtained by mulching the paper. NUS’s manufacturing process generates zero byproducts, saving the landfills from paper wastes.

Oryza Aerogel has no crystalline silica dust in the residues. This means a safe working environment for workers by minimizing the hazardous effects due to inhalation and contact.

Innovations in Aerogels - Bronx Culture - Eliminate - SCAMPER

Bronx also eliminated eco hazards by adopting green and eco-friendly manufacturing processes. The NUS technique consumes less energy and lesser hazardous chemicals. Paper that goes otherwise into landfills is now a source of aerogel.

Isn’t it time to go green and eliminate environmental perils in our innovations, just like Bronx Culture?

Rearrange Like Dunlop Racquets

“If you have always done it that way, it is probably wrong.” – Charles Kettering, Inventor

When Dunlop decided to manufacture racquets using aerogel, they might have one question in mind: How can we rearrange the current structure for better results?

Dunlop rearranged the design and structure of their racquets to provide more strength and shock absorption. Due to its extreme strength and lightweight, aerogel was a perfect answer to making the racquets better.

The company placed aerogel strategically at 2, 5, 7, and 10 o’clock positions in the racket’s hoop. This increased the size of the sweet spots and spiked the stability of the racquets. These racquets also have Dunlop’s patented Aerobridge technology. Aerobridge is a dampening system, which cancels string vibration. For this, they use an aerogel sleeve in the throat of the racquets.

Innovations in Aerogels - Dunlop Rackets - Rearrange - SCAMPER

The design has helped players win world titles. Rearranging or reversing a technology like reverse engineering is a proven and old style to handle problems and works well in many fields. 

What is one thing you can rearrange in a design or even look in the reverse direction to solve a burning issue?

Let’s Sum it Up

SCAMPER, time and again, has proven to be useful for problem-solving and innovating worthy products. The best part of SCAMPER is that it forces you to question the status quo and as you know best the breakthrough innovations come when you challenge the status quo. 

Do try it in your next R&D meeting. Whether you work as a one-person team or in a group, idea generation this way is systematic and result-oriented. So, which of the 7 methods are you choosing to solve a problem? Tell us in the comments section; we are open to brainstorming. Feel free to download the questions list for all the 7 methods by filling the form below!

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Invention Disclosures | Enablers and Blockers

Do’s & Don’ts For Invention Disclosures

Not enough invention disclosures?

Your patent program may fall apart if your inventors are not submitting enough ideas to feed the pipeline toward patenting. The underlying reasons could be anything; from lack of inventor motivation to the process being confusing.

The progression of an idea from the invention to the patenting needs to be a systematic process with steady and sustained flow through the various stages. It starts with invention disclosure or capture where you would need your inventors to disclose their new innovation.

Let’s do a deep dive into the first step—Invention Disclosure and how you can begin a successful patent program.  

The Invention Disclosure / Idea Capture Form

Simply said, an invention disclosure form (IDF) captures an invention and surrounding details with the intent of possibly patenting. 

Invention Disclosures | The Blockers

Ad-hoc Process

Many companies don’t have a set process for filling IDFs. Some companies use simple forms for invention disclosures, and others have an online equivalent. Tracking of the IDF workflow might use makeshift approaches such as spreadsheets. Sometimes the only process happens with emails. 

Each of these processes has one or the other drawback as listed below:

  1. Non-intuitive for inventors without easy collaboration
  2. Possibility of loss of data in transitions with little transparency
  3. Long and complex forms act as a friction intimidating innovators
  4. Lack of real time updates on the progress from idea to patent

The Reluctant Inventor

Inventors like to create, but their disinterest in long forms is a hurdle. Sometimes, the inventors are too busy with other priorities and other times they shy away from the lengthy process.

There is a possibility of lack of motivation too for inventors to fill the IDFs. Either they are not aware of the importance of patents or there is not sufficient incentive attached with the disclosure process.

Long and Complex Forms

Inventors do not receive instruction on the patent process in university and don’t understand what information should go into the requested form fields. Vague questions frequently create a practical barrier for the first-timers, and a busy inventor might lose interest quickly for a tedious form. Eventually, a lack of guidance to fill out the right information also hampers an inventor’s interest.

Lack of Recognition

Have you motivated your inventors enough to fill an IDF? Positive reinforcement helps.

Those who are less familiar with technical documentation and publishing papers are more reluctant to fill out long forms. Tracking who is submitting ideas into the process and providing positive feedback helps socialize the importance of the patent program.

Lack of Awareness

Often, inventors simply aren’t aware of the patenting process, and they don’t know the benefits of protecting their innovation. Even if companies have a patent training course for their employees, maybe it only happens once a year. Ideally, the awareness starts with hiring, during orientation and should be reinforced frequently.

Sometimes, inventors harbor false perceptions of patents from the wrong sources. Explaining the strategic reasons for the patent program helps socialize the importance to enterprise success. Most companies are loath to enforce their patents as that would scare away participation.  Explaining defensive patent portfolio strategies that discourage others from preemptively suing while enhancing shareholder value with intellectual asset creation are more easily embraced strategies.

Invention Disclosures | The Enablers

You must sufficiently motivate the inventors to avoid the loss of patentable ideas. The innovations not protected are given to the public domain without quickly filing a patent.  Here are a few tips to encourage engagement with the patent process:

Culture Change & Awareness

Conduct regular training for the inventors and IP teams. Educating new employees about the benefits of invention capture and how the complete process can improve your IP portfolio. Explain the strategies for building a patent portfolio. These are great opportunities to also invite industry experts to speak in internal forums. Consider workshops around innovation to motivate people further.

Explain the process clearly and as interactively as possible. Make available an IP expert(s) that inventors can seek out for guidance.

Rewards & Recognition

Creators need the motivation to spend time engaging in the process. Offer a bonus at different stages along the way to getting a patent. In addition to monetary bonuses consider giving them other rewards such as, certificates, manager recognition, and a voice in internal newsletters.

Seek Only What’s Necessary

The process of capturing innovation from inventors should have minimum friction. Long and complex forms discourage engagement. Hence, in the first go, seek only the necessary information with the IDF. 

Title

The title should be a one-line concise description of the invention.

Email

The form should capture the inventor’s email address for follow-up. Contact information about any manager, funder or evangelist would be a plus.

Summary

The summary should be focused on the following three most important things:

  1. Technical problem the invention solves
  2. Scientific or technical solution – the invention itself
  3. Advantages over existing solutions to the subject problem

Attaching existing diagrams, presentations, and other documents that add clarity towards understanding the invention better.

