Innovator’s Ideas “Too Valuable to Patent”

Enigma Machine

How can people steal your ideas? They can nab your product and have some geniuses reverse engineer it. Or some “genius” can walk in to the patent office and legally obtain a copy of your innovation.

Irish company, SolarPrint (@SolarPrint), has chosen to stay away from that office and, instead, erect barriers to entry to keep its technology from competitors, according to CEO Mazhar Bari.

Outlining his company’s achievements at the Dublin Investment Summit (@DublinInvest), Bari told how SolarPrint has developed photovoltaic technology that is powered off indoor lighting. Not a bad idea for a country with less sunshine than, say, the Sahara.

But, as Bari pointed out, lots of smaller devices, such as CO2 detectors, can be quickly and cleanly installed if they have an independstealing an idea from someone's headent power source.

Addressing the competitive threat, Bari said SolarPrint is “too valuable to patent.” The company is working to erect barriers to entry instead.

His comments echo those made by David Trevitt at a session on innovation at the Irish Computer Society (@IrishCompSoc) in June 2010. Speaking of ways to protect intellectual property, Trevitt said the Allies spent a lot of time in World War II trying to decrypt the Nazis’ enigma machine. But if they had thought to look in the London Patent Office, they would have found much of the same technology had been filed there in 1937.

Unfortunately, Bari was under time pressure and flew through his slides. So, his strategy on what barriers were being erected is a little unclear at the moment.

Photo of Enigma machine courtesy of Tim Gage on Flickr.

Image courtesy of Scienceheath on Flickr.com

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