R & D Boost
In order to invent the future, and not continually redevelop the past, there must be a history, or archive, that can be consulted to determine what is, in fact, new, and to then separate new from old. The patent files are this historical archive.
Further, there must be a mechanism for comparing the shortcomings of one technology or idea with another. The information contained in patents commonly compares and evaluates prior technologies, which can be of enormous assistance to a reviewer making a comprehensive assessment of the technology. That information, when combined with sales and marketing information gleaned from customer contacts, helps a company to better evaluate the potential worth of new products and technologies. Of particular importance, the patent and sales information work hand-in-hand to exponentially create new opportunities for a company.
Finally, there must be a vehicle for getting the latest developments in "feeder technologies" into the hands of the inventors, so that they can be the first to apply these new developments to your industry.
Awareness of these new developments is provided through periodic delivery of abstracts of the latest patents gathered from carefully selected technology areas, and from full patent copies that either we or the inventors locate or request.
To describe this another way, picture a great salesman, who is in tune with the needs of his customer. Imagine the disappointment of the customer if the solution that the salesman presents to the customer is one that the customer has already tried, that flopped. The customer will be less likely to consult the salesman in the future. If, instead, the salesman presents the customer with a solution that overcomes the limitations of older technologies, and the salesman is able to articulate both the limitations of other solutions that competitors might propose and the benefits of this new solution, the customer will be much more likely to purchase the solution, and will also be much more likely to consult the salesman the next time there is a need that their current knowledge and products cannot meet. Consequently, the knowledgeable leader in an industry will be consulted far more often for a solution to a problem than a copycat. Being recognized as innovative attracts additional opportunities to be innovative and invent the next product that customers want.
"If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." - Lewis Carroll
When a customer, salesman, marketing department or other employee identifies a need, and when there is not an off-the-shelf solution, the company needs direction. The temptation is to rush off to the work bench, and design a solution without any direction. Absent any direction, a company can try many avenues before finding one with merit in the marketplace.
"Those who do not know history are destined to repeat it." - Edmund Burke
Like maps and a compass for a ship floating aimlessly in the ocean, patents will help the company by identifying within the patents why one solution or another has, at least heretofore, been ineffective. The challenge, of course, is knowing whether an invention represents the future or, instead, re-creates that which has been done before. Many ideas have already been tried, and, more literally, many millions have been patented. The sheer quantity of patents far exceeds the memory capacity of an individual or company. Consequently, many of the concepts that the employee will try at his work bench or desk will already have been tried. Why waste resources reliving history?