What is Patent Thinking?

Patent Thinking is a new design methodology which combines Patent Design and Design Thinking. Using this new ideation methodology teams, startups, academia and enterprises can develop new ideas, products and processes by prototyping a lean patent application. The applied method could take the form of an individual work or a group activity.

Patent thinking includes principles from technology, product management, product design, business and intellectual property.

Patents are considered to be one of the most classic and well known forms of clearly depicting and protecting an innovative product/service or invention by a sole inventor or a group of inventors. Patents have clear rules and structure. They have high value due to the large effort, thought and resources inventors put in to get their patents approved. In addition, they are vetted by multiple professionals for example: patent engineers, specialists, patent attorneys and the different patent offices in the countries they are submitted in. Therefore, usually you will hear of a company buying a patent portfolio for a large sum of money.

The general idea of the global and local patent systems is to allow inventors to secure the sole rights for their inventions in return to making their knowledge available to the public. After some time within the law those the knowledge is a public asset and other could use it to build great innovations on top of it. A great patent is one which a person skilled in the art, hence an engineer, scientist and an artist, can use it to build the product.

Years in the industry building products and leading innovation and ideation in different verticals made me realize that this classic structure of designing and drafting a patent is not only about protecting your idea or product as people might think, but it is more about the thinking process behind it. The structure which includes different sections such as background, detailed description of the invention, patent figures and legal claims lead the inventors through an iterative process of making their invention clear and identifying gaps and problems they address and innovate to create a better product. During drafting a patent application you understand your problem statement, goals and how you wished your final product would look like.

In future posts I will dive into the process of patent thinking, the structure of a patent and how to use it to build more creative ideas, how to prioritise your solutions using the methodology and also give a glance on leading and participating in a patent thinking workshop.

Feel free to ask me anything in the comments, and look forward to helping more inventors innovate using Patent Thinking.

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