In Focus

Brainstorming And Building Patent Portfolios with Ram Viswanathan, IBM Fellow

We had the privilege of hosting Ram Viswanathan, IBM Fellow and Master Inventor for our 7th Speaker Series to discuss the importance of brainstorming and building a patent portfolio for deeptech & emerging tech startups.

Offering a comprehensive perspective on patents and their pivotal role in tech landscape, Mr. Viswanathan began his talk by demystifying patents, explaining that they are legal rights granted to inventors to protect their creations, and illustrating its significance through real-world instances. Delving deeper, he explained the Android’s open-source approach versus Apple’s protected closed network highlighting the balance between open-source and proprietary systems, though the technologies are all patented. He highlighted the pivotal role of open-source software models and underscored the importance of such open-source models in driving innovation.

Mr. Viswanathan articulated about the landscape of patenting and validation varies across geographies, along with sharing his personal experience of patenting innovations in his early days at IBM. From facing early rejections while patenting his innovations to becoming a Master Inventor at IBM and filing around 20 patents, Mr. Viswanathan has patents in areas from computer core processor to sustainability in blockchain.

Drawing from IBM’s rich legacy, Mr. Viswanathan highlighted the company’s culture of innovation and its impact on diverse teams. He also revealed the astounding fact that IBM makes around $2 billion annually in revenue from its patents, mentioning the potential and volumes behind innovative ideas and execution.

Mr. Viswanathan clarified, patents emerge at the crossroads of novelty, ambiguity, and usefulness and provided insights into how these elements intersect to define patentable entities while making a compelling suggestion to the audience to document their ideas and seek feedback by contributing to social landscape, a practice that fosters growth and refinement.

The session concluded on an inspiring note, urging entrepreneurs to believe in their endeavours and build a substantial social eminence rather than having mere social presence along with the message "Be a consumer, but more than that, be an active contributor."

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