Invent Anything™ with John Cronin. In this series, John shares insights relating to invention, creativity, and intellectual property collected over 17 years at IBM (becoming its top inventor with over 100 patents and 150 patent publications) and 23 years as managing director of ipCapital Group (working with over 800 companies and approximately 15% of the Fortune 500, hundreds of mid-size companies and hundreds of startups and governmental laboratories).
Here are just a few of the topics covered in this show:
- How to create inventions that are new, useful, and non-obvious
- Using creativity tools to solve problems in business and innovation
- Ways to build or strengthen an intellectual property portfolio strategically
- Why you want to keep patents and trade secrets as an employee, manager, or executive
- Generating value from your IP through licensing, sale, fundraising, asset-based lending, and acquisitions
- How to create a culture of innovation at your company
- Current Events related to invention and intellectual property
- And much more
New in 2022! Invent Anything™ Presents: Inventors At Work.
In this series, John interviews the world’s greatest living inventors to uncovered the stories and lessons that lead to their innovative ideas. Find out more here.
If you’re an inventor interested in becoming a guest on Inventors At Work, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Invent Anything with John Cronin | Episode Guide
Episode 1 – Invention, Creativity, and Intellectual Property
TUES., FEB 16, 2021 – In the introductory episode, John discusses his background, topics that will be covered in future episodes, and his motivations for starting the series. Also discussed are different points of view on IP issues, from the employees, managers, executives, and IP attorneys. You can also read the transcript here.
Episode 2 – The Fundamentals of Creativity for Invention
TUES., FEB 23, 2021 – In this episode, John explains the fundamental ideas that underpin any creative process. Topics discussed include:
- Types of creative motivation (extrinsic and intrinsic),
- The effect of limitations and freedom,
- Self-assessment of creativity,
- How to become more creative,
- How to motivate others to be more creative,
- And much more…
You can also read the transcript here.
Episode 3 – Types of Creativity: Divergent and Convergent
TUES., MAR 2, 2021 – In the third installment, John discusses two major types of creativity: divergent and convergent. Divergent creativity is the process of creating a variety of many new ideas. Convergent creativity is the process of narrowing down the list to a few valuable ideas. Additional topics discussed in this episode:
- Alex Osborn and brainstorming
- Tony Buzan and mind maps
- Guidelines for Divergent and Convert creativity
- Management styles that may kill creativity
- Creativity tools for individuals, groups, and ‘secret facilitators’
- Differences in creativity for introverts and extroverts
- and much more…
You can also read the transcript here.
Some of this material, including the divergent/convergent guidelines, was inspired by the work of others, see links below:
Patent Infringement – Strategy
TUES., MARCH 9, 2021 – John takes on the difficult topic of what you should do when you learn you are violating a competitors patent. Patent infringement is a major threat to a business. Delving into 5 Areas of concern with 20 actions you can take to be prepared for a patent infringement lawsuit. Learn what you can do to sleep better at night, avoid willful infringement, challenge the patent, protect the future of your business, and get ready for war in the courtroom. Read the transcript here.
Episode 4 – Types of Creativity: Associative Thinking
TUES., MARCH 16, 2021 – Associative thinking is one of the most power creative tools for inventors. By combining different objects, ideas, and methods, new inventions can be made by making novel connections with your mind. In this episode, John provides detailed examples and several tools you can use to unleash the power of associative thinking. Some of these tools can be used like games, fun for kids and adults. Other tools might help you determine what type of stimulus makes you more creative. Read the transcript here.
Episode 5 – Types of Creativity: Continuous Improvement
TUES., MARCH 23, 2021 – How can you take an invention from the early idea stage to something that will work and have value? In this episode, John discusses many tools that can be used for continuous improvement thinking. By using a methodological approach to identify areas where an invention needs improvement, teams and individuals can use several tools to continuously improve ideas.
- Tool 1 – Action, Owner, Date
- Tool 2 – Input / Output
- Tool 3 – Brain Writing
- Tool 4 – S.C.A.M.P.E.R.
- Tool 5 – Opposites
By mastering these tools, you can take any idea to the next level with many improvements.
Episode 6 – Enablement for Patents and Intellectual Property
TUES., MARCH 30, 2021 – In this episode, John discusses the technical details behind the process of ‘enablement’ – taking the invention from the conceptual stage to describing how it will work in practice. Topics covered include the many perspectives – from manager buy-in, to patent attorneys and patent examiners. In the conclusion, John discusses enablement in terms of an actual patent for a practical example.
For more information see: http://ipcg.com/blog
Episode 7 – What is a Patent (and what can it do for you)
TUES., APRIL 6, 2021 – If you’ve ever wondered what a patent really is, the rights that it gives you, and what they mean for your business, you’re in the right place. John discusses why patents are a ‘negative right’, dispels some common patent myths, and explains the true value of patents to individuals and businesses.
