How Can IP Help Human Resources

Open Innovation In-house

One company challenged our researchers with a problem-solving project. We brought a patent document describing a solution. They were impressed with the beauty of the solution.

“Wow, this is ideal, it is a pity it is already patented, from who is the patent?“
“It’s yours, your company patented this 7 year ago…”
“Really..? Great, then we can use it!”

How does the company know what the company knows? The patent database is an ideal collection for knowledge retainment. It can occur that researchers are working on the same problem in unconnected departments. An example below analyses the company Alcatel, how different company departments are solving similar problems in different areas.

alcatel-problems

Fig. 1 Formulated problems in Alcatel patents versus different Alcatel companies

For instance, synchronisation problems are tackled in Alcatel Canada by Terrance Martineau et al, in Alcatel Germany by Ulrich Gebhard et al, in Alcatel France by Samuel Dubus et al. Maybe HR could bring this group around the table to have a little conference. That was the best definition I heard for conference; “a group of people with the same problem”.

Acronymitis

The DSM BoD said we need to raise the ROI from the PLA to meet the KPI across all BU in B2B?!?

Acronymitis can be tough the first day on the job. By pooling all DSM (Dutch State Mines) patents, a glossary analysis brings out all company used acronyms as like AG amyloglucosidase, ARA arachidonic acid, BHA butylated hydroxyanisole, etc. and you can start showing off during your next meeting.

DSM-glossary

Fig. 2 Glossary on DSM patents

Headhunting with patents

Where do I find new recruits? Another weapon in the war on talent can be the patent database; you can filter an academic analysis:

Universities-bicycle

Fig. 3 Universities active in the area of “bicycle”

relations-between-australian-companies

Fig. 4 IP relations of Australian Companies

Headhunting for more experienced profiles is another way to do with patents. You can start by searching for companies of a specific country, in this example Australians. By linking all companies in their common patent domains, you find out which companies have research areas close to yours, i.e. have people with the necessary backgrounds. Not surprisingly, the table below shows some inventors that are present in 3 very different companies, Silverbrook being in research, Resmed in Apnoea systems and Cochlear in hearing equipment.

RESMED COCHLEAR SILVERBROOK
MCAULIFFE PATRICK JOHN 48 81
WORBOYS DAVID JOHN 70 53
FOOTE ROGER MERVYN LLOYD 7 56
RAJE MILIND 28 1
MCAULIFFE PATRICK J 11 7

Table 1 Some inventors across of Australian Companies

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