1 An Example of a World Class Patent Strategy at General Electric

GE uses a very powerful "standard optimizing procedure" in preparation for filing a patent: A brief patent disclosure is circulated within the company before any formal patent application is prepared. Everyone is invited to find ways to improve upon, extend or "break" the patent. All the relevant ideas are then incorporated into the formal patent application(s) and all contributors become co-inventors. There are many important advantages to this approach:

It results in more "industrial strength patents" that are more valuable, more comprehensive, more likely to stand up in court and hence more profitable than the initial submission.

If a new product results from the patent, it will have more "parents" or "champions" eager to work, fight and solve problems to ensure its ultimate success. The increased communication and critical reviews may result in radical new approaches and solutions to the problem.

The review process encourages more people in the company to be aware, supportive and active in the patent process.


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