Keeping all the above in mind, we have designed the idea capture form with a very simple and intuitive approach via the TIP tool (an innovation management software) at TriangleIP. 

To download the Invention Disclosure Form, request below!

Download IDF in Word Format

Download IDF in Excel Format

The form limits necessary fields only to the invention title and inventor’s email. It also has a summary section where the inventor fills out the invention details in a problem-solution-benefits format. The inventor can also attach notes about the invention to share additional details. The form further has few additional fields for subjective value, patentability estimate and any filing deadline.

Here is another good read for you – “7 surefire ways to get more invention disclosures“.

Wrapping Up The Do’s & Don’ts For Invention Disclosures

The first step to creating a successful patent program is to set up a systematic process to capture ideas and manage their journey to patent protection. Invention disclosures are the beginning point in this program. Encourage your inventors to fill the disclosures by:

  • Keeping the process intuitive
  • Incentivizing the process of writing and submitting disclosures
  • Training the inventors on the importance of IP
  • Creating a culture of innovation that seeks to produce regularly
  • Simplifying and socializing the innovation management process

With these tips, we hope your inventors fill your capture program with an abundance of IDFs to feed your patent program.

Beyond the use of the downloadable IDF form we provided above, the TIP tool by Triangle IP can help you manage your patent program with it’s simple workflow and drag-and-drop features. Additionally, the tool is soon going to offer various analytics that can enhance patenting decision-making. Definitely give it a try! 

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

7 Surefire Ways To Get More Invention Disclosures

7 Ways to Get More Invention Disclosures

“Getting more invention disclosures is an uphill task since inventors and paperwork usually do not go together very well.”

If your organization is not able to get enough invention disclosures from your inventors, you are not alone. People are not eager to engage with things they do not understand. Long, complex forms are just that kind of thing. Inventors are busy people. Their main job is innovation and development, not paperwork.

Inventors often completely forget to report their inventions for patenting because of their busy schedules. Sometimes, they think that the invention is too obvious and they don’t report it at all. As a result,  the innovation managers may lose potentially patentable ideas.

The first step is to get inventors to capture more innovation using an invention disclosure form. Furthermore, when inventors fail to submit invention disclosures in a timely manner,  it leads to the patenting process being rushed. All too often enterprises approach me just before the launch date, seeking help for patent protection at the eleventh hour. However, as discussed below, there are ways to solve this problem.

More Invention Disclosures

Here are 7 ways you can get inventors to submit more invention disclosures:

  1. Training inventors on the importance of IP to socialize the process
  2. Keeping the invention capture process simple and understandable
  3. Ensuring the availability of IP experts in-house or from outside on a contractual basis
  4. Formulating an incentive program that encourages inventor involvement throughout the entire process
  5. Making participation in the IP program part of the inventor’s job description
  6. Evangelizing of the patent program from the executive level down
  7. Making the creation of IP a core part of the organisation’s culture

#1 – Training and Socialization

Training and educating about the importance of idea capture and the ways to fill the invention disclosure form (IDF) efficiently is essential. An IDF helps your organisation begin the process to decide which inventions are patentable and worth pursuit. The information in the IDF also documents information that will help evaluation and drafting of a patent application. 

Conduct interactive sessions with the inventors to explain the invention disclosure and patent process. Also, your organisation can circulate samples of properly filled forms where the patents have been granted successfully. Consider publishing guidelines for filling out the form or recording training for all new hires to understand the innovation program.

#2 – Simple & Engaging Process

As stated above, people do not engage with intimidating things they do not understand. The process for filling out an IDF needs to be simple and avoid unnecessary complexity. It has to allow the inventors to gather their thoughts about the invention and express them easily. 

One of the ways to increase engagement with the disclosure process is by having online disclosure forms. Electronic forms can be reactive and adaptive depending on the answers.  It also can provide helpful tips and allow collaboration with all parties involved.

Whether the IDF is online or not, it should aim to document only the necessary information to initiate the process. Invention disclosure mainly requires the inventor to accurately describe the technologic  problem and solution along with advantages of their invention over prior solutions. To avoid intimidation, the disclosure form needs to be as short as possible with simple language. The key elements of an intuitive and inventor friendly IDF are:

  • Title of the invention
  • Inventor’s contact information
  • Summary of the idea / invention including: 
    • The problem that prompted the creation of the invention
    • The solution provided by the invention
    • The novel and/or enhanced features in comparison to previous similar inventions
  • Detailed diagrams, flow charts, drawings etc. explaining the working of the invention are great too
  • Attaching any pre-existing documentation will help

Ask your inventors to answer these basic questions in order to make the drafting of comprehensive patent specifications easier. Proper invention disclosure will ensure a hassle free patent prosecution process. 

At Triangle IP we have created a simple Invention Disclosure Form, which we also call an Idea Capture Form. It skips the complex questions that need answers at later stages of the patent prosecution process. There is also the option of adding tags, which can be helpful later to filter ideas.

Triangle IP Idea form / invention disclosure form
The Idea Form At TriangleIP

If you wish you can download the idea from using the form below:

#3 – Availability of IP Experts

Your organisation can also explore the possibility of employing in-house Intellectual Property (IP) professionals who can help the inventors with the process. If employing a full or part-time in-house IP professional is not possible, then you should identify and engage outside IP professionals.  There are consultants, patent agents and patent attorneys who are well versed in the innovation capture process. Conducting seminars with the help of IP experts once or twice a year can be beneficial too. 

#4 – Incentive Programs

When there is a lack of incentives to participate in the patenting process, inventors do not feel the need to pay as much attention to filling out IDFs. Encourage the proper disclosure of inventions by providing inventors with varying monetary incentives at different stages. These programs vary in their incentive while paying for engagement through the patent process. For example, award incentives at the following stages of the process:

  • Upon submitting the IDF
  • When the invention is selected for patenting 
  • At the time of filing the patent application
  • Upon grant of the patent(s)
  • After the inflow of revenue from the invention
Incentive program for inventors to motivate them to submit more invention disclosures

#5 – Participation in the IP Program.

At the time of hiring engineers, software developers, scientists, and other innovators, your organisation should set clear expectations for them to participate in the patent program. Include a specific question regarding employee’s contributions to the company’s patent program in any self-evaluation / annual review. This encourages participating and eventually submitting more disclosures. 

