One of the goals of academic institutes is to increase patent filings. In this email, I will show you a simple way to achieve this.
Here’s the secret:
Implement and enforce a comprehensive Invention Disclosure Policy.
I will give you details on how invention disclosure forms can be instrumental in maturing ideas. At the end, I have also given an Invention Disclosure Form Template that can be used by your institute.
How does invention disclosure form (IDF) help?
Many people think that an invention disclosure form is merely a formality. Nothing can be further from truth. In fact, innovation happens when an inventor carefully fills the IDF.
Firstly, an IDF acts as a guiding light that forces inventors to think. The act of writing organises your thoughts. New ideas appear. You might have observed this phenomenon when you start writing research papers.
Secondly, it prevents many undesirable outcomes associated with patents being a legal right. For example, right from the start you are forced to note down list of inventors, original date of invention, proofs, obligation to sponsors, etc.
Even if filling in a comprehensive invention disclosure form takes two months, it’ll be worth the effort!
Key components of an invention disclosure form
- When was the invention invented? Who are the inventors? Most patent disputes are an outcome of unresolved answers to these questions. An IDF ensures that there is transparency right from the start. If not, worth looking into these questions.
- What technical problem does your invention solve? A basic tenet of the patent system is that inventions have to be useful. Frivolous inventions cannot be granted. Before even describing the invention, consider the commercial applications of the technology; and how your invention might be applied to a product, process or service.
- What were the deficiencies of previous solutions? How does your invention overcome or improve them? A brief prior-art search might be needed to answer these questions. This is where you will be able to convince the patent office examiners that your patent should be granted!
- How does your invention work? Giving insufficient information about your invention is grounds for refusal of a patent application. Describe the invention in detail and explain every component; how it connects to other components and how the system works as a whole. Insert diagrams where possible to improve the understanding of the invention.
Filling the Invention Disclosure Form will help mature your inventions. The process of interacting with patent agents, examiners and other commercial stakeholders will also become smoother.