Ideas to Help Inventors
Being an inventor is easy. Turning an idea into a product is difficult, especially if you want the legal protection of a patent. The essence of inventing is to identify and solve a problem, and the connection here is, I hope, obvious.
Proving you had a certain idea at a certain time can be essential to establishing ownership of the idea. The conventional way to keep track of original ideas is the inventor's notebook, which usually takes the form of a bound book with serialized pages. The inventor fills out and dates each page. It would be difficult, but not impossible, to forge such a book. An electronic notebook would normally be much easier to forge, and therefore less valuable for proving ownership of intellectual property. I propose a software application that uses a strong cryptographic hash function to uniquely identify each separate "page," and an independent remote computer service that can associate the page's hash code and the current date with an unforgeable digital signature.
There's another service opportunity for inventors. Like the previous idea, it's a lot more valuable than these outfits that claim to evaluate your invention and market it for youstay away from them. I've also seen companies that maintain big databases of patents and other prior art, and they are valuable, but they don't go far enough.What really defines an invention is the components involved and the relationship among them... so what we need is a relational database that comprehends every kind of component ever used in an invention, and every kind of relationship between them, and makes this immense amount of data accessible and searchable.
Ever have a good idea in the shower? I have. I even have a small white board mounted high up on the wall, right up against the ceiling, in my shower so I have somewhere to scribble down these ideas before they get away. This isn't a very practical idea unless you're well over six feet tall like I am. A more useful way to record ideas would be a waterproof voice-memo recorder. Call it "Notes On A Rope." :-)
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