As a systematic scientist with years of experience and having worked on several projects, I realize that brainstorming for innovations can be quite a herculean task to undertake. And not just that, one of the qualities that really makes Denis Bederov an accomplished systematic scientist is the fact that I know that just coming up with an idea is not enough to get you a patent. Frankly speaking, generating the idea is the first step toward being able to obtain a patent, but it is at the invention stage that your intellectual property could be protected.
In summary, what I’m trying to say is that the single factor that determines if your idea can be patented or not is, if it’s still just an idea or if you have built a prototype of your invention.
How does Denis Bederov define a patent?
As a systematic scientist, I will define a patent as a government-granted exclusive right for a company or individual to produce or market a product. A patent lets you profit from and manage the way your product is used, distributed, and sold, usually for a specific period of time, often 20 years. A patent for your idea helps you protect the intellectual property of your idea, and gives you immunity over competitors who may want to exploit your innovation. When a competitor violates the use or distribution of your intellectual property, they can be sued and fined as allowed by the law.
Principles of generating patentable ideas, by Denis Bederov
When I work with teams and individuals, most times when people ask me how to really generate ideas worth patenting, I usually advise them that the best way to begin is to never think of ideas, but rather, think of your personal problems, or think of problems people around you are facing that really need to be overcome.
Every systematic scientist will tell you that innovative ideas often come from problems, and not by thinking about some startup ideas. Many big names, brands and companies that exist today stemmed from the problems their founders faced and then went ahead to build solutions for those problems.
So, what if you can’t find problems around you that actually require innovative solutions? My expert advice as a systematic scientist is that you can go out and talk with different people, understand what they do and where they need more simple and smart solutions. Take time to observe the people, listen attentively to field experts and objectively analyze the trends. To be frank, if you think sitting and forcing your brain to come up with some genius ideas is the way to go, most times, it just does not happen that way. Even if it happens and you come up with a wonderful idea, there is a great chance it might not hold water, unless it really solves a problem.
A Systematic Scientist’s Classification of Inventions, by Denis Bederov
Generally, inventions can be divided into two categories – substitutes and complements. While a substitute is a new or improved way of doing something that an existing product already does, complements are typically modifications to existing inventions, or concepts, usually in the form of accessories.
In some cases, complements would be easier to sell on their own, while in other cases, a manufacturer might incorporate the invention into the design of their own product which can use your invention as an accessory. In simpler terms, complements are add-ons that improve the functionality of an existing product.
In conclusion, because of the complexity involved in ideation and patenting, I always recommend that people come up with complement inventions because they are typically much easier to patent and market, as opposed to ideas for substitute inventions.