Episode 8 – How to Get a Patent On Your Invention
WED., MAY 12, 2021 – In this episode, John discusses how to get a patent on your invention. This episode covers everything you need to know to get your first patent. You’ll learn how to choose a patent attorney or a patent agent, how to prepare you invention for patent documentation, how to ensure your application will be granted, and how to get the most out of your investment in intellectual property. Additional topics in this episode include:
- Patent trapdoors – what can go wrong when you file for a patent?
- Office actions – Working with your patent attorney to answer rejections from the examiner
- Continuations and divisional patent applications – decisions to make when you receive a notice of allowance
- Patent filing fees – how to get the most out of your IP budget
Episode 9 – How to raise money and increase valuation using IP
THU., MAY 20, 2021 – In this episode, we will discuss raising more money at a higher valuation using intellectual property. CEOs, founders, CTOs, etc. who are considering raising money may consider using a unique strategy of leveraging IP to tell a better story to investors. We will discuss the meaning of intellectual property followed by the six ways to monetize intellectual property. We will answer the following questions related to IP and fundraising:
- How to determine the value of your IP?
- Why do investors consider IP valuable?
- Why should I invest in patents as the CEO?
- How to assess your current IP position?
- How can you expand your IP positions beyond that so investors can take notice?
- How many patents do you need?
- How to tell investors an IP story to help me raise money?
Episode 10 – 6 Ways of Making Money with Patents
TUE., MAY 25, 2021 – In this episode, we will learn the six ways to make money with patents. Patents are expensive to obtain, and many inventors and executives want to maximize their ROI from intellectual property. Depending on your situation, one or more specific approaches to earning income from your patents may be appropriate. We will reveal novel strategies to help you get the most out of your patent portfolio with several paths to monetization. These paths include:
- How to get more money out of gross margins
- Enhancing brand value and marketing using patents
- Contractual Value and Transaction Leverage
- How to price in the value of IP into the stock of your company
Episode 11 – Using Trade Secrets to Create Tremendous Value
In this episode, John unveils the power of trade secrets for your business. This episode answers questions like: what are trade secrets? How do you protect trade secrets? How to leverage trade secrets in business? And even, how to create new trade secrets for your business.
The topic areas include:
- Defining Trade Secrets
- How to protect trade secrets
- Inventing Trade secrets for value
- Patent part and trade secret part
- Trade Secret Audit
- Trade Secrets and the Courts
- Trade Secrets, Blockchain, and cyber security
Episode 12 – The Secret Weapon of IP: Enabled Publications
History of Enabled Publications
Definition of Enabled Publications
How Enabled Publications are different from other publications
Documenting Enabled Publications
IP Strategies using Enabled Publications
The Future of Enabled Publications
Episode 13 – Invention vs. Innovation: What’s the Difference?
Invention is the key tool driving innovation. In this episode, John provides a clear differentiation of invention and innovation that, once understood, could transform your business. Very few people understand this critical distinction. Why do innovation programs fail, even when they are well funded? What is the missing link between invention and innovation that can drive major breakthroughs in technology? This episode is perfect for managers who drive invention and innovation in their companies. Topics covered in this episode also include:
- Why is this discussion even needed?
- How companies struggle with innovation
- Tools & Processes of Innovation
- Invention Definition
- Why companies struggle with invention
- Invention Tools &Processes
- Invention is the Key Tool Set of Innovation
Episode 14 – Avoid Patent Infringement with Freedom to Operate
In this episode, we’ll cover freedom to operate (FTO), what it is and the many strategies that you can use to gain leverage for your company. Learn secrets very few companies know, and more importantly, learn how to protect your company from patent lawsuits. FTO will also let you know more about your competitor to build better products and services at very low costs. Topics covered in this episode include:
- What is freedom to operate?
- What are the next steps if there is an FTO risk?
- Things that you can do if there is FTO risk. What are the tactics you can use?
- How can you leverage FTO in your company?
- How to build what you learn from FTO into your product development or IP strategy
- The future of FTO
Episode 15 – Evidence of Use: Detecting Patent Infringement
In this episode, John discusses when patent owners should consider getting an ‘Evidence of Use’ (EoU) opinion. Evidence of use is a process of collecting material evidence that an outside party may be practicing the technology claimed in a patent. We will cover:
- What is Evidence of Use (EoU)
- How Can EoU leverage your company
- EoU secrets only the experts know
- How to Monetize Patents with EoU
- Avoid pitfalls with EoU
- Know more about your competitor and their products with EoU
Episode 16 – Teaching the World to Invent – An Interview with John Cronin and Mark Alyn Part 1
In this special episode, Mark Alyn joins host John Cronin in an interview format. They discuss John’s background that lead to a career as an inventor, starting from childhood to becoming the top inventor at IBM, to founding ipCapital Group. Further, John and Mark discuss the process of invention, that starts with a problem that needs to be solved by a creative idea. Eventually, with the right tools that creative idea can become an invention, and that invention can become a patent. This episode is great for anyone who wants an overview of the creative process that can lead to innovations in technology and business.
