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Everything Ventured, Everything Gained

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 reached the moon. 45 years ago, man took his first steps there. Today we’re reminded of how fast technology can develop in the right environment and the distance that invention can take us when inventors, investors, big and small companies, governments, universities and communities work together.

Edward Jung, IV founder and CTO, calls the Apollo program a historical example of the impact of collaborative invention:

 “The Apollo space program created a $25 billion (more than $150B in today’s dollars!) innovation economy and put a man on the moon in less than a decade — thanks to the cooperation of government and industry, the individual and the team.”

To give this accomplishment more context, travel back with us seven years before 1969 to 1962, when President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at Rice University in Houston, TX.

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What Not to Miss In the Insights Archive

We combed the IV Insights blog archive for the most read posts. From IP strategy to geek masterminds, take a look at a few reader favorites that you won’t want to miss.

What Not to Miss In the Insights Archive

The Next Age of Invention
The “lone genius” model of invention has a problem with scale. How will we solve long-term, large-scale problems? Here’s IV Founder and CTO Edward Jung on the importance of cooperation.

5 Inconvenient Truths About Patent Reform
If you listen to a rising banter of critics, you might think that patents are killing innovation. Here’s another perspective from the man who coined the term “patent troll.”

Inventions to Startups: Coffee Flour is off to the Races
Can good IP strategy spur new business? Learn how Intellectual Ventures Invention Development Fund used an IP portfolio to helped launch startup company CF Global.

Software Patents: Just Because it’s in Code Doesn’t Mean it isn’t an Invention
Within the loud and often incoherent chorus of anti-patent “reformers,’’ there’s a particularly shrill sub-group who rails against software patents. Are you among them?

10 Must Reads for Inventors
Curious about invention? Check out the list of IV’s must-reads among the inventor community.

Which Geek Mastermind Are You?
Are you more like Einstein or Tesla? Just for fun, take a quick quiz to find out which inventor you share a wavelength with.

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Defining a Disruptor

Last month, Clayton Christensen’s favored theory of disruptive innovation was ripped apart by the New Yorker, and then put back together again in Businessweek.

Defining a Disruptor

Love the term or hate it, there’s no doubt disruptors challenge the status quo. “Because it’s always been done that way,” is not in their vocabulary. They’re risk-takers and change advocates who are unafraid of the controversy and resistance stirred up by their ideas.

Being a disruptor sure can come with its fair share of misinterpretation as well. Nathan Myhrvold, our cofounder and CEO, has said, “You can’t do anything significant in life if you’re not willing to be misunderstood for some period of time.” This requires courage and a strong belief in your mission – a willingness to step into a different territory and to create something new.

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Patently False

We’ve often wondered: If “patent trolls” and the “explosion” of lawsuits are strangling innovation as some critics claim, then why are the most blazingly innovative industries also the ones with the most new patents and lawsuits?

Patently False

Take smartphones for example, one the most patent-intensive industries. There have been epic patent battles in court.

Yet the pace of smartphone innovation has been off the charts, while prices for consumers have fallen dramatically. Twenty years ago, few people had cellphones and those who did paid $1,000 for a basic model. Today, you can buy a smartphone for less than $100.

This evidence always strikes us as a clear and common-sense rebuttal to what the anti-patent crowd is saying. And now there’s rigorous new research that confirms what we’ve always believed to be true.

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Staff Spotlight: IV Patent Acquisitions

Intellectual Ventures (IV) has one of the largest patent portfolios in the world, which we’ve built up through our own in-house invention process, a worldwide network of inventors, and by working closely with some of the most inventive individuals, startups, and companies in the world.

Staff Spotlight: IV Patent Acquisitions

To help explain how we have developed such a diverse patent portfolio, we asked Troy Niehaus, director of acquisitions at IV, how a 22-year career as an officer in the U.S. Air Force and a decade of coaching baseball and softball has helped shape his search across a huge range of technologies to find and purchase the next-generation of inventions for IV customers.

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Patriotic and Peculiar Fourth of July Inventions

Here at the Intellectual Ventures headquarters in Washington state, we’re raising our stars and stripes this Independence Day to salute our nation’s innovative spirit. American inventors have done extraordinary things; they gave us the telephone, the assembly line, and the polio vaccine. It’s also important to honor the inventors who don’t have a dedicated chapter in the American history books. Their inventions may not be well known, but they are just as extraordinary in their creativity.

Patriotic and Peculiar Fourth of July Inventions

In addition to saluting America’s famed inventors, let’s recognize a few patriotic and peculiar inventions you might see this Fourth of July weekend.

