Marketing of Inventions and Patentable Ideas
In the free market
system, inventions and patentable ideas are specific articles of trade.
According to the classic books of marketing, we have a market of producer,
a market of consumer, and a postindustrial market. In the first
type of market, there is a deficit on most goods and services, and consumers are
“forced” to buy any available commodities
the second type, the market is overstocked, and consumer has a choice. Here,
producers are fighting for customers using advertisement and other promotional
techniques. Producers rely on new ideas and inventions to the fight.
the most recent type of market exists in postindustrial countries. In the second
type of markets, the producer provides all needed products. The consumer is
happy with the fair variety. In the postindustrial market, on the other hand,
producers have become so developed that they produce more products than the
market requires. With this excessive amount of competition, producers must
provide patent protection of their existing products and obtain new patents to survive.
Only companies that actively research & develop occupy the top. These
companies have hundreds and thousands of patents. For example, take a look at
two companies from our state of Texas. “Texas Instruments, Inc,” –
the world leader in microelectronics – has about 10,000 and oil giant
“Exxon” owns about 15,000 patents. Another rule of the
postindustrial marker, is research and development cannot slow down. The
results are drastic – another company will quickly overtake the market and
your return is unlikely. Marketing is of the same importance as research and
development; the company must not only create new products, it must sell them.
From the sense of above definitions of market, inventions and patentable ideas
belongs to all three types of market. Inventions and patentable ideas are very
original, the owner of the patent has the privilege to use his intellectual
property without competition during 20 years. From the other side, on the contemporary market there are a lot of other
products of similar purpose it leads to competition. Also inventions and
patentable ideas are very new, consumers didn’t use for them, and the promoter
(author or assignee) has to spend a lot of money and time to convince consumers
in the advantages of new products.
marketing techniques followed production and were responsible only for moving
goods from the manufacturer to the point of final sale. Now, however, marketing
is much more pervasive. In large corporations, marketing functions precede the
manufacture of a product. They involve market research and product development,
design, and testing.
concentrates primarily on the buyers, or consumers, determining their needs and
desires, educating them with regard to the availability of products and to
important product features, developing strategies to persuade them to buy, and,
finally, enhancing their satisfaction with a purchase.
For inventions and
patentable ideas, marketing starts at a very early stage when the idea comes to
the brain and “finds somebody home”. The first stage of marketing inventions
and ideas is providing the patent search to determine did somebody already own
this idea, what types of similar ideas already were patented. Such preliminary
patent searches can be conducted on the IBM Patent Website, www.patents.ibm.com,
the results of patent search you can investigate all the aspects of marketing
affairs. The simplest description of the development of the product is the
Inversion curve, general look of which is shown in the fig.1.
can recognize three parts of the life curve of products: the creation of the new
product, followed by its quick development and then a slow decrease in relative
effectiveness. These three stages can be also observed in human life -
childhood, maturity and aging. Contemporary marketing has shown that it is not
profitable, and therefore not wise, to artificially prolong the “life” of
products. The strategy of an attacker is to produce new products as soon as the
development section of the product evolution curve begins to slow down. With the
slightest feeling of future descend, Texas Instruments, Exxon and other
successful companies start to market the products they already developed as a
result of the next technological jump.
good source of the contemporary methods for analyzing the market position and
predicting the next technological jump is the book “Innovation – The
Attacker’s Advantage” (SUMMIT BOOKS, New York). Practical assistance in
marketing and technological forecasting can be received from “Ideation
Forecasting reports the probabilities of certain design parameters
falling within particular confidence intervals at some future time.
Forecasting had developed into Directed Evolution. This
improvement, which incorporated several hundred Lines of Evolution,
constitutes a process for identifying comprehensive sets of potential
evolutionary scenarios. Now, tomorrow's best designs can be created
is self-evident that technology is a major governing force in economic
activity. Advanced recognition of feasible technological developments
and emerging innovations that will shape the future are extremely import
to industrial, financial and social enterprises.
these patterns can systematically generate the creative ideas necessary
for developing a next-generation product or process. Thus, contrary to
traditional Technological There are eight Patterns of Evolution:
1. Stages of Evolution
2. Evolution Toward Increased Ideality
3. Non-Uniform Development of System Elements
4. Evolution Toward Increased Dynamism and Controllability
5. Evolution Toward Increased Complexity and then Simplification
6. Evolution with Matching and Mismatching Elements
7. Evolution Toward the Micro-Level and Increased Use of Fields
8. Evolution Toward Decreased Human Involvement
sharing a similar general goal, the three approaches – traditional
Technological Forecasting, TRIZ Forecasting and Directed Evolution –
yield different results in predicting the optimum direction to follow in
system design, and each employs unique tools to achieve its objectives.
These differences are directly related to the primary question answered
by each approach:
is going to happen with my product or process parameters?"
change(s) should be made to move my product or process to the
next position on a specific pre-determined Line of
evolutionary scenario should be selected from an identified
comprehensive set of scenarios to make it a winner?"
theoretical foundation of Directed Evolution includes the following,
postulates based on the history of technological evolution and other
areas of human activity.
