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A World Free of Malaria?

Medical texts from as early as 2700 B.C. include descriptions of malaria—a disease caused by wily parasites transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. Scientists, inventors—even soldiers—have spent centuries searching for remedies and preventions against the disease that today affects nearly 200 million people annually, and is the leading cause of child mortality in the developing world. 

A World Free of Malaria?

Bed nets, antimalarial drugs, and insecticides have all helped to reduce the number of malaria cases, but no one approach has solved the problem. Scroll through some of the malaria interventions used throughout history:

 

In 2013, the global total of international and domestic funding for malaria alone was US$ 2.6 billion – but still less than half of what is needed for health interventions, according to the UN. 

At Intellectual Ventures, we believe it will take a variety of iterative and radical innovations to ultimately eradicate malaria. Global Good will continue to work with the Lighting Science Group to commercialize the photonic fence and pursue more accurate diagnostics platforms with GE, but on tomorrow’s World Malaria Day, there are so many efforts that should be applauded in the fight against both a preventable and a curable disease.

If you are interested in supporting an organization addressing malaria eradication, a good place to start is the UN’s Roll Back Malaria Partnership. Individual donors can learn more here and organizations can get involved here.


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Behind the Breakthrough: Dr. Michael Manion

This week on Behind the Breakthrough, we’re profiling Dr. Michael Manion, the director of Keon Research, a company dedicated to creating exciting and valuable inventions. Dr. Manion also serves as an Inventor & Portfolio Investment Manager at IV, where he is a consultant to the Invention Development Fund.

Dr. Manion’s impressive background in biophysics and physiology first led him to conduct groundbreaking research in cancer therapeutics, discovering new compounds from novel understandings of cell signaling. Since then, Dr. Manion has created more than 100 diverse inventions and continues to work on innovative ideas, anticipating the next big breakthrough.

Here are some of his reflections:

On why he enjoys being an inventor:

“You could say that I’ve been an inventor since I was a kid. I used to mess around with science and electronics since I was 10 or 11 – dissecting technology and trying to make something new out of it. I even had this “tinker space” all through school. But beyond the general love of inventing, I’m an inventor because I want to create things that deliver important value to society. My team and I strive to make a meaningful impact wherever we can – the medical world, materials, energy, anywhere. So my work is something I love to do and it makes the world a better place. It’s a great combination.”

On the most difficult aspect of inventing:

“Contrary to what you might believe, the actual inventing isn’t the hardest part. Of course that can take months and even years, but if you make something new and useful then you have to commercialize it – a challenging feat. For many of my inventions, I don’t know if I would have commercialized products without the help from IV. I probably would have had to mortgage my house and ask friends and family for help. Plus, even if all of that worked out, there is a 98 percent chance of failure in taking a nascent idea to market all alone. That’s why IV is so helpful – they allow me to come up with new ideas, even if they don’t all work out, and I can purely focus on my job of inventing. IV does the rest.”

On his favorite invention thus far:

“I am working on a project right now that has the potential to be game-changing. In response to a Request for Invention sponsored by Meat and Livestock Australia, my team has been working on the biochemical assessment of meat. It is really interesting because stress levels in cattle not only determine happiness, but also meat quality. Cattle, like everyone else, get stressed. And excessive stress can reduce the quality of the meat because of the biochemistry. So we came up with a concept we like to call a “smart tattoo” – a visible indicator tattooed on the animal that shows whether stress levels have been exceeded. When this happens, we can isolate the impacted animals to allow them to de-stress. Basically, if cortisol levels rise above a certain threshold in an animal, the tattoo changes color and we know to isolate them right away.”

“We are also developing similar tattoos to show when an animal has a fever, or when an animal is pregnant. There is a lot of utility in all of this, including giving appropriate antibiotics to the animals in the herd who need it, and not all at once. This could also allow us to make huge advancements in the monitoring of diseases. It is really exciting.”

Follow our Behind the Breakthrough series by subscribing to our IV Insights blog, and check out more quotes from inventors and scientists on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages. 


