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Patent harvesting versus mandated innovation

By David J. French

The expression “patent harvesting” has surfaced in management jargon. These words invoke a scenario wherein corporate management looks under the carpet, so to speak, to see if somewhere in their organization the staff have generated good ideas that are worth patenting.

However, corporate management philosophy has also introduced the further concept of “mandated innovation.” According to this latter concept, a corporation, instead of waiting for inventions to surface from within the organization, actively analyzes the kinds of innovations that would advance corporate plans for the future. A mandate is then issued to technical staff to generate the details necessary to support such innovations.

In both cases, the corporation hopes to obtain patent protection for ideas and innovations which will have real market impact and add further profit to the bottom line.

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