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

#6 – Evangelists for Patent Programs

The top management of your organization should remind employees of the importance of the patent program. They should encourage inventors to submit an IDF as soon as an idea is conceived. Management endorsement and reminders assure the patent program will succeed. This priority will spread to the rest of the employees at the company. Without buy-in from top management, a patent program cannot be successfully implemented in your organisation.

#7 – Innovation-Driven Culture

Your organisation should make the process of invention disclosure and patent prosecution worth the inventor’s while. Your patent program should not be a burden on the inventor. IP awareness and protection should be a cultural thing, which is structured properly and decorated in its policies. Integrating IP strategy into your business policies fosters innovation, for example, the employee handbook. An effective patent program will properly protect your innovation.

Download this short, simple yet powerful Invention Disclosure Form to help you with your disclosure process

Conclusion

A simple and engaging invention disclosure process with the right training and motivation for inventors will help your organisation to:

  • Capture more invention disclosures
  • Decrease innovation that never gets documented
  • Expedite the process of filing patent applications
  • Documents innovation with knowledge capture
  • Provide your company with all the benefits of patent protection

Create a culture in your organisation where inventors understand the importance of patents and are enthusiastic about the process. To get more invention disclosures, train inventors to accurately fill out the IDF while socializing the program. A proper capture process helps identify all the ideas which can be transformed into patentable inventions. 

The IDF needs to be simple and engaging. At Triangle IP (TIP) we have created an intuitive drag-and-drop innovation capture tool to take control of the patent mining process while encouraging collaboration. Using the TIP innovation management tool will maximize innovation capture at your organization.

7 surefire ways to get more invention disclosures

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

Innovation Management Software | Ideas To Patents

Designing A Winning Innovation Management System

A winning innovation management software for your journey from ideas to patents!

The 50 Most Innovative Companies Of 2020

As per a research conducted by BCG (Boston Consulting Group), listed below are 50 most innovative companies of 2020. 

50 Most Innovative Companies list

Do you aspire to see your company make it to this prestigious list of most innovative companies? 

One of the criteria for ranking the above listed companies was the innovation management systems used by these companies. What were these systems that set them apart? Let’s find out.

Designing A Winning Innovation System

As per the BCG report the leading innovators pay a lot of importance to following five things:

  • Talent
  • Ambition
  • Governance
  • Innovation Funnel management
  • Project management

Portfolio Mindset: 

Leaders pay close attention to the shape and quality of their innovation funnel—and the processes to manage it. 

Leaders tend to have broader funnels. This is to increase their capacity to generate more potentially valuable ideas. This also allows them to invest in their best ideas as scalable products or services. 

Innovation funnel management comes down to:

1. The quality of decision making in a few critical go or no-go decisions. 

2. The ability to take both a project and a portfolio perspective at the same time. 

Winners take better decisions by establishing a set of tools and criteria to make the right call. Additionally, leaders find the ideal balance between hands-off and hands-on involvement. They set the right incentives to encourage innovation. 

Also, leaders continually analyze to make sure that they learn from their mistakes. The best innovators don’t do this only for failed projects. They also review funding decisions that look like false positives or false negatives. This ensures better-quality decision making going forward.

From Ideas & Innovations To Patents

“Each production is an idea that grows and gathers other ideas until the final event (read patent). The management of this creative process is the challenge.” – Don Mischer 

Every project starts in someone’s mind before it begins a complex path. Most ideas do not survive the journey. They die because the person who thought of the idea fails to properly capture it. Without these ideas finding a place in a system to study, analyse and vet, they are mostly forgotten and ultimately shelved in a hidden recess of the mind of the thinker. Ideas have the potential to be your biggest assets. When an enterprise invests in human resources to find the best it is largely for their minds and their promising ideas. 

Source: giphy.com

With great ideas, comes great responsibility! 

The more the ideas, the more difficult they become to capture and catalog. With improper cataloging and idea storage systems, path altering ideas are sometimes lost at the bottom of the pile. If IP creation is a goal, these ingenious innovations need systematic management to convert them into IP. 

And what helps is a good innovation management software

In this article, we share with you

  • how to determine if your organization needs an innovation management software
  • the informal ways in which you can catalog your ideas with its pros and cons
  • why you should use an innovation capture program 
  • how your company and employees will benefit from well-cataloged ideas
  • how TIP Innovation Management Tool can help you take the first step towards winning innovation system

Do You Need An Innovation Management Software?

Here are two factors to consider before you decide to invest in an innovation management program:

1. The size and structure of your company

2. The inclination of your company towards innovation

If you are a small enterprise that is not innovation-driven, an informal system to catalog your ideas may work for you. Here are some ways to develop that system for your enterprise:

  • Capturing ideas on an idea capture form that is made available on your company’s intranet
  • Training programs conducted from time to time to explain the process
  • Creation of bonus programs to incentivize innovation
  • Tracking of ideas through a spreadsheet or database

If you are an innovation-driven enterprise, you may find the need for a more formal structure to capture ideas. Here are some markers to help you decide: 

  • Filing more than a few patents each year?
  • Is your company large? Is innovation happening in different areas?
  • Are you working towards strategic intellectual property creation?
  • Is it too difficult for one person to manage all these ideas?
  • Have you set monthly/quarterly/yearly goals for patent filings? Or do you wish to?

Why Use A Tool For Ideation Cataloging?

An innovation management tool records all your ideas in one place. Not only does this serve as a centralized repository for the company, but it also provides transparent access to all to spur complementary innovation.

 Source: giphy.com

A good tool is a companion through the entire innovation management process. We, the human race, are very visual. A platform that provides clearly viewable ideas, and allows one to quickly recognize the precise stage in the pipeline is a great tool. Not only does it encourage innovation in the organization, but it also provides an opportunity to transparently assess the idea from various perspectives including assessing the prospect for an issued patent, alignment with business strategy, feasibility, etc. 

Innovation Management Software | Internal Vetting

Innovation Management Software For Charting Growth Trends 

Also, with all ideas in one place, it is easier to strategize. Charting a course for your company and the direction you wish to grow it in becomes clearer. A good innovation management software will give you access to all your ideas at a glance. Now, instead of rummaging documents and notes, you have them all in one place. Whether you are a large company or a start-up looking to grow/build a patent portfolio, the right tool will empower that process. With all your ideas organized and transparently shared in a pipeline of stages, legal coordination and management are easy. 

How An Innovation Management Software Builds Workplace Idea Fertility

“Innovative enterprises often see their patentable ideas inadvertently ceded to the public domain unless there are business processes and capture systems in place.”Thomas Franklin, Founder @ Triangle IP.

