With 1093 patents to his credit
Now let’s start with the cynical proverb referred in
What does a patent do?
It provides an exclusive right to the inventor without whose consent the invention can’t be commercially made, used, distributed or sold.
Why are patents necessary?
Patents provide incentives to individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and material reward for their marketable inventions. These incentives encourage innovation, which assures that the quality of human life is continuously enhanced.
Nobody can deny the benefits patents offer to society. But how about the patent holder? Is everything hunky-dory for the patent holder?
Well, not really. Richard Tedlow, a business history professor at Harvard, points out three perils associated with patents in his book Giants of Enterprise. First, as we saw earlier they generate lawsuits. Second, a patent is a public document tipping off the rest of the industry to the company’s direction. Third, if a patent can be “invented around,” the information may cost the company dearly.
In technology based innovations, patents are essential. However, they are certainly not sufficient in keeping competitors at bay. As Peter Drucker pointed out a quarter of a century ago in his book Innovation and Entrepreneurship – Bright ideas are the riskiest and least successful source of innovative opportunities. The casualty rate is enormous. No more than one out of every hundred patents for an innovation earns enough to pay back development costs and patent fees. A far smaller proportion, perhaps as low as one in five hundred, makes any money above its out-of-pocket costs.
What should systematic innovators do then? We will look at how one contemporary of