When you create or invent something new, it is strongly advised that you apply for and acquire a patent to protect your work and prevent others from using the design. However, there is something called the open patent movement that wants to change this.
They want to allow anyone who accepts the license to be able to not only look at the patent, but make changes to it or even use it for themselves – which is potentially detrimental to inventors.
As a result of this, there are an increasing number of companies and individuals who are abandoning the idea of using a patent for each invention they come up with, despite the encouragement for singular inventors to continue using them.
Support for this notion might seem a little bizarre when you are looking at it from a financial point of view, but it actually has the potential to benefit the companies that submit the patents. After all, they are supposed to be the blueprints of creativity and innovation.
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Open patents 101
Usually, patent protection follows a very simple and straightforward method. The idea, or invention, comes from an individual or company.
Then, they register a patent in order to protect their intellectual property. This is to maximise the profitability of the item, and also to prevent anyone from working on or making money off the invention.
However, there is one major flaw with this process, and that’s the existence of patent trolls. These people can smother and stall innovation by essentially sitting on patents that they own and never developing the technology.
Moreover, they will constantly use the patent litigations to prevent anyone from patenting an invention that is even slightly similar to the one they hold.
It hurts innovators deeply and stalls the creative process. There is legislation to rid the market of these trolls, but it is slow and not coming into place fast enough. The open patent market, however, could not only fix these issues but transform the world in ways we could only imagine.
The law of innovation
When it comes to the “laws” of innovation, as it were, an invention is only considered viable once various individuals have worked on, developed, and ultimately improved the concept. If we look at some of the inventions that we use today – the internet and lightbulb to name a few – this notion is resoundingly true.
A company can have the best minds in the world gathered at their table, but there are those outside of the company, who have a different angle in terms of the view, that can offer further insight and fixes that might not have been seen before.
Open patents benefit business expansion
The main reason that companies will reveal their patents freely to the public is for the number of ideas that are potentially available to them.
So many inventors do not have the financial support that large companies can offer, and so are unable to launch their ideas and get them off the ground.
The open market patent will allow for the average, unfunded, inventor to go up to these large companies, utilise the investment money, and get the invention out to the world and ready for sales. It’s a faster moving process.
Many companies really value these individuals thanks to the agreement they have, a sort of give and take between the inventor and the company.
The inventor will give the company their time and knowledge, fixing and creating the product, and the company will provide them with the necessary funding. The process benefits everyone.
Years ago, the very notion of an open patent would have caused uproar and nervousness for businesses. However, as time as passed, many of the owners have realised that the current patent system is not as great as it may seem, and that in this fast moving world changes need to be made and this movement can cause everything to speed up to an appropriate level.