Innovation quote by founder of Triangle IP - Thomas Franklin

Another advantage of using a tool is that it creates the right environment to promote innovation. Not only is ideation with a tool time-effective, it is also resource-effective. With all ideas being freely available, there will be less duplication of ideas and a faster timeline for development.  Also, this brings people from different parts of the company together to leverage each other’s innovation. Synergy happens between employees when working on similar ideas from different perspectives. This cross-pollination leads to more brilliance! Two heads are always better than one. 

Source: giphy.com

Ford launched a program within the company to encourage innovation a few years ago. In the words of the Ford Global Technologies chief executive Bill Coughlin, “We weren’t targeting just an increase in inventions, we were targeting an increase in Ford inventors. Once you start thinking like an inventor, you cannot turn that off. Problems become opportunities, and it’s a fun game that you can play in your mind on how to solve this in a new and different way.” In 2016, Ford employees submitted over 8,000 ideas for patents within the company. To deal with the numbers, Ford had to come up with an internal vetting and quality assurance process for which they set up a panel for internal review and even roped in external counsel. Without an internal review system, the innovation program would have been a complete failure

The Innovation Management Software from Triangle IP

The Triangle IP Innovation Capture Tool (“TIP Tool”) is an intuitive drag-and-drop tool to take control of your patent mining and capture process.

We believe that innovation needs management like any other company asset. Enterprises often overlook effective idea management. But the TIP Tool simplifies the process, as easy as A-B-C! The tool gives you the most straightforward single-page view into a patent capture program for your company – the complete innovation management pipeline. 

The TIP Tool has been developed with years of algorithm research directed by thought leaders having a half-century of experience in intellectual capital management. Four patents have already been awarded to Triangle IP on data science to provide clear analytics with many more in progress while using the same TIP Tool freely available to any enterprise.

https://youtu.be/7K4q8LP16Lo

Not only is this tool user friendly, but it also provides a four-stage pipeline with visual tracking of the mined ideas through to their filing as a patent:

Idea Capture / Mining

The Idea Capture Form is designed for the inventors, in particular. Intuitive and easy to fill, this form has fields ideal for those who come up with new ideas. The simple form is designed to capture your ideas while avoiding confusing questions and complexity. 

Once the IDF is filled in and saved, it displays a  summary of the idea, key contacts, and any attachments. A manager may be assigned to the idea who can help in reviewing and refining the idea to take it to the next stage. The tool also allows any inventor to edit or embellish the idea at any time by accessing the saved form.  Inventors will collaborate virtually to add sufficient detail to the IDF.

Like the innovation at your company, the TIP tool is constantly evolving too! We have three exciting new features to make idea logging easier and more fulfilling. The TIP tool also plans to provide the users the capability to customize its already-friendly IDF to add customized fields to support your internal process. And you don’t have to worry about remembering to save your additions to the form each time. The TIP tool does it for you. It even gives you the option to upload drafts and images separately for easy distinction and access. Want contributions to your ideas from someone specific in your organization? TIP tool plans to provide the capability to the users to add comments as ideas and notes within the form and also tag specific people within your organization for their inputs. 

Innovation Management Software | Idea Capture Form

You can download the Invention Disclosure Form below:

Download IDF in Word Format

Download IDF in Excel Format

Internal Vetting

Once ideas are captured using the IDF, they are selectively moved to the internal vetting stage. During this stage in the TIP Tool, these ideas become open to input from a patent committee or other decision makers. With persons from different parts of the organization viewing an idea, it becomes easy to vet the same from different perspectives. For example, the R&D team can suggest refinement over an idea, the finance team could give its perspective on how financially viable this idea could be for the company, the marketing team could study the demand for the potential product in the market.  This is the point at which the IP counsel or the legal team also steps in to give its inputs on whether the idea is a good candidate for patenting. Patentability searches at this stage will save resources for the company too. 

Patent Drafting

Once an idea is vetted to qualify for patent drafting, it is moved to the next phase. For a patent to be successful, it must have the idea fully captured in the application. For this, the input of the inventor is essential through the drafting process, or at the very least during the review of the draft. The TIP Tool provides for the details of the prosecutor assigned to draft a patent application for the idea. This allows for the prosecutor and the inventor to be connected through the process with all ideas including underlying ideas made available in one place through the tool. The TIP Tool allows exchanging drafts securely while avoiding email.

Patent Filing

Once the patent application has been drafted and approved, the TIP Tool even provides for a section that sets out all the patents that have been filed. It allows all interested parties to have access to the application after filing.

Patent Portfolio Management

The TIP tool also allows the company to manage its patent portfolio from within the tool. Details of filing dates, office actions, renewal dates etc. are all made available on the tool which will make it easy for the internal legal team to liaison with its external patent attorney. (This feature of the tool is currently a work-in-progress, stay tuned!)

Here is a video showing the complete workflow process:

https://youtu.be/x7uHHEJ7ihY

Additional Key Features Of The TIP Tool

Years of research and the best minds have created this tool to simplify and energize the innovation process in your organization. Here’s a quick look at some of the features that make this tool the best in the business:

  • It allows you to define user roles for the people in your organization and gives access to different areas of the tool based on the roles assigned.
  • It details the ideas that have been approved within the company in a separate space and even allows you to lock them for an additional layer of security.
  • If you think ideas, when merged, will make for stronger patents and/or better products, it allows you to create a filing with any number of ideas. Also, the same idea can be included in multiple filings.
  • All ideas can be scored on different parameters in the tool. Use these scores to prioritize and rank the patentability of each idea. 
  • This tool understands that passwords are hard to remember for SaaS tools. Use the magic link login which comes straight to your inbox, and don’t worry about having to remember the password again! 
  • If you think an idea doesn’t suit the market you are currently targeting or the needs of the company at the moment, or if the idea doesn’t score too highly, the tool allows you to archive it for later consideration.
  • The tool understands the importance of having a system of organization. So it provides you with the option to tag, group, and filter ideas.

Innovation Management Software | Key Features | TIP Tool by TriangleIP

Let’s Sum It Up

Economists estimate that innovation in its various forms accounts for 30 percent to 40 percent of the gains in growth and productivity by the American economy during the 20th century, more than any other factor. Moreover, in recent years, the pace of innovation and its impact have increased. The successful capture of innovations does not occur by chance; rather, it requires a well designed capture process. As evidenced earlier, innovation management is just as important if not more important than generation of new ideas.

