Quill & Disc- Protecting Ideas through Patents
More About Being an Innovative Company

There is a continual buzz about ways to improve a business, oftentimes described as "re-inventing the company". The reason so much attention is given to this concept is because of the frequent turn-over of businesses. Looking at the thirty companies that comprise the Dow Jones Industrials, between 1978 and 1990 one of every three issues changed. These companies were changed because a company was in decline, was acquired, went private, or went bankrupt. These are some of the largest companies in the world, and this is only a rather typical thirteen-year period. The economic turmoil of the last few years reminds us that no company is too big to fail, and so steps must be taken within the company to ensure a future in the marketplace.

There are many ways of improving the performance or results of a company. These range from improved management styles to improving employee-based or production processes. Think of the International Standards known as ISO-9001 and 9002, which ensure internal processes and procedures. While these can be useful, even critical to some business, there is a very different but almost always complementary approach.

Business, when you reduce it to simplest form, requires only two things. You need a product or service you can sell, and someone who wants to buy. Consider this in two parts. The first part, having a product or service you can sell, is one that nearly everyone is familiar with. Under current laws, the impact of ignorance of a patent owned by another is severe. Ignorance can lead to court injunctions preventing the infringing company from further production, and can ultimately result in awards of three times the infringer's profits and reasonable attorney's fees. Thus, ignorance of patents can quickly or ultimately result in a product or service that cannot be sold, and the cost of this ignorance on previous occasions has amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars. Clearly, it is important to every innovative company to be aware of relevant patents owned by others.

Next, consider the second part of this simplified business model, which is having someone who wants to buy your product. Relying solely on existing product lines is a certain way to ensure a gloomy future for your company. Over time you will lose your customer base to your competitors.

There are very few products from twenty and thirty years ago that can still attract customers. Even staples, raw materials, and natural resources have required companies producing them to make great advancements in the technologies used to produce these commodities, the creative ways to make use of the by-products, and other similar advancements. In most cases, if you produced these the way they were produced thirty-five years ago, your competitors would have undercut your prices and put you out of business long ago.

In order to preserve and preferably grow your customer base, you can benefit from new products and technologies. Your company may already have a Vice President of Research and Development or a Director of New Products and Technologies. You might even be that person. You look for suggestions, and wait for those special times when an ingenious employee presents you with an idea that seems to have the potential. Isn't that all you need?

There are of course times when that employee suggestion can be very valuable, and can be transformed into gold. But many of the golden ideas employees have may be overlooked, simply because a key player in the company fails to share in recognizing the value. To preserve the best of the company's creativity requires integrated foresight throughout the organization. For this, you can turn to Quill & Disc for an R&D boost that integrates directly with sales, marketing, and patent rights and enforcement.