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News You Can Use: From Invention to Innovation

Invention sparks progress and inspires the inquisitive. But, turning a transformative idea into innovation requires confidence in a supporting infrastructure of business development and more. For this edition of News You Can Use, we’ve got stories about breakthrough inventions and how states can create the best environment to help invention become innovation.

Popular Science Names “Ten Greatest Inventions” of 2015

Popular Science released its May 2015 special invention issue this week. Winners of the year’s top invention honors include a personal pollution monitor, artificial reefs for seafloors, and a frying pan that teaches you to cook.

The issue also features a Q&A with Bre Pettis, whose company developed the first affordable 3D printer. He talks about how he came up with the idea for “Makerbot,” what makes an invention groundbreaking, and the value of teamwork to inventing.

New Innovation Scorecard Ranks States

This week, The Washington Post asks “what makes a state a champion of innovation?”

Data from the Consumer Electronics Association’s new innovation scorecard begins to answer that question. The survey ranked states based on a number of variables, including right-to-work laws, tax friendliness, venture capital funding, and friendliness to start-ups.

So which states rose to the top? The study gives the highest ranking, “innovation champion,” to Delaware, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia, calling them “proven leaders in fostering legislative and regulatory climates conducive to innovation.”

@IVinvents shares IP and tech innovation. Follow along, and let us know what you’ve been reading, too.

News You Can Use

Intellectual Ventures regularly shares roundups of invention and intellectual property news. To read the other posts in this series, see below:


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Behind the Breakthrough: Pat Pataranutaporn

This week on Behind the Breakthrough, we’re profiling Pat Pataranutaporn. When he’s not creating computer control system software and interactive research interfaces, he studies biological sciences at Arizona State University, where he also serves as a researcher at the Swette Center for Environmental Biotechnology.

Pat participates in projects with StudentRND, a nonprofit that hosts events, camps, and forums to support student inventors. We spoke with him after he participated in StudentRND’s CodeDay, a 24-hour “hackathon” designed to support students as they pursue inventions.

Here are some of Pat’s reflections:

On his philosophy of invention: “To me, invention means creating something that is good for humankind in any form, whether it’s abstract like a computer algorithm or something more solid, like a robot. Invention ideas are often improved with collaboration and StudentRND is really helpful because it provides such a powerful community. Being surrounded by people who share similar inventing interests is both beneficial and inspiring.”

On his advice for other young inventors:

“A quote from Marie Curie has inspired me for years: ‘Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.’ I always keep this in mind, because I can be intimidated by the idea of working on cutting edge ideas, even when I know I have something potentially groundbreaking in my head. So as young inventors and innovators, we should believe in ourselves and our ideas. If we don’t, our progress for humankind will stall.”

On inventions he would like to see:

“In the next 50 years, humankind will continue to develop innovative and advanced medical technology. I would love for the human race to find a cure for almost every disease, and have rigid protocols for developing treatments for new ailments. I would also like to see more interesting entertainment technology – when people live longer, they will need even more fun and entertainment.”

On inventions he hopes to work on:

“There are so many interesting things happening in the world right now. I’m excited by all of them. I don’t know exactly what I’ll invent next, and that is precisely what attracts me to invention. What I do know is that I’ll invent something soon. My hope is it will be impactful for both human beings and our world.”

Follow our Behind the Breakthrough series by subscribing to our IV Insights blog, and check out more quotes from inventors and scientists on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.


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Staff Spotlight: Shannon Kuyper

Today we’re highlighting Shannon Kuyper, a research program manager at the Intellectual Ventures Laboratory. Shannon’s science roots combined with her business training gives her a unique perspective on the shared challenges and opportunities for many of the lab’s projects.    

In her spare time, Shannon competes in Olympic weightlifting competitions around the country. If you’d like to learn more about Shannon and her work at the lab, check out the lab’s original interview.

Q: What inspires you most about what you do?