Episode 17 – Should Corporations Keep Inventing?
Part 2 of Mark Alyn’s Interview with John Cronin, see part 1 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEYgu… In this episode, John recalls building a “patent factory” during his tenure with IBM as an semiconductor engineer in the technology development department. This allowed him to become to top inventor at IBM and helped IP licensing at IBM grow to over a billion dollars a year in revenue. Next, John and Mark discuss the question, “Do corporations need to continue to invent?” It may seem obvious that the definitive answer is “Yes.” John discusses various businesses needs and environments that drive the need for invention, and the types of creative strategies you might use to fill those needs. Also discussed in this Episode: The difference between invention and innovation Incremental invention versus breakthrough inventions First movers and fast followers Ad hoc invention processes and why they don’t work Inventor recognition Building a culture for creativity and invention How AI is changing intellectual property
Episode 18 – How Much is a Patent Worth?
In this episode, we will discuss how to figure out how much a patent is worth. This episode will cover six topics relating to patent valuation.
Topic 1 – What is a patent valuation?
Topic 2 – how are valuations used in transactions like patent licensing?
Topic 3 – How patent owners without a business can leverage patent valuation
Topic 4 – How a patent owner in an early-stage business can leverage a patent valuation
Topic 5 – How do you increase the valuation of your patents?
Topic 6 – Use a patent valuation to determine your future IP strategy Join John to learn about what a patent valuation is and the basic principles of how it’s used and, most important, how you can use it for licensing to make money.
Episode 19 – How to Make Money with Patents
In this episode, John discusses the many ways of monetizing – or making money with – a patent portfolio. To be successful with a patent monetization strategy you’ll need a systematic approach. John speaks from decades of experience in intellectual property deals and licensing with ipCapital Group and while at IBM.
The topic areas for this episode include:
1 – How to find out who to sell or license your patents
2 – How to prepare for a patent sale – getting your house in order
3 – The Market Pull method
4 – The Market Push method
5 – Starting and Supporting a patent monetization campaign
6 – Patent negotiations and closing a deal
Episode 20 – IP Due Diligence to Enhance Company Value
Due Diligence on a company’s intellectual property can become the cornerstone of valuing a business for investment & fundraising as well as mergers & acquisitions. However, without the right strategy, many companies stumble on this crucial step. In this episode, we will cover everything you need to know to get started on your IP Due Diligence journey. We will answer: Why is it done? Who want’s it done? What is the process? What are the potential outcomes? Most importantly, we will explain how to leverage IP Due Diligence to enhance the value of the company.
The topic areas of this episode include:
- What are the types of due diligence a business may undergo? Where does IP Due Diligence fit in?
- What is an IP Due Diligence?
- What is the company’s point of view in an IP Due Diligence?
- What is the investor or acquirer’s point of view in an IP Due Diligence?
- What happens if IP Due Diligence reveals problems?
- How IP Due Diligence can affect other areas of business.
Episode 21 – IP Strategy for Businesses and Inventors
In this episode, John will teach you the basics of Intellectual property (IP) strategy and intellectual asset management. By leveraging data, best practices, and game-winning strategy throughout your process, IP strategy can leverage your business unlike any other type of asset. The topics covered in today’s episode include:
- The definition of IP strategy
- IP strategy at different corporate levels
- Data and analysis for IP strategy
- Intellectual asset management processes
- Documenting IP strategically (Patents, Trade Secrets, and Publications)
- Small vs. Large Companies
Episode 22 – Prior Art For Invention: The Journey You Should Start Packing For
In this episode, John discusses important issues surrounding prior art from many perspectives: not just how the patent office views prior art, but how to understand how prior art impacts inventors and businesses. With a strategic understanding of the prior art in a technology space, businesses can leverage their knowledge of prior art for a competitive advantage, instead of fearing it will prevent them from getting a patent, or worse, reducing their freedom to operate. The topic areas of this episode include:
- Definition of Prior Art and why should we talk about it?
- Methods of finding Prior Art and why you need expertise
- Prior Art and the Patent Office
- Strategies for using Prior Art for leverage
- Prior Art and Inventing
- The Future or Prior Art – some predictions
Episode 23 – What to do when your patent is infringed?