With these fantastic features, the TIP Tool by Triangle IP is the best in the business. The TIP tool is available as a demo version that gives you some pre-populated data that helps you explore the tool and understand its features for a month. After the passage of 30 days, you can enjoy a completely free version of the TIP Tool for free by registering with your email address. 

So, what are you waiting for? Get on the TIP bandwagon and make innovation capture happen! 

If you like this article, join us where we share patent information that matters to you. Don’t worry, we only send emails that we feel are highly relevant for you. 🙂



Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

Patent Mining: 5 Ways To Go About It At Your Enterprise

5 WAYS TO GO ABOUT PATENT MINING IN YOUR ORGANIZATION

As a patent portfolio manager, you want to keep abreast of innovations within the enterprise.

You want to detect and capture likely patentable innovation early enough.

It’s you, who best understands the importance of creating valuable IP.

Maybe you are super technical or maybe not.

You may be comfortable in one technology domain but may not understand other technology domains so well. However, you need to capture innovations from all product lines in the enterprise.

This process of patent mining can be challenging in the absence of a systematic approach.

“Patent Mining is like a treasure hunt, the key to the treasure lies in asking the right questions to the right people.”

Patent Mining at your enterprise

The right people being:

  • Developers
  • Engineers
  • Scientists
  • Product Designers
  • Marketing
  • C-suite

And the right questions frame the patentable aspects of innovations across the enterprise. Ready to dive in? Here are the 5 ways you, the patent portfolio manager, would go about mining for patents at the enterprise.

Hanging around innovators

Tapping into existing development checkpoints

Staying up-to-date with product rollout plans

Learning key selling features from the marketing team

Knowing the strategic vision from the C-Suite executives

Hanging Around with Innovators for Patent Mining

Having the smartest employees is wasted if there is no opportunity to uncover their inventive ideas. Hang around people within the enterprise who have titles such as developers, engineers, scientists, and product designers. Find out about the problems they are solving and the technology they are developing to do so. The company presumably hired these sorts of employees to build new things so certainly they are coming up with new ideas as they carry out their work.

Hanging Around Innovators for patent mining

Networking with these groups of technical people will lead to discussions about their work and patenting opportunities.

Tapping Into Natural Checkpoints

Product development is multifaceted. The process has many stages from conceptualization through market release with the process varying in every enterprise. Usually, during the product development process, you have natural checkpoints that you should look out for. For example, during the product development stage, you might have a proposal, design review or customer presentation. These are often opportunities to get insights so lookout for things that could be patented.

Tapping Into Natural Checkpoints for patent mining

Ask questions about the uniqueness or novelty of the product being developed or its advantages. Focus on the responses and get feedback about the products satisfaction of customer needs. The feedback received would often expose a path to new improvements or enhancements that can place you at an advantage over your competitors. Feedback during the product development process identifies inventive ideas which can lead to a patent.

Staying Up-To-Date With Product Rollout

Closely watch as products get ready for rollout. Product rollout is a term used for the introduction and integration of a new product or service to the market. It is important that you listen to people talking about products that are about to be released. The key questions to ask here will be:

Is there anything new?

What is the problem that this product solves?

What are the advantages of the product?

How is it better than the previous version?

Does the new product make use of new technology?

Staying Up-To-Date With Product Rollout for patent mining

Asking these questions can lead you to terrific new insights and you shall be able to spot some potential patenting opportunities. Timeliness is of the utmost importance here. In the U.S. you lose the right to file a patent after one year of disclosing any information about the new product to the public. Marketing often controls the release of product information to create filing deadlines.

Learning Key Selling Features From The Marketing Team

Marketing usually goes hand in hand with the process of new product rollout. It is crucial that you look out for the key selling features that the marketing team is using to sell the new product. For example, the marketing team can claim the new product is more user friendly than previous products of its type or that it is 20% faster than the previous product. Uncover the technology or innovation associated that is creating that difference, and that might be something to file a patent on.

Learning Key Selling Features From The Marketing Team

Catching Up With The C-Suite Executives for patent mining within the enterprise

Networking with key executives on the technical staff, for example, the Chief Technical Officers, Chief Scientists, etc. is key for patent mining within the enterprise. These technical executives usually have a good grip on the strategic vision. They might not be familiar with how patents work so it’s important that you educate them. These key managers usually have their tentacles going in different product directions because they engage firsthand with the technologies used in the enterprise daily. The key managers should be trained to look out for and identify innovations or ideas that can be patented within the enterprise. It is important to catch up with these executives on a regular basis to know their innovative direction.

Catching Up With The C-Suite Executives

Let’s Sum It Up

These 5 patent mining strategies are the ways to go about gathering up inventions for patent protection. Here is a quick recap of the 5 strategies for you:

  • Professionals with roles like scientists, engineers, developers, and designers work on new products, and hanging around them can lead to patenting opportunities.
  • Tapping on the natural checkpoints like proposal, design review or a customer presentation may also help you find patentable innovations.
  • Whether the product is more user-friendly or 20% better at its performance; there is a good possibility of innovation that led to the improvement. Exclusively owning those marketing advantages is a must.
  • Many times marketing goes hand-in-hand with product rollout; learning key selling features from the marketing team may direct you toward the underlying innovations that might be patented.
  • Catching up with the C-Suite executives can help you spot strategic direction; as these are the people who have a complete picture and insider information on what’s happening across the enterprise.

Our founder recently talked about patent mining in one of his Youtube sessions. Here is the video:

Hope this would help you break down the sometimes-overwhelming task of identifying patentable ideas within an enterprise. Patent mining is one task and managing the patent capture is a whole different game. In the absence of the right tool, the information might just be a mess, that no one wants to get into. Hence, you might like to explore software that simplifies the process into stages:

Idea Capturing

Internal Vetting

Patent Drafting

Patent Filing

Portfolio Managing

Patent Mining framework

Here is a good guide for you to evaluate the tools for innovation capture for a sound IP strategy.

Patent Mining: 5 Ways To Go About It At Your Enterprise

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

10 Types of Innovation To Drive Growth at your Company

10 Types of Innovation

“80% of executives think that their current business models are at risk.”

– according to McKinsey.

Executives also feel a lack of clarity on what the problem is and how to improve. If you feel the same way, read on for some ideas that can help you drive growth at your company by innovating.