A: Nothing is better than bringing the right people together to collaborate to accomplish something. That is a lot of what I do every day. I have a nice, broad view of all that the Lab is doing, as well as Global Good. So I love making connections to bring teams together.  When teams are really empowered to bring their collective expertise to fruition, it just feels so good. Everyone I work with wants to do great work, and accomplish great things. Everyone is really smart on his or her own, but collectively, it is amazing what true teamwork can accomplish!

Q: What do you bring to the IV Lab team that is unique or different than the rest of the team?

A:  My experience in both science and business helps me bridge the two worlds. I can understand both aspects and connect the two. Early in my career, I was a chemist but in general, I can get the “gist” of the science behind what we are working on. Because of my inclination of science, I am able to comprehend different disciplines and understand what different scientific processes require. I have a desire to understand what the different disciplines bring to a project and I am able to pick things up quickly.

I also understand what it means to work on transitioning science and research into products that we want to commercialize and get out in distribution in our regions of interest – primarily low resource settings, in Africa. My MBA and my exposure to typical phase gate approach for development and release of new products at Philips also have helped me bridge the science and business worlds.

Q: What makes working at the Lab unique?

A: It’s a kooky place that is not quite academic, not quite corporate. It’s a great blend between the two. Also, I like that we really try to pull together cross functional teams to work on a problem together. The different perspectives make a huge difference. A biochemist working with an engineer, and collaborating with both external partners as well as the Global Good team brings both business and public health expertise to the picture.

Q: Who was an important influence along your path?

A:  Well, always my mom. My mom had a high school education and always encouraged me to decide on my own how to chart my own path. She supported me and made enormous sacrifices.

Another big influence career-wise was my first manager out of college, when I worked as a chemist in a HPLC lab at Glaxo (when it was just called Glaxo, not GlaxoSmithKline). He was my first mentor and was the one who encouraged me to apply and go to graduate school to pursue my PhD in Chemistry.

Q: Anything else you want to share?

A:  A lot of people at IV Lab know this, but I also love to train and compete in Olympic weightlifting. It feels so good to lift heavy things regularly! Last year I competed quite a bit, including at the National Masters Championship in Louisiana. I won silver in my division. I really appreciate that folks who know I do this regularly ask me about it and encourage me. It’s a little quirky, but it’s something I enjoy. I have taken the last few months off from competing, but I am scheduled to compete again in May, locally. I still love to lift and kick major butt.


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For Success, Invent In and Out of the Lab

Bell Labs. Skunk Works. IBM. These labs have attained almost mythical status for their record-setting pace of innovation in the 20th century. And while offering inventors a central location to brainstorm still yields benefits, it’s no longer enough for companies to just focus on R&D laboratories.

IV Lab’s Instrument Shop offers a broad range of equipment and in-depth knowledge for scientific instrument manufacturing and testing.

A model of isolation simply doesn’t allow companies to build the unusual collaborations that can elevate a good invention to a breakthrough innovation.

This is not to say that labs aren’t important – Intellectual Ventures relies heavily on its laboratory to develop the technology behind Global Good’s Arktek device or the Echodyne MESA radar. But overemphasizing a lab’s singular role in inventing can result in overlooked opportunities. That’s why IV leverages an extensive network of inventors to brainstorm on new ideas.

Evidence shows that siloes – like only tasking laboratory employees with finding innovative approaches – can limit a company’s ability to ask the right questions and recognize the best opportunities for innovation. A more flexible approach lets innovators adapt to changes in the marketplace and contribute to a global invention ecosystem.

At Intellectual Ventures, we’ve found that the most innovative teams often use an interdisciplinary approach to strengthen the value of an existing invention. For example, when inventors from Raisio came to Intellectual Ventures to discuss how to improve and market their innovative feed that increases the fat content in dairy cow’s milk, IV leveraged its network of inventors to host a series of invention sessions.

The inventors widely praised the brainstorming sessions – which included experts in mitochondrial function, biochemistry, and metabolism – as very productive. And Raisio and Benemilk have gone on to file 10 additional patents enhancing the original invention.

