After listening to a fascinating interview of double-amputee Scott Rigsby on IM Talk, I began thinking about the world of prosthetics and how it relates to my career in patents. With nearly all medical devices, intellectual property protection can often be a divisive topic. On the one hand, some argue that patents are necessary to create incentives to development of new products: research, design, and construction of new medical devices aren’t cheap. On the other hand, some argue that patents limit access to new medical devices for those who can’t afford to pay the premiums through which medical companies recoup their costs and profit. Scott noted that in the recent Hawaii Ironman Championships, he had to have $90,000 in equipment to compete. One organization, The Open Prosthetics Project, is attempting to remove some of the expenditure obstacles by encouraging open-source design of prosthetics. It hosts a worthy site at which to spend some time and consideration.
Tag: Open Source
I blogged about open-source solutions a bit ago, and it looks like the open-source / crowdsourcing / community-based design approach is being applied again. GE is soliciting ideas from the public for their next ad campaign. Another example of leveraging the public while at the same time getting an extra PR announcement out there.
Applications of open-source theories of cooperation and development are popping up all over the place.
In veiled product R&D, Coca Cola now offers a self-serve soda fountain – the Freestyle – where users can mix hundreds of different flavors to concoct their own favorite beverage. You can bet that the results and statistics are being whisked back to Atlanta for analysis and possible product development. Why spend so much money on guessing what the public wants when the public can just tell you?
Boston has adopted the open source movement by capturing and redirecting its residents’ willingness to complain. An iPhone app called Citizens Connect allows Bostonians to report a public blight by snapping a picture. The picture, along with coordinates of the location, are sent to City Hall and logged with the public works department.
It makes me wonder whether an open-source invention could ever be possible, or whether it would require a total re-work of the patent system. Could there be a Creative Commons for patent development? Or an invention wiki that allows people to create, post, add to, modify, and improve an innovative work?
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- I'm Tom Galvani, a patent> and trademark lawyer in Phoenix, Arizona. I help inventors, entrepreneurs, and businesses develop and control their intellectual property. I host this site and the blog on it to give you an idea of the services I provide and to keep you updated on current developments and helpful information related to patents, trademarks, and copyright. Legal and Disclaimer
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