04 September 2016

What we can learn from Robert Fischell

I came across Robert Fischell for the first time this morning when I read Kate Torgovnick May's article How to solve problems, from an inventor with 200+ patents 1 Sept 2016.

I have embedded the video of Mr Fischell's TED talk so that readers can appreciate his credentials but the purpose of this article is to get inventors to read May's article because it contains the following useful tips:
  • Take your know-how into new arenas;
  • Listen to people and let your mind go wild;
  • When something works, look at how it might apply elsewhere, too; 
  • Don’t be afraid to think big. Really big;
  • Think about those who come behind you; and
  • Innovate for people, not profit.
As a lawyer it is Fischell's last point that I find particularly interesting:
“A lot of people think the purpose of a patent is to make the inventor wealthy, but that’s not why the US created the patent system,” he says. “The purpose of the patent system, as I see it, is to reveal trade secrets so that commerce and technology advance."
That is spot on. As I say in Patents FAQ:
"A patent represents a bargain between a state and an inventor. The state grants the monopoly in exchange for the inventor's teaching those with the necessary skills and knowledge ("persons skilled in the art" or "skilled addresses") how to make or use the invention."
The monopoly is the incentive to the inventor to disclose his or her invention to the public but the purpose of the patent system is to disseminate technology.