Google Patent

December 15, 2006 · Posted in abundance, economics, innovation · Comment 

The second I read about Google Patent on ZDnet, I rushed to write this post. Google making patent search easy gives me so much to talk about I can’t possibly cover it all in a single post. This could break open the flood gates of invention and hopefully innovation.

I’ve been talking about Google doing this for several years. The reason I’ve been so interested is the OutCompete method for predicting future innovation. Think about this for a moment. If you had a list of all possible innovations and an easy way to see which ones were already patented you could go down the list and patent the new ones before anyone else did.

Talk about idea factory! This is systematic innovation!

Of course for someone to do this they need the financial resources to file those patents. And to turn it from invention into innovation they need the engineering & marketing capability. Which company has a lot of cash, a bunch of smart people, and the ability to reach a global market? Google! So will they do this? I don’t know. We haven’t shared the OutCompete method with them yet, we would be glad to do so. Since they are opening up a location in Ann Arbor we’ll be neighbors. So, who knows?

What does all of this mean to you? If your company has a specific niche and you want to secure your market or grow a new one you now have some serious tools for doing it.

Its impossible for one company to patent everything, as I said in my last post “Google is an Innovation Amateur“ there are on average 50,625 ways to achieve any goal. That is a whole lot of patents. And how many goals are there? Infinite!

So, you can block off threats to your niche, and quickly generate a series of innovations to ensure your success for many years to come.

When I first learned the OutCompete method I sat down and applied it to a couple of industries, just to see what I came up with. At the time I was working with BitTorrent and trying to figure out new business models so artists could prosper in an environment where file sharing was now impossible to stop.

In a few hours I created about a dozen solutions to the file sharing problem. One of these doubles the artists profits and give them more artistic freedom, pretty cool. I also discovered a serious threat lurking that could completely disrupt Network TV. And it had nothing to do with copyrights. Even better I found a way for Network TV to triple their return on investment.

With a map of every possible innovation it’s easy to find super valuable opportunities. And possibly more important it’s easy to see vulnerabilities while you still have a chance to do something to save yourself.

Action Items

  • Use Google Patent to search for term related to your top product
  • Estimate the cost of loosing your current top product, including needing to replace it
  • Estimate the value of 12 new inventions, including reducing risk from competitors.