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A Cool Way to Combat Ebola

Healthcare professionals who are treating Ebola patients protect themselves from virus exposure by wearing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including double-layer gloves, coveralls, and boots. Imagine what that must feel like to those who are on the front lines of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa’s hot temperatures. Changing equipment offers brief relief, but it’s a lengthy process and potentially puts workers at risk of infection each time their skin is exposed.

A Cool Way to Combat Ebola

Ebola virions (PLos Biology, doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0030403.g001)

In an effort to make PPEs more comfortable to wear for longer periods of time – and to keep the risk of exposure at bay – Intellectual Ventures’ Global Good program is partnering with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to test and integrate new PPE cooling technology, including:

Phase-Change Material Cooling Solutions: Currently being used by the military, this garment could provide an off-the-shelf, rapidly deployable cooling solution that can be worn underneath existing PPE.

Arterial Cooling Base Layer System: This innovative base layer cooling system from sports-wear company Qore Performance, Inc., cools the body by cooling the blood at pulse points.

A wide range of approaches will be needed to ultimately put the Ebola outbreak in check – from vaccines to education to new healthcare technologies. Learn more about efforts to combat the Ebola outbreak from:

The World Health Organization 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The White House

Grand Challenges

The New York Times

 

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A Holiday Gift Guide for Inventors

The time is near for holiday cheer, and it’s in the spirit of giving that we’ll ring in a new year. Wrapping paper and ribbon are sure to be abundant, but think to yourself: “Are my gifts getting redundant?” Grab your shopping lists and throw them away, because Intellectual Ventures has a list to fill your whole sleigh. The techies, the nerds, and the scientists, too, this gift guide was made exactly for you. 

A Holiday Gift Guide for Inventors

For the Robot Enthusiast: Electric Paint

The perfect wiring solution for your robot comes in a tube. Now you can connect circuits with ease and allow currents to travel through dried electric paint. If you are participating in a FIRST Robotics competition, then perhaps this is the perfect secret weapon to lead your team to success.

 

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News You Can Use

University spinouts and start-up companies that recognize the importance of capitalizing on intellectual property can be incredibly successful ventures. In this week’s News You Can Use, we’re highlighting stories about the value patents bring to both entrepreneurs and academic institutions.

News You Can Use

Helping University Spinouts Succeed

It’s no secret that colleges and universities are hubs of innovative thought. It makes sense, then, that spin-out companies often form from the ideas incubated in campus classrooms. This week The Guardian explores how academics seek investors to help transform their inventions into successful businesses. “Many universities now have departments or even businesses that help academics turn their ideas into commercial propositions,” the article reports.

Why Start-Ups Need Intellectual Property

How can entrepreneurs give their new businesses the best shot at longevity? According to Forbes, intellectual property plays a big role in attracting the kind of investors that provide long-term value to new ventures. The article points to universities, with their deep wells of intellectual property, as key targets for new companies seeking valuable partnerships.  

Thinking Creatively About Inspiring Innovation

How can savvy business executives identify the best way to cultivate innovation? It depends on the company, but an open mind is always useful. The paradigm of innovation being located in a brick-and-mortar research and development environment is shifting to an “adaptive, globally dispersed [approach] to access critical knowledge from different markets, industries, and emerging innovation hot spots.” Harvard Business Review takes a deep dive into the idea that having a single channel strategy for innovation makes the challenge of acquiring knowledge much harder.

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

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A Renewed Focus on Patent Quality

With the 114th Congress starting in January, patent “reformers” have stepped up their cries for legislation aimed at altering the enforceability of U.S. patents. Hearing those cries, lawmakers are again debating ways to reduce patent litigation by tinkering with the management U.S. judges exercise over the patent cases pending in their courtrooms. While the effort on Capitol Hill proposes to reduce patent disputes by making changes to the tail end of the system, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has taken a different tack. 

A Renewed Focus on Patent Quality

Through the Thomas Alva Edison Visiting Scholars program, the Patent Office is studying how to reduce litigation by improving the way patents are written and how they are granted. At an event earlier this week, three visiting scholars outlined their research efforts including a study designed to bring more clarity to patent boundaries and research examining how to use high-powered data analysis to uncover prior art. 