Finally, there’s another reason to embrace the interdisciplinary model: cost. The R&D labs of the past were incredibly expensive. But companies today have communications tools that AT&T, Lockheed Martin, and IBM didn’t. Thanks to inventions like Skype, researchers don’t need to be in the same room or even on the same continent to collaborate.

Because the world is global, dynamic, and smaller than ever, collaboration offers a greater pool of businesses have the tools for breakthrough innovation at their fingertips. That’s great news for our ability to solve the world’s greatest challenges while fostering a strong invention ecosystem.


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News You Can Use: Encouraging Youth Inventors

For this installment of News You Can Use, we’re featuring stories about young inventors and initiatives that support developing the next generation of innovators.

IV President and COO Adriane Brown speaks regularly about the importance of supporting students so they can realize their dreams. The following stories describe some of the great work youth are doing now and highlight investments in their continued success.

White House Science Fair Projects

On March 23, the White House hosted 100 students for its 5th science fair to showcase innovative projects in STEM fields. The students’ projects included a new spinal implant to reduce the number of invasive surgeries needed for scoliosis patients, an innovative carbon dioxide powered battery and a keystroke-based authentication system designed to reduce online fraud.

On the same day, President Obama announced over $240 million in new funding to empower students to pursue STEM-related fields and to solve the world’s great challenges. The White House specifically allocated $90 million of the funds to programs placing special emphasis on supporting students from underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities.

Want to learn more? Check out the hashtag #WHScienceFair for pictures, videos and more from the event.

Innovation-Based Higher Education

Fast Company’s Co.Exist reports that college students are placing a greater emphasis on learning by creating at new innovation centers around the country. These centers also enhance students’ opportunity of collaborating with industries prior to graduation. In many centers, programs seek to “blur the line” between school and work to encourage students to adopt innovative and entrepreneurial practices.

Universities and their staffs are major players in the invention landscape. Interested in learning more? We recently rounded up a number of news stories about how colleges invest in innovation.

Participate in CodeDay with StudentRND

StudentRND, an organization designed to support students as they pursue careers in technology innovation, hosts CodeDay, a super-brainstorming session for students. The 24-hour lock-in offers students the chance to pitch ideas and put them into action in real time. It also forms a network of like-minded students that can encourage each other to pursue their innovative interests.

This spring, CodeDay will happen simultaneously across the United States on May 23-24 from noon to noon. Check out the website to see if it’s coming to a city near you, and sign up to see when registration opens.

@IVinvents regularly shares IP and tech innovation news. Follow along, and let us know what you’ve been reading, too.


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Behind the Breakthrough: Dr. David Paranchych

This week on Behind the Breakthrough, we’re profiling Dr. David Paranchych, Engineering Director at IV and expert in the field of cellular wireless communication. His background in electrical and computer engineering helped him invent an improvement for a power control algorithm in early CDMA cellular networks. Later, Dr. Paranchych was a representative to the standards committee that ultimately created LTE – a staple of the modern wireless landscape.

Behind the Breakthrough: Dr. David Paranchych

Dr. Paranchych’s many years of experience provide him with valuable insight on the newest trends and opportunities in communications technology.

Here are some of his reflections:

On the value of education for invention:

“The idea of inventing and patenting new ideas always interested me, but it wasn’t until graduate school when everything clicked. To complete my PhD, I needed to develop a new idea in my field. To start, I looked at the existing literature of the concepts and ideas that interested me; you have to know the prevailing ideas to create a new one. That kind of training naturally brought me to the inventing world.”

On the challenges of invention:

“Creating a new idea is always a challenge. Numerous smart people have already invented incredible things, so it’s easy for new inventors to be intimidated by the unknown unknowns of their field. So a new invention or idea often happens only once the inventor understands his or her area deeply. It’s not easy, but it’s not insurmountable either.”