What do you do when you find out your patent is being infringed? Many companies with sizeable or even small but important patent portfolios have asked themselves this very question. In this episode of Invent Anything, John answers many of the common questions that patent owners have when they think some one is using their invention illegally. The six topics of this episode include:
1 – Evidence that your patent is being infringed
2 – Patent Valuation and Risk Assessment, Licensing Damages
3 – Size the problem
4 – Control all communications
5 – various response and approaches to combatting infringement
6 – Other points of interest
Episode 24 – Telling Your IP Story to Investors and the Market
Developing intellectual property can be difficult and costly, so how do you communicate the value that IP offers to a business and market? While data and analysis can be important technical tools, it is much easier for most busy investors and executives to believe a compelling story. In this episode, John will teach you how to tell your IP Story to get the most value out of your intellectual property, like patents and trade secrets.
Topics in this Episode include:
1 – What is an IP Story?
2 – What types of IP are used in the story?
3 – Tying your IP to Business, Market, Technology, and Inventions
4 – Creating the IP Story for different audiences
5 – How to Use the IP Story for Business Value
6 – Other Benefits of the IP Story
Episode 25 – How to Write Provisional Patent Applications
In today’s episode, John discusses the process to create a power intellectual property tool: provisional patent applications. Provisional applications can be leveraged in many and offer strategic advantages to businesses and inventors. The topics in today’s episode include:
1 – What is a Provisional Application?
2 – Types of Provisional Applications
3 – Strategic Uses of Provisional Applications
4 – How Provisional Applications Can Provide Unique Leverage
5 – Provisional Applications for Medium and Large-sized Companies
6 – Provisional Applications for Small Companies
Episode 26 – Does Your Business Need Intellectual Property?
Episode 27 – How to Stop Copycats from Using Your IP
In today’s episode, John will teach you how to deal with copycat companies and win the war against IP infringement. If you’ve invested time and money into your technology, the last thing you want is another company profiting off your hard-earned developments. Whether you need to prepare for this possibility, or arm yourself to deal with copycat issues immediately, this episode will give you the tools to succeed. The topics in this episode are:
1 – Definition of a Copycat
2 – Analyze Your Market Approach
3 – Inventive Thinking to Stop Copycats
4 – Creative Vigilance to Watch for Copycats
5 – Preparing for Copycats
6 – Actions Against Copycats
Episode 28 How to Invent Around Any Patent or Technology
Is there a patent stopping your business from moving forward or increasing market share? Do you have a new technology or patent that you think will be valuable, but you’re worried your competitors might be able to figure out how to get the same benefits without you? The magic of inventing around patents is for you. Any patent can be invented around, either to avoid needing a license to a patent or infringing on a patent, or to strengthen your own portfolio so that its harder for competitors to get around you. In this episode we will cover six topics
1 – What is inventing around and why you should do it
2 – The Ad Hoc method of inventing around and its limitations
3 – The Invent Around Checklist
4 – Examples of invent around
5 – Strategies for using an invent around process
6 – The future of invent around
Episode 29 Unlock Hidden Intellectual Property with the ipScan
Do you work with an innovative team, but can’t seem to figure out how why they never produce any IP, like patents and trade secrets? Many inventors have lots of great ideas but seem to have trouble getting them out of their head, on to paper, and filed with the patent office. The ipScan is here to help. The ipScan has been used for over 25 years extract the unlock the hidden value in inventive teams.
This episode covers six topics:
1 – The history of invention extraction
2 – Formal invention extraction techniques
3 – Strategies for using the ipScan, what you get from a formal IP extraction process
4 – Difference between ipScan and brainstorming
5 – How an ipScan is set up, executed, what the results look like, and benefits
6 – Future of ipScan, using artificial intelligence
Episode 30 The IP Landscape: Know Your Business
To truly know your business, you need to understand your IP Landscape. How does your business, market, product, and technology fit into the world’s intellectual property system? Find out in today’s episode. The topic areas for this episode include:
1. The History of Patent Mapping
2. How the IP Landscape Method Evolved
3. The IP Landscape Framework
4. Analyzing Patent Data with the IP Landscape
5. The Many Uses of the IP Landscape
6. The Future of the IP Landscape
Episode 31 IP Analytics: Data-Based Patent Strategy
In this episode, John discusses IP Analytics. Which allows you to use data from the patent office top find unique and valuable insights. IP Analysis can provide new directions for R&D, positioning or your company against (or protecting your company from) a competitor, and increasing the value of your company in a merger or acquisition.
- History of IP Analysis
- How Companies use IP Analysis
- Unique “Business Issues” we have found can be answered with IP Analysis
- Patent Databases, Searching and Caveats
- What level and Type of IP Analysis is needed
- The Future of IP Analysis