With the new patent law, now more than ever you need an automated collaborative system for ideas.
The new patent reform law has many ramifications and I want to look at one of them. At its essence the “America Invents Act” has one critical attribute: Instead of awarding patents to those with “first to invent” status, it is based on “first to file” for their patent. Just like Ken Jennings vs. the IBM computer on Jeopardy, the computer can hit the button faster than is humanly possible.
It’s true the America Invents Act purports to shave time off the patent approval, juggling 750,000 patent applications with a 4% increase in filings, from the current three year wait to a guaranteed 12 month turnaround. But the new law will likely force inventors to build a patent portfolio rather than relying on a single patent. Ergo the patent lawyers will have to file several times to keep first-filing status at each stage of enablement of a company’s good idea.
The problems most organizations face include the typical drawbacks associated with paper systems:
1. A requirement to physically archive the paperwork in a central location while not having them accessible in other locations.
2. The need to make a lot of copies for distribution to review teams in preparation of the review board meetings.
3. Managing the multiple languages involved in the global corporate world in which we live.
4. Difficulty to follow up on the review status of each disclosure.
5. Slow processing of disclosures due to long time lags in between consecutive review meetings.
6. Loss of documents due to mailing errors.
7. The errors associated with revision management: who has what revision of the document at what stage at what location.
8. Emailing for document sharing which is inefficient and lacks transparency to the inventors.
9. Difficult to track each stage of the review process and keep up on missing pieces.
10. Difficulty keeping each key player in the process involved when ready and poor notification.
You need three things that a collaborative idea management system can bring to the process:
1. Transparency. Every actor in the process has access to every document they need to see (subject to whatever security is required which is managed by the system). This makes people more productive and increases trustworthiness between inventors, reviewers and members of the patent department.
2. Efficiency. A collaborative idea management system can keep track of everyone’s responsibility. It can make the process a worry free activity. Each person involved in moving the idea from concept to patent (and each patent that’s part of the patent portfolio) is automatically notified when their action is due. And when they log into the system persuasive design can make it apparent what they should do next: “Click here!”.
3. Robust Workflow. Instead of the sequential process required in a manual system, a manageable workflow in the collaborative idea management system can enable parallel processing of tasks. And if the law or the company procedure requires a new workflow, the system can easily accommodate it.
If your company embraces innovation and you are managing your company’s ideas manually (and by manual I’m including a system based on spreadsheets, word documents all handled by E Mail), then you are at a clear disadvantage to those organizations who have the benefit of an automated idea management system.
These collaborative idea management systems are key to keeping up with your patents.
An automated collaborative idea management system can provide a backbone for your company’s culture of innovation. All the smart people on your team (and even external advisors) can share ideas, collaborate in order to determine the best ones, have those best ideas automatically promoted, and enable specialized work groups to do downstream analysis like SWOT and Feasibility Studies. Every act and actor can be captured and the information produced in a report.
The patent process can be transparent, efficient and manageable, enabling your company to produce more patents and therefore make more money. It’s not hard to cost justify an idea management system when you think of it this way.
Ron Shulkin is Vice President of the Americas for CogniStreamer®, an innovation management system. You can learn more about CogniStreamer here http://bit.ly/ac3x60
CogniStreamer has a Patent Flow module you can read about here: http://cognistreamer.com/en/products_patentflow.html
Ron manages The Idea Management Group on LinkedIn (Join Here) http://bit.ly/dvsYWD . He has written extensively on Idea Management (Read Here) http://bit.ly/b2ZEgU . If you search on “Shulkin” here at the FEI blog web site, you’ll find numerous entries on idea management systems.
CogniStreamer® is used as the backbone for many companies’ culture of innovation. It is the idea collaborative tool to generate ideas. CogniStreamer is both an innovation knowledge management and idea management software tool, available both SaaS and behind clients’ firewalls. It is an open innovation and collaboration platform where internal colleagues and external partner companies or knowledge centers join forces to create, develop and assess innovative ideas within strategically selected areas. The CogniStreamer® portal is an ideal collaborative platform that invites users to actively build a strong innovation portfolio. In addition it provides a powerful resource for internal and external knowledge sharing. The CogniStreamer® framework is used by industry leaders such as Atlas Copco, Bekaert, BPost, Case New Holland, Cytec, Imec, Picanol and ThyssenKrupp. CogniStreamer® represents the best use of adaptive collaborative technology such to harness human skill, ingenuity and intelligence. Plus it supported by a team of experts who have built best practices and lend guidance based on practical experience.