Reflecting on National Inventors’ Month

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Reflecting on National Inventors’ Month

June 5, 2015

I’d like to reflect on the positive impact of inventors and their contributions to society now that National Inventors’ Month is officially over. Thomas Edison, though controversial, was our nation’s most prolific inventor with 1,093 patents to his name. A key to Edison’s success was his ability to harness the power of his team. He believed collaboration powers innovation and would often host midnight lunches with his “muckers” to share insights, brainstorm ideas, and build comradery amongst his diverse team.

IV, like Edison, depends on collaboration to get things done. We partner with inventors, clients and our extended team in our quest to invent meaningful solutions. This ability to collaborate is even more important today as our global society takes on the insatiable desire to increase speed, efficiency and capabilities – and that spans everything from breakthroughs in computing power to global health. As Nathan Myhrvold said in his recent CNN interview regarding the Arktek Passive Vaccine Storage Device, “There’s a lot of heroes in the Ebola story … but we did our part.” And that’s what IV does – our part – to bring people together to invent solutions to all sorts of challenges.

The Invention Science Fund’s Invention Sessions are an excellent example of how we enable a unique type of collaboration. We assemble experts from diverse fields to tackle a particular problem. Working together, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts that each participant brings to the session. This process has proven successful time and again, generating thousands of patent applications and more than 1,500 issued patents.

The Invention Development Fund enables broad collaboration via the IV Inventor Network (IVIN) with more than 4,000 active inventors and 400 institutions. We obviously don’t bring them all together in a room like ISF does. We instead provide the framework for a type of asynchronous collaboration between the network of vetted inventors and the commercially valuable problems that are identified. A key piece of this is how IV translates the customers’ gap into actionable Requests for Invention (RFIs) for inventors to tackle, which has yielded thousands of patent applications and nearly 1,900 issued patents.

The world has changed significantly in the 80+ years since Edison’s death, with more than 7 million US patents granted since then. I’m proud to celebrate National Inventors’ Month honoring the work IV has done to build a tremendous portfolio of 40,000 IP assets, including the thousands from our inventing funds.

Happy National Inventors’ Month, indeed!

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