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News You Can Use

Executives play a key role in setting the tone for their companies when it comes to fostering innovative environments. In this edition of News You Can Use, we’re highlighting interesting stories from the past week focusing on the C-suite’s outlook on innovation.

News You Can Use

The Importance of a Chief Innovation Officer

Even companies well-versed in best management practices can struggle with how to stoke innovative thought. This is where a strong Chief Innovation Officer comes into play. Alessandro Di Fiore, writing in Harvard Business Review, explores the need for a “powerful executive who can counterbalance the natural killing instinct of a company’s business units and design a more innovation-friendly organizational environment.” Drawing on research at the European Center for Strategic Innovation he outlines a framework for success.

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IV’s Favorite Inventions: Fire Hoses

Two of the most powerful natural elements on Earth are arguably water and fire. What can stand between these two elements is often simply a tube — that is, a fire hose. Intellectual Ventures has several antique fire nozzles on display at our Bellevue headquarters, and this invention’s unique ability to connect two dominant forces makes it one of IV’s favorites.

IV’s Favorite Inventions: Fire Hoses

We’ve probably all seen the photos in our history books of townspeople passing buckets of water back and forth to douse a house fire. There were few other options for firefighting until Jan van der Heiden and his son Nicholaas invented the first fire hose in 1673. Their hose was 50 feet long, created from leather tubes sewn together, and attached to gooseneck nozzles on engines that pushed through water. However, the Heiden hose and many of the hoses that followed were often heavy, cumbersome, and unstable.

It wasn’t until the 1800s that advances in hoses began to (ahem) catch fire. The Philadelphia Hose Company began using water mains in 1803 to provide water sources closer to potential fires. In 1807, two American firemen banded a hose’s seam using metal rivets instead of traditional stitching, which led to stronger and more durable products with fewer leaks.

In 1821, inventor James Boyd patented his design for a rubber-lined, cotton-webbed fire hose.  In 1838, Charles Goodyear discovered that rubber could be converted into a more durable material through the vulcanization process, and shortly afterwards, BF Goodrich created a rubber hose reinforced with cotton ply. More improvements followed, and by the early 1900s, lighter linen hoses were becoming the norm.

Today, hoses are a mix of their predecessors — modern hoses usually include a fabric outer layer that envelops a rubber tube. Whether you favor its lifesaving potential or its duality — both in its structure and in the elements it connects — the fire hose is a powerful invention. 

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Happy Holidays from Intellectual Ventures

As we head into the holidays, I wanted to take a moment to recognize all the inventors, customers, partners, and STEM supporters we have the opportunity to work with every day in our quest to drive the world’s invention economy forward.

Happy Holidays from Intellectual Ventures

Through our collective contributions and diligent work together, we’re creating a market for invention – where inventors are laying the foundation for solving the world’s problems both big and small. In honor of the upcoming holiday season and on behalf of everyone at Intellectual Ventures, I want to thank you for your partnership and shared belief that invention creates opportunity.

We wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season.

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News You Can Use

In this week’s News You Can Use, we’re highlighting interesting stories about the relationship between entrepreneurship and innovation. Learn why millennials are prioritizing entrepreneurship more than previous generations, why patents are an untapped asset for startups, and how the UK hopes to encourage more collaboration between product manufacturers and innovators.

News You Can Use

Entrepreneurial Millennials and the C-Suite
According to a new survey profiled in Forbes, millennials are placing greater priority on entrepreneurship than previous generations. The article reports that many millennials believe that business ownership offers them the best opportunity to preserve a creative work environment, innovate, and develop business acumen quickly. But as a result, few millennials report planning to work their way up the ranks at the same company:

“Only 13% of survey respondents said their career goal involves climbing the corporate ladder to become a CEO or president. By contrast, almost two-thirds (67%) said their goal involves starting their own business.”

Patents as Untapped Source of Cash
Our own Raymond Hegarty, IV vice president of global licensing, was quoted in a Science Business story this week about how young start-ups can fund growth and gain credibility with investors through licensing and patents. Licensing demonstrates value and shows a product is “proven and viable,” says Hegarty. “At the same time, because you bring cash in, you may not need to give a piece of your company to investors anymore — you might be able to fund it from licensing those ideas.”