Innovation is the only way to win | 10 Types of Innovation

“Innovation is the only way to win.” – Steve Jobs

As a business that is looking not just to stay afloat but be relevant, one is continually looking for different ways to innovate. 

Innovation can happen at so many different levels. It can be new ideas leading to new products, old ideas in a new market space, or new ideas in an old market space. It can also be new ways of reaching customers; whether by services or packaging. Or even a change within the company structure to result in a change in company ethos.

Here is a list of 10 types of innovation for you to ignite the spark of innovation in your organization:

1. Product Performance Innovation

“There is a way to do it better – find it.” – Thomas A. Edison.

This is a great place to start, for it focuses on product features and value offered to customers. This innovation will allow you to focus on making your products better without much other change.  It will also give you the option to create new products. Also, updates and line extensions that add substantial value. Features, functionality and design are the core of this type of innovation.

Let’s take a look at the evolution of Toyota Prius, which set a trend for hybrid cars 15 years ago. And has constantly improved fuel efficiency with each generation:

TimelineGenerationInnovation in Fuel Efficiency (Improved Performance)
1997-2003First28.0 km/L in Japanese 10-15 test cycle
2003-2009Second35.5 km/L
2009-2015Third38.0 km/L.
2015-Fourth40.8 km/L in Japanese JC08 test cycle

2. Structure Innovation

Structure innovations aim at reorganisation of company assets. These assets can be hard, human, or intangible. This kind of innovation challenges you to make them work in unique ways that create value. Tapping your human resources to develop a new talent management system or configuring your heavy equipment in a manner that increases production are a couple of ways of innovating structurally.

In sum, this is how you structure and organize your assets. This type of innovation is usually the most difficult to copy. These unique changes are particular to your organization and they go on to provide a foundation for your Company to build a sustainable future.

Vertical farming (an urban farming solution) used in Singapore is a perfect example for structural innovation. Singapore is a small island and scarce in natural resources as required for farming.

Sky Urban Solutions, a Singapore based company, took upon themselves to solve this challenge in 2009. As the land is scarce, Sky Urban came up with the innovative idea of vertical farming, farm over a farm. In concept, it is similar to a multi-storeyed building which is a vertical arrangement of house over a house.

Structure Innovation | 10 types of Innovation

Sky Greens’ A-Go-Gro System

3. Channel Innovation

One interesting way to differentiate a good and great product is a way how it is channeled to the customer. Channel innovations focus on how you connect your company’s offerings with your buyers. The challenge is to find ways of giving your customer the most innovative delivery experience.

A great example of channel innovation is the Subscription Model that a number of companies have recently adopted. Offering products to your consumers in a ‘curated’ form, with special goodies reaching them every month is an exciting way of broadening customer base. 

I would like to share a personal experience here that I had when I subscribed to Mel Science. Mel has brought monthly experiment kits for young minds to experience the wonders of chemistry. My son absolutely loves it. And I think his amazement translates into successful channel innovation at Mel.

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

4. Profit Model Innovation

Your approach to profit model innovations can be many. As the name suggests, this innovation is driven by profit as the motive. A good profit model will find a new way to convert your company’s offerings and other sources of value into cash. A great one is born of an understanding of what your customers value about your company. This understanding of what is cherished by your market is where new revenue or pricing opportunities can be found.

AirBnB was born in a rented accommodation when the founders couldn’t afford paying their rent. What started out as a rental of air mattresses cum breakfast, has today become AirBnB. With little, to no capital investment, AirBnB has given billions of people great holiday experiences.

Understanding what customers want, they have aced the minimal input –  great return game. Besides, it’s exemplary to see how beautifully they have pivoted with “online experiences” when the pandemic hit.  

5. Incremental Innovation

Incremental innovation is about taking baby steps towards your goal! It is a series of small improvements or upgrades made to your existing products and/or services. It challenges you to increase your product’s value to the customer. You may do this by upgrading features, design, etc. while playing your own market. These changes focus on improving an existing product’s development efficiency, productivity, and competitive differentiation.

Developing a product in increments is the way most tech companies function. Whether it is Amazon and its range of Echo or One Plus and its range of phones.

Utilizing their existing technology, these companies play their own market encouraging and enticing their customers to upgrade and keep up with their innovation.

6. Process Innovation

Process innovations are in a way similar to structure innovations – both these kinds of innovation involve changing the way things work inside your company. The process innovation challenges you to think of ideas out-of-the-box so as to bring out what is unique to your company. These innovations call for you to modify your core competency, as a company.

Process innovation happens by changing the activities and operations of your company. Unlike other innovations that push you towards revolutionizing a product, this pushes you to make the journey more rewarding. Some of the ways in which process innovation may occur is in IP strategy or a shift in the method and process of building a certain product.

Fast fashion has revolutionized the industry. An industry that was essentially driven by seasons and ramps. H&M, by working on collections that were not dictated by these terms but the needs of the market escalated its growth by a small change in business as usual.

7. Red Ocean Innovation

The market and industries as they exist today is the Red Ocean. It gets its name from the cut-throat competition in existence to grab a greater market share. With all things being equal, this kind of innovation can be the easiest, but also the most difficult.

How can you revolutionise a product in existence?

This is the challenge of red ocean innovation. Urge your company to pick up something old, a product you may already have floated in the market, and shake it up to change the user experience. The user needs to feel like your product is the only one that (s)he MUST use! 

Creating a no-frills, low-cost airline was a masterstroke in the crowded airspace. AirAsia by introducing tickets and prices that made flying affordable caused a stir in the ocean.

8. Blue Ocean Innovation

Contrary to the Red Ocean, the Blue Ocean is an unchartered territory. Innovation in the blue ocean encourages you to create a new market space and leave the old, bloody market space behind.

Hence, in the Blue Ocean you don’t compete over existing products instead you rather create a new market space altogether.

With this, you also set the benchmark for a market space that may have a future, thanks to your product.

New market, new product, new pioneer!

This is perhaps the most exciting innovation because it requires you to think like there is no box!

Cirque de Soleil is the greatest example of Blue Ocean Innovation for not only did it bring back the circus, it made it a luxury! By eliminating animal involvement and adding theatrical elements, Cirque has created a loyal audience and a brand in itself. It hurts to see how pandemic has hit them hard.

However, we all look forward to seeing how they pivot themselves. 

9. Disruptive Innovation

A step further in the unchartered direction is disruptive innovation. Here, you ring out the old and ring in the new.

Consumers are easily bored.

When you innovate to disrupt, you tap that boredom and turn it into something exciting for the consumer.