“The good news is you don’t have to do everything on your own. Teamwork offers the opportunity to bounce new ideas off of others. Plus, teamwork can bring people with entirely different backgrounds together to invent something exceptional. For example, one person might have expertise in wireless communication and another in cloud computing. Put them together, and what can’t they do?”

On the impact of role models:

“My father is an engineer and my uncle was a biochemistry professor. Without their guidance, I don’t know that I would have pursued a career in science and engineering. Everything came together during my second year of college when my professor asked me to work on a telecommunications project. I doubt I would be in this field without that initial introduction and mentoring. It goes to show that people who take you under your wing can make all the difference.”

Follow our Behind the Breakthrough series by subscribing to our IV Insights blog, and check out more quotes from inventors and scientists on our Facebook and LinkedIn pages. 


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Sharp Corporation Enters into License Agreement with Intellectual Ventures

Intellectual Ventures (IV) announced that it has signed a license agreement with Sharp Corporation (Sharp). The deal provides Sharp with a license to IV’s patent portfolio of more than 40,000 intellectual property (IP) assets in more than 50 technology areas.

Sharp Corporation Enters into License Agreement with Intellectual Ventures

IV provides a variety of solutions for companies looking to develop and enhance their intellectual property (IP) strategies and counts many of the world’s leading technology companies as customers and partners. Companies around the globe rely on IV to help them meet their strategic business needs and to provide guidance on developing and acquiring invention rights relevant to their product roadmaps. In addition to traditional IP licensing deals, companies can work with IV’s in-house inventors and its network of more than 4,000 inventors and its relationships with nearly 400 institutions, including many leading universities, around the world to help bridge the invention gap between the invention rights a company may already have and the invention rights a company may need.


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Empowering Women through STEM During Women’s History Month

During Women’s History Month, it’s important to take the time to honor women leaders who have paved the way for our present-day success. I also want to mark the occasion by looking forward to a time where women and men will share equally in STEM degrees and jobs – and in inventing.

Right now, women hold only 7.5 percent of all patents, and 5.5 percent of commercialized patents. Studies show that the reason for this disparity originates from the reality that few women are working in patent-intensive fields and jobs. As a result, too many inventive teams around the country are missing out on the benefits of a diverse workforce.

In order to increase the proportion of women who hold patents, we need to raise the numbers of women achieving degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I’m deeply passionate about this issue, and I speak to young girls around the country each year to encourage them to pursue their interests in these areas. When I meet these girls, I seek to bust the myth that women are anything but extraordinarily capable when it comes to STEM.

At Intellectual Ventures, we deeply appreciate the work of inventors, and believe that their ideas are valuable. And we have some amazing women who work on our teams. We’ve profiled a few of them recently, including Grace Huynh, an infectious disease specialist. We also work with Senior Inventor Muriel Ishikawa and her daughter, Victoria Wood. Some of Victoria’s 280 awarded patents to-date include inventions in the energy, transportation, human welfare, medical, healthcare, mining, imaging, and nuclear reactor sectors. Her mother holds 440 patents in many of the same areas, as well as in laser technology and applied nuclear chemistry. They share a common goal to improve the quality of human life.

We feature these women because their contributions are playing a key role in improving our world. I hope that their stories reach young women who are considering pursuing degrees and careers in STEM and encourage them to do the same.

As March draws to a close, I want to take this opportunity to salute the women of the past and highlight our continued prioritization and support for the women of the future. When we empower girls and women around the world to pursue their dreams, the invention economy and all of humanity stand to benefit.


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Adriane Brown

Adriane Brown

Adriane Brown is the President and COO of Intellectual Ventures.

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Many thanks to @IVinvents for supporting the 2015 IP Video Contest & IP education! Learn how your org. can help at bit.ly/1nqlynI

Apr 24

What's new in #malaria diagnostics? See my piece in today's @FT on.ft.com/1boIgrO @FINDdiagnostics @Nanobiosym @IVinvents

Apr 24

In honor of #WorldMalariaDay, check out our interactive timeline of malaria interventions used throughout history: ow.ly/M4Wk0

Apr 24