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IV in the News: Institute for Disease Modeling

It’s been a busy couple of months for IV’s Institute for Disease Modeling. By developing detailed computer simulations of disease transmission for malaria, polio, tuberculosis, and HIV overlaid with real-time computer modeling of climate, migration and population shifts, IDM provides the scientific data for local governments, multi-lateral institutions and non-profits to make broad policy, program and funding decisions that will help eradicate deadly diseases.    

IV in the News: Institute for Disease Modeling

Recently, Philip Eckhoff, research scientist and IDM’s principal investigator, published a research paper he co-authored with fellow U.S. scientists and health officials in Nigeria studying historical polio caseload patterns and forecast future circulation of two types of wild poliovirus within districts in Nigeria. The paper, published in BMC Medicine, ultimately concluded that the modeling approach used by IDM for this particular study could be applied to other vaccine-preventable diseases for use in other control and elimination programs.

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What Makes a Person an Inventor?

It may sound trite to say that “inventors change the world,” but indeed, they do. Dating back to the first tool to the next generation of nuclear energy, inventors push the boundaries of science, industry and society.

What Makes a Person an Inventor?

At IV, we spend a lot of time talking about what those pioneers have in common. One person who knows better than most is Geoff Deane, VP and General Manager of the IV Lab, an organization that is fueled by risk-taking and creative license. Here’s how Geoff describes the tell-tale signs of an inventor: 

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Patent Reform That Makes Sense, Part II

In my previous post, I described a constructive proposal in Congress to attack the mass-mailings of “demand letters,” but patent reform isn’t just happening in the halls of Congress. The court system is pushing through another series of reforms that will make it harder and riskier for so-called “trolls” to file frivolous patent-infringement lawsuits.

Patent Reform That Makes Sense, Part II

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court handed down two decisions that create more clarity about patent validity and will make it easier for companies to defend themselves against charges of infringement. Indeed, The New York Times praised the decisions in an editorial. In one case, Nautilus Inc. v. Biosig Instruments, the high court made it easier for a defendant to show that a patent is invalid because of its “indefiniteness” – meaning that the patent is too vague to explain the scope of the invention. It’s an important issue, because critics have charged that many patent claims are vague and overly broad. Until now, courts have held that a patent flunks the “indefiniteness” test only if the scope of the claim is “insolubly ambiguous.” The high court said that bar was too high, and set a new standard based on failing to provide “reasonable certainty” to those who are skilled in the art. 

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From Teen To Techie In Twenty-Four Hours

“When we’re children, we’re natural inventors…. When kids come out of college, what happened to that inventive capacity?”

From Teen To Techie In Twenty-Four Hours

A student working on her programming skills at CodeDay

Innovative thinking and problem solving are in high demand, especially in industries facing big challenges such as healthcare, food supply, or sustainable energy.  That’s why IV—a company that invests in the technologies shaping our future—lends its support to youth who are learning to apply their ingenuity to real-world applications in science, technology, engineering, and math.

Edward Jung, Intellectual Ventures Founder and CTO, hopes more kids will keep their creativity as they get older. “When we’re children, we’re natural inventors,” says Jung. “When kids come out of college, what happened to that inventive capacity?”

Edward Jiang—different spelling; same creative tendencies—represents a young generation of innovators who, like Jung, want more youth to pursue tech fields. Jiang is one of the founders of StudentRND, a nonprofit organization with a goal to create the next generation of technologist by getting students excited to work on tech projects they care about. He started StudentRND out of his Seattle backyard after graduating high school in 2009. Today, StudentRND events span the U.S. and include the popular CodeDay.

The StudentRND team

CodeDay—sponsored in part by Intellectual Ventures—is a hackathon for students ranging from middle school to college. Teens gather for an intense 24 hours when everyone from coding newbies to seasoned programmers learn to pitch ideas, form teams, and build an app in a day.

IV caught up with a team from a recent New York CodeDay. Their idea: build an app for enhanced music discovery and sharing. The team created the YouPlay Radio software app, which draws from user-submitted music videos available on YouTube to help listeners find an array of original, covered, and remixed songs. App users can then then stream YouTube’s endless supply of music.

Through CodeDays alone, Jiang and the StudentRND team are bringing the creative brainpower of more than 2,000 teens together in cities across the country. With so much ingenuity sparked in a single day, imagine what problems these creative minds will solve once they join the workforce.

Read a Q&A with the YouPlay Radio team on Project Eureka!

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