A simple idea with maximum impact would work like a charm. But, in the right market. So, once you identify the market that has bored its consumers, all you need to do is come up with an idea to revolutionize it. Value creation will follow closely behind.

Netflix has been a great disruptor. Understanding that there was a market of customers who were used to online shopping, Netflix tapped into this. Creating an OTT platform, it overlooked ardent DVD subscribers and targeted the “new normal” instead. 

10. Service Innovation

“Never ever compete on prices, instead compete on services and innovation.” – Jack Ma

Service innovation is about how you make your product easier to use. Making your product more enjoyable for your customer – servicing his/her needs.  Helping your customer get better value from your product.

These are what will set you and your product apart. The challenge with service innovations is going above and beyond.

A product is not all R&D. Here, the goal is to reach the very heart of your customer.

Nike has long been known for its customer experience, but it has taken things to the next level at its new New York City flagship store.

The Speed Shop allows customers to order shoes online and try them on in-store. Customers use a special entrance to find their shoe locker, which is unlocked via smartphone. After trying the shoes on, they can check out on mobile without having to interact with a person.


Hope these 10 types of innovation shall give a head start to your innovation program. Innovating within your company is as essential as innovating your offerings. All good ideas need interaction, conflict, debate. Encourage that within your organization.

Last but not the least, I wish to recommend to you a great tool that can help you in tracking your innovations – TIP by TraingleIP.

It offers an intuitive invention disclosure form to capture ideas and collaborate over them to pursue selected ones for patenting.

You might also like to read “7 Ways To Encourage Innovative Thinking In The Workplace“.

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

5 Factors to Evaluate An Idea Management Tool | IP Strategy

Evaluating an idea management tool

Logically speaking, any investment is worth only if it reaps great returns.

A study by Accenture suggests 62% percent of high-growth companies plan to invest in technologies that lead to higher rates of innovation, compared to 54% of other companies.

Investing in technologies that lead to higher rates of innovation shall be beneficial only if the intellectual property created based on the innovation aligns with:

a) company’s business goals/product line.

b) has a market demand.

c) has the potential to be monetized either by licensing or selling.

d) enhances customer experience.

e) generates revenue growth.

After all, filing a single patent costs a minimum of USD 10,000.

Not sure about the cost of getting IP protection for your product or company? Here is everything you need to know about costs related to your IP in the USA.

Now, where is the scope of failure in creating IP wealth for the company?

1. Patent creation was not thought of from different angles like feasibility, demand, investment, etc.

2. Collaborators from the various segments did not participate in the journey from idea to patent.

3. Redundancy in the novelty of a patent gets caught at a later stage.

All this happens due to the absence of the right tool/software that can assure strategic collaboration and tracking.

So, as a patent portfolio manager of your company, an innovation tracking software tailored to your needs shall be an asset.

A tool that addresses each stage of the journey of an idea to patent as shown below:

Idea Management Process Triangle IP

Here are the 5 factors you should consider while you evaluate an idea management tool:

1. Is the tool easy to use?

2. Is the tool engaging to attract collaborators?

3. Does the tool provide real-time updates?

4. Does the tool manage the process throughout the life-cycle (Idea to Patent)?

5. Does the software keep evolving and getting more sophisticated?

Is the Idea Management Tool Easy to Use?

There is a good possibility that you might have used one of the following ways to manage ideas at your company:

1. Spreadsheets

2. CRM Software

3. Home grown tools comprising forms and tabular data

4. Collaboration tools

5. Expensive Docketing Software

The biggest shortcoming of these solutions is the complexity to use.

Nobody likes to fill long forms. Don’t you agree?

As the number of ideas, collaborators increase, tracking the updates on ideas/innovations becomes tricky and painful.The above mentioned methods are just makeshift arrangements, and not specifically designed keeping user experience in mind.

These tools lack intuitiveness and broad adoption across the enterprise. A user does not feel motivated to use the tool unless really needed. It’s the same as using a handkerchief in place of a specifically designed mask.

A handkerchief is just a make-do arrangement, however, a mask is designed keeping in mind filtration, breath-ability, comfort, ergonomics, etc.

On the contrary, if the tool is easy and simple to use, the collaborators will be encouraged to use the tool. Thus, speeding the process and achieving better results.

Is the Idea Management Tool You are exploring Engaging?

No innovation program is going to be successful unless you make it engaging. If the tool is not engaging, a user won’t be excited or motivated enough to share his/her ideas.

Encouragement to share the ideas is the very basis of such a program. E.g. An intuitive idea capture form for inventors can go a long way to minimise friction for inventors to submit invention disclosures. It’s pretty much the same as sharing posts on social media like Facebook or Linkedin.

Engagement on posts through reactions, comments, impressions, views encourage the users to share even more. Not just more sharing, in fact, it gives users an idea of what type of posts score better in terms of response.

Below are just 10 ways out of many that make an idea & innovations management tool engaging:

1. Minimizing the friction to share ideas/feedback/updates or anything related to the tool.

2. A notification of idea submission to the collaborators for review.

3. A notification of feedback reception to innovator/inventor.

4. Patent Analytics driven Artificial Intelligence (AI) based review/rating on an idea from the tool.

5. Redundancy indication from IP Counsel.

6. Inputs on making the claims stronger for a Patent from IP Counsel.

7. Update on an innovation from business angle to all the collaborators.

8. Budget sanction notification for a successful innovation to be patented.

9. Patent draft available for review notification for all the stakeholders.

10. Inviting ideas to solve certain business challenges through innovation.

Does the Tool share Real-Time Updates?

A lot of stuff out there is very static. For example, if you wish to know the status of the company’s IP, you shall place a request for IP report generation to your patent attorney. The report shall most probably be in a form of a table/spreadsheet. Such a report makes it cumbersome to draw valuable insights on the IP front.

Another major problem with such a report is that it very quickly gets out of date. Hence what’s needed is a provision to track what’s happening with your innovations in real-time.

Here is how real-time updates are really beneficial:

1) People get busy developing the product, they forget about what’s happening with their innovation.

2) A system that monitors what’s going on shall help in making sure things are adhering to the process.

3) Timely updates help is avoiding last moment rush:

  • Realizing that you haven’t filed a patent yet and you are closer to the product release.
  • And then you are scrambling through to find out what’s happening and reaching out to IP counsel to get an update.

4) A one-shot way to update all the stakeholders allows for the transparency of the IP management.

Does the tool Manage the Process throughout the Lifecycle (Idea to Patent)?

