For this Community Spotlight, we are in Bavaria, Germany, to meet with Robert Klinski, the MD of the Munich-based IP law firm, Patentship. Robert is internationally recognised by IAM 300 as one of the world’s leading IP Strategists, rated by the FT as a leading EU patent attorney for 2019 & 2021, a serial inventor, author and speaker.
RH – Good to see you Robert - tell us about invention harvesting, one of your newest ventures.
RK – We are in a world of digital transformation with new tech such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and 5G to the fore. However, most large companies’ R&D departments invent incrementally, improving existing technologies, or do not go near software implementations as there is a perception in the EU at least, that such digital innovation is non-patentable. Engineers will try to find faster, lighter, more stable, more scalable improvements to existing technologies. E.g. Look at how the internal combustion engine has evolved.
RH – Is there something wrong with this approach?
RK – Wrong is a subjective term. However, we come at the problem from a different perspective. Rather than improve the existing, we say what does the market need, where is there a gap? Consider that in mobile networks, existing 4G (LTE) tech is being widely used by 5G networks but even though the underlying infrastructure may be the same, the way you design the network to carry out a specific task – let’s call it a ‘network slice’ is fundamentally different. You can scale up or scale down depending on the service. For example, the speed and quality of the connection required for a voice call and that demanded by an autonomous vehicle navigating a city street are very different.
These ‘network slices’ are becoming one of the most highly sought after, and potentially lucrative sources of patents. There will often be a lack of prior art in this area, you may be concerned that no patents will be granted on any software. However, we have proven that thinking about innovation this way, we can chart a course that satisfies the disruptive demands of the market and meets the criteria for patentability.
We use a defined process: First clearly set out the challenge for your market, the gap, the need. Second, define the technical problem. Third, set your developers/engineers loose on innovation creation. We are bridging the gap between SME’s/innovators and the patent systems.
RH – It’s a lot to take in Robert. As always, I guess the proof of a new approach comes from the results. How is it going?
RK- I will give you one recent example working with a mobile operator. Using this approach we harvested more than 80 inventions which resulted in more than 50 patent applications, over which more than half have already been granted. I think that shows something.
RH – As always Robert is has been a pleasure catching up. Many thanks.