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Meet jStart's Master Inventors

Return to Page 1 | We continue our look at jStart's two Master Inventors, how they got involved with the patent process at IBM, and how jStart leverages their expertise to maintain it's technological edge.

By: Chris "Spence" Spencer

Innovating beyond work

What has been interesting is the change in mindset that Nick referred to often carries outside of work. John, for instance, was inspired by his son to invent a device that helps people who have difficulty reading the facial expressions and emotions of others. "Many people who exhibit certain aspects of high functioning autism, which according to the Autism Society is the 'fastest growing developmental disability', could be helped with by this device," John noted. "And it's the invention I'm most proud of." Another example? In using his smart phone, Nick became annoyed with the requirement to type in a password whenever he had to access it. "'Why does this have to be such a pain?', I asked myself. And as I thought about how you could authenticate in a more intuitive way, I rapidly realized that the solution would be a great candidate for a patent," Nick recounted. "That's just another example of how an every day annoyance can lead to an innovation."

How to get started

Both John and Nick agree that for someone interested in getting started with patents, it really is just a matter of thinking about the challenges you face every day, and novel or unique ways of solving those challenges. "Make inventing a habit," John said. "When you observe something notable, interesting, or annoying, write it down. When you read an article that spawns an idea, write it down. Then work on developing those ideas and identifying aspects that are novel." John also suggests that it's incredibly helpful to find a mentor to team up with--"someone who's done this before can help you understand the process and guide you as you develop ideas. They can also help you focus on the proper things which lead to quality disclosures."

"All of us are inventors...all of us face puzzles and challenges in our daily lives. The opportunity lies in how we solve those challenges, and recognizing that those solutions may actually be pretty valuable."

- Nick Poore
jStart Master Inventor

Following that mental thread, Nick also suggested that "all of us are inventors...all of us face puzzles and challenges in our daily lives. The opportunity lies in how we solve those challenges, and recognizing that those solutions may actually be pretty valuable." What's interesting is that both suggest that anyone can come up with a patentable idea--there's no special sauce required. Some things that might help, however, are being able to understand what makes for a good patentable idea, and how to capture that concept in a patentable way.

At the end of the day, John and Nick through their work with patents, illustrate how innovation isn't just a marketing buzzword--'innovation implemented' results in real, tangible benefit. Afterall, according to IBM Research, patents generate about $1 billion annually for the company. For jStart, however, patents are just another way of demonstrating the creative thinking that we exercise daily with our clients--and how both the client and jStart realize real benefit from that collaboration. Solutions do start at jStart--but for the vast majority of them, it's just the beginning of their story.

jStart's Master Inventors


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