Does the tool manage the process throughout the life-cycle(i.e. from Idea to Patent)?

The most common and important question that arises in this whole process is: do we file a patent or not?

Earlier the decision about patenting takes place the better it is, as it results in saving time, money, and effort.

Right provisions like below in the idea management tool can help in taking this important decision in the early stages or at least before regretting the investment made in patenting:

1) Visibility into a knowledge repository of ideas helps to avoid redundancy. There is a possibility that a similar idea got patented earlier. Even before the inventor of innovation in question got hired.

2) Vetting by Subject Matter Experts early on helps in shaping the idea and decide which ones to be pursued

3) Ability to view the patent draft as well as final patent application on the same platform.

Explore-Simulated-Version-of-TIP-Tool

Does the Innovation Management Tool keep Evolving and Getting more Sophisticated?

A pleasant surprise always makes you feel happy. Isn’t it? And only happy users can ensure the success of such a tool.

Innovations do not happen on a daily basis. But, whenever a user comes to the tool, new pleasing features shall engage him better. So such an innovation tracking tool needs to continuously evolve and keep getting more sophisticated.

Here are a few ways to achieve sophistication in an idea and innovation management software:

1) Improved Analytics

2) Enhanced Idea Nurturing

3) Dashboard driven by Great User Experience

4) Customization based on organizational needs

“With the right tools and a great team create strategic IP wealth and not dead investments.”

For a company, that files 40-60 patents per year, a tool that is specifically designed for idea capturing and vetting is sheer bliss.

It is important to make the best use of budget allocated towards creating IP.

We hope that this article could give you pointers to make the right choice for an idea management software.

TIP Tool is one such tool that is getting developed along the lines mentioned above. It currently provides ideas capturing and vetting.

Want to be a part of our beta community? Try it for free.

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.

7 Key Benefits an Idea Management Software Provides to a Business

7 key benefits of an Idea Management System

For businesses to excel in existing markets and penetrate deeper into new marketplaces, they need to utilize the capabilities of their workforce to the optimum. By fostering cognitive stimulation and development of employees’ ideas surrounding efficiency and innovation, the application of an idea management system extends the participation of employees in an organization. Such enhanced participation benefits not only the business but increase the employees’ morale as well – a win-win situation.

Historically, businesses relied on the ‘suggestion box’ systems to collate ideas and feedback from employees, but these systems failed due to structural flaws, such as:

  1. As the interaction is generalist, suggestions are often of low-quality or not relevant. 
  2. After idea submission, often, an employee never hears about the outcome of the idea. Eventually, employees tend to start considering this as a futile exercise.
  3. Paper-based suggestions made it difficult for the management to promptly evaluate recommendations, thereby, leading either to a loss of opportunity or redundancy of an idea.

In contrast, idea management software accounts for a well-defined process that allows employees to provide suggestions on specific business objectives alongside ensuring a closed-loop evaluation process. 

Advantages of Idea Management Software

There are several benefits that idea management software offer to the businesses; they are:

Efficient and faster evaluation

Idea management software aid businesses to lower the turnaround time of an idea between an ideation stage to the patent stage. The best ideas are identified, implemented, reviewed, and evaluated, whereas the poor ones are discarded. 

Credits: Viima

Divergent thinking

The best ideas are those that take inspiration from various sources. To ensure a consistent flow of creative juices, employees need mental freedom to indulge in divergent thinking without worrying about the consequences. In essence, this is the bedrock for a true “light bulb” moment. 

Enhanced Collaboration

How often a brainstorming discussion between team players turn into an ego-clash? Way too often.

An idea management system makes it easier for employees to engage in a collaborative effort without transforming the discussion into a chaotic communication.

By inputting data into an idea management software, participants can keep track of the progress of the idea, any reservations to the idea, and potential avenues to improve the idea further.

Better Focus on Employees’ Efforts

By guiding employees’ creative energies towards the fulfillment of business aims, a business can improve the quality and relevance of the suggestions. An idea management system allows a business to highlight specific business goals and even specific business processes to gather suggestions or feedback.

The innovation program introduced by Altice Portugal (formerly known as Portugal Telecom) resulted in a 44% improvement in employee engagement over four years (58% in 2008 to 84% in 2012) and annual savings to the tune of $38 million due to business process improvements from employees’ ideas. 

Also Read: 7 ways to Encourage Innovative Thinking at Your Workplace

Foster Innovation

A vital ingredient in R&D is ideas as they form the backbone of the significant, radical innovations that can fundamentally change as to how a business runs or the birth of new products. Ironically, for specialized departments like R&D to be successful, they require feedback and suggestions from all other departments to be able to mold a prototype into a patentable product.

A prime example of how an idea management system can foster innovation is Toyota Creative Idea and Suggestion System (TCISS). Since its inception in 1951, TCISS has received more than 40 million creative ideas (and counting), which enabled Toyota’s products to be world-renowned for quality, reliability, and durability.

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Thought Mapping

Through standardization and automation of the documentation side of the ideation process, an idea management system can enable faster, comprehensive, and more dependable search as well as storage of information.

Such thought-mapping of ideas through an idea management system can potentially save a business from loss of quality data or critical processes or technical expertise.

Ease in Patent Filing

When filing for a patent, it is necessary to provide steps that led to the evolution of a particular product or process. Through an idea management system, a business can capture the various inputs and outcomes that went into building a prototype, a marketable copy, and, eventually, the product itself.

A journal article in Santa Clara High Technology Law Journal concluded that patent documentation could be a vital tool in planning development, producing statistical information, and even for allocation of funding – an idea management software can work as a repository serving this function.

The application of an idea management system results in numerous benefits that translate into better functioning of business alongside enhanced employee engagement and morale.

Many businesses have understood the importance of capturing productive ideas to gain a competitive advantage and are increasingly investing in a good idea management software to enable such mapping.

If you like this article, join us where we share patent information that matters to you. Don’t worry, we only send emails that we feel are highly relevant for you. 🙂

Note: The preceding is general business advice and not to be construed as legal advice. IP laws vary by country and retaining licensed legal counsel is advised to confirm this information. Any expressed or implied opinions are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Triangle IP or any other entity who might be associated with the presenter. We hope this content is helpful to you, but should not be relied upon without confirming the advice and accuracy with local legal counsel. Any comments or inquiries are not confidential so please discuss your issues directly with counsel.

TIP Tool is free for unlimited users

No credit card required. No setup fees. No need to download.