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Book Review
By George Mouzakis

Quantum Inventing

By Stephen Malak –Registered Patent Attorney

This book augments a talk presented by the author at our last TBIC meeting in Tampa this year.

The book's premise is that random inventing is no longer the optimum path to a successful invention. Mr. Malak comes to this conclusion after spending a career in activities relating to the patent process. Mr. Malak served as the invention gatekeeper for several companies. Discussed in his book as well as his talk was the fact that in the course of his career he encountered somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 inventions of which only two were ultimately licensed - one with a handshake.

Random inventing can best be described as an inventor wandering upon a product for which he can see one or more substantial improvements in either its value to the end-user or to the manufacturer/licensee (cost reduction). This form of inventing is that experienced