British NGO Calls for Additional Funding for “Innovate UK”
EEF, the British association for engineer and manufacturing companies, is calling for increased support for manufacturers seeking capital to fund innovation through Innovate UK, the government agency that helps encourage technological development. The Telegraph reports that the competitive program solicits applications from entrepreneurs, scientists, and engineers to collaborate on research and development of new products. The program is part of a strategy to emphasize innovation as a key driver of the British economy.

Interested in how patents help entrepreneurs? Check out some of our previous work on the subject here, as well as stories about young entrepreneurs and how they’re following their dreams.

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

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Inventor Superhero: Nikola Tesla

Inventors are doers, but first they are thinkers. And while some invent gadgets, others invent systems. This month’s IV inventor superhero thought long and hard about how to enhance the world we live in, and his inventions and system innovations are engrained in just about everything we use in modern life.

Inventor Superhero: Nikola Tesla

Inventor Superhero: Nikola Tesla (1856-1943)

Superpowers: Electrical currents, mathematics, radar technology, and energy conversion

Eureka! Moment: Tesla began his career in the 1800s in Budapest as an electrical engineer for a telephone company. He was fascinated with electricity, and one day while strolling through a park with a friend, he had a flash of genius that set a course for his life’s work: Tesla unraveled the solution to the rotating magnetic field. He stopped along his walk, grabbed a stick, and drew a diagram in the sand that explained the principles of the induction motor.

Superhero Lair: Wardenclyffe  — Tesla’s red brick laboratory on Long Island, NY, where he worked to establish a wireless telegraphy plant. Today, Wardenclyffe is Tesla’s only remaining lab building. In 2012, the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, in collaboration with internet cartoonist Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal) launched a campaign to purchase and restore the property.

Cool Gadget/Systems: Tesla invented the alternating current electrical system, which is still widely used around the world. He also developed the Tesla coil, a system of generators, and he harnessed the power of Niagara Falls by creating the first-ever hydroelectric power plant.

Childhood Hero: While we can’t confirm that Tesla’s hero was his mother, we know he gained his inventiveness and interest in electrical technology from her. Djuka Mandic was known for her creations and modifications of household appliances.

Nemesis: Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla consistently butted heads over direct and alternating current. Even though Tesla came to the United Stated to study alongside Edison, they eventually split paths due to their conflicting, insistent beliefs on the most efficient type of current. In the end, Tesla was the unsung victor.

Who’s your favorite inventor superhero? Let us know who we should profile next @IVinvents.

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Watch: George Takei Visits IV Lab and Modernist Cuisine

To get a better picture of what’s happening within the wonderful world of invention, sometimes it’s nice to sit back and watch. View a few of our favorite videos highlighting the intellectual property business, science and research, and next-generation inventors. New this week: Actor and author George Takei chronicles his experience visiting Intellectual Ventures Laboratory and Modernist Cuisine's Cooking Lab.

Modernist Cuisine — Kitchen or Lab?
George Takei takes you on a quick tour of IV Lab and the Modernist Cuisine kitchen, where he “savors the flavors with visionary technology leader Nathan Myhrvold.” Learn how cooking can be an art, a science, and place for innovation.

Invention Capital at Work
Start-up company CF Global invented a process for turning coffee cherry pulp cast off in the harvest of coffee beans into a nutritious and tasty flour. Watch how Intellectual Ventures is helping CF Global transform the world of coffee from farm to table.

Think Again: What is Invention?
At Intellectual Ventures, we believe invention sparks progress and inspires the inquisitive. See how IV, our customers, and our partners are creating opportunity through invention.

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.

Disrupting Innovation
Adriane Brown, IV’s president and COO, describes the importance that patent quality has on invention and the tech industry.

For more videos, follow Intellectual Ventures’ YouTube channel.

 

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Patent politics, geeky gift ideas, and a brainy book list in our IV Updates Newsletter: ow.ly/G8fRb

Dec 18

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