1. Patterns of Evolution
As they evolve, most man-made systems follow predetermined patterns
rather than representing a collection of random events. A study of the
history of various systems reveals these patterns and allows for the
pro-active design of tomorrow's systems today. A strategy that utilizes
the various steps along a given Line of Evolution can maximize profit
and maintain market leadership.
first of the eight Patterns of Evolution (listed earlier), entitled
"Stages of Evolution," can be represented by the classic
s-curve (Figure 1), which illustrates the life cycle stages of infancy,
growth, maturity and decline.
illustrate how the s-curve can be used, consider the characteristic of
airplane speed with respect to the development of the airplane.
According to the s-curve, a new concept should have been introduced
before 1930 (Figure 2). Looking at several related curves on a single
graph allows us to plot the position of a current design in order to
predict development before it takes place. Understanding the pattern
entitled "Non-Uniform Development of System Elements" explains
why aircraft industry designers were short-sighted in continuing to
develop the engine while ignoring the airframe.
total life cycle of a system is composed of several s-curves. Continued
success of a product or process is sustained when new systems are
incorporated during the growth of the existing system (Figure 3).
2. Market-driven Evolution
Most existing man-made systems evolve to satisfy customer needs. The
customer wants a design with more functionality and quality but with a
reduced price and fewer harmful effects. This means that the natural
evolution of a system is one toward increasing ideality (as
stated in the second Pattern of Evolution). Ideality is defined as
I = Degree of Ideality
U = Sum of useful functions
H = Sum of all harmful effects, including cost/pollution
System evolution is a function of society's judgment of what is useful
and what is harmful, and the perception of what is useful and what is
harmful can change as place, time and circumstances change.
Postulate 3. Evolution at Expense of Resources
A system's evolution consumes resources existing in the system itself,
its neighboring systems, and/or the system environment. Each
evolutionary step requires new resources that may in turn be used for
The initial stages of evolution use simple, obvious and
easily-accessible resources. Complex, derivative and hidden resources
are incorporated later.
New generations of products or processes usually appear when new types
of resources are discovered (frequently, resources of material
Postulate 4. Overall System's Priority for
A system's short-term evolution (or improvement) usually depends on the
system's inherent resources. A forecast based on the given system's
trends and expert opinions is adequate for most decisions. Long-term
development, including emerging new generations, breakthrough, etc.,
depends on the evolution of the overall technology and/or market rather
than on the given system's features and resources.
The general Patterns/Lines of Evolution are used to structure and
organize all of humankind's accumulated knowledge.
Postulate 5. Alternatives in Evolution
The current system has more than one (but not many) fairly equal ways to
evolve to the next step, based upon different resources. The most
competitive system is usually the first one introduced, thus attracting
the majority of financial and human resources. If a solution has never
been found for a specific problem that does not mean a solution will be
found using the Ideation TRIZ methodology. Nor does the development of
at least one solution to a given problem preclude the likelihood that
TRIZ methodology will help identify others that should be analyzed so
that the best solution will selected.
It should be noted here that any single patented solution can be
circumvented. However, it is possible to collect an exhaustive set of
solution concepts by involving various resources existing in the given
system and/or its environment so that a strong patent fence can be
created around a specific area of technology.
on patents and other available information, study the history of a given
system to understand how it has evolved. Identify the system's current
position on all known and applicable Lines of Evolution.
specialized Lines of Evolution for the given system based on 1) All
applicable known universal and general Lines, and 2) Applicable
specialized lines known for similar systems.
2.Identify Technological Capabilities for Evolution
missing and possible future steps in the Line of Evolution.
what innovations are necessary for development of the technological
capabilities needed for these future steps by the formulating problems
that must be solved.
Identify Market Input
potential customers and their expectations.
potential directions for the technology.
the directions that meet market exceptions.
Plan and Implement
a schedule for research, marketing, development and implementation of
selected ideas including:
- Apply knowledge-based tools for the purpose of developing solutions to
- Applied to identify and avoid potential dangers associated with a
selected reaction, as well as problem formulation and solution
Evolution is an ongoing process. The evolution of a system should be monitored
in order to incorporate emerging technologies and materials that offer
improvements. Directed Evolution is a way to control the destiny of a product,
technology, process or organization.
website only covers basics of marketing. To get more information and
self-training, we can recommend the following literature:
of New Materials for a Global Economy
the Chasm : Marketing and Selling High-Tech Products to Mainstream Customers
by Geoffrey A. Moore, Regis McKenna (August 1999)
to Create Interest Evoking, Sales-Inducing, Non-Irritating Advertising (Haworth
Marketing Resources : Innovations in Practice & Professional Serv)
by Walter Weir, Gordon Miracle (January 1996)
in Marketing (Cim Professional Development Series)
by Susan Bridgewater(Editor), et al. (November 1999)
Global Innovation : Uncovering the Secrets of Future Competitiveness
by Roman Boutellier, et al. (May 2000)
New Technology Development (McGraw-Hill Engineering and Technology Management
by Wm. E. Souder, et al. (January 1994)
the Unknown : Developing Market Strategies for Technical Innovations
by Paul Millier (June 23, 1999)
Business Solutions : Direct Marketing and Customer Management
by Douglas Gantenbein (June 1999)
Technology Transfer System : Inventions - Marketing - Licensing - Patenting -
Setting - Practice - Management - Policy
by Albert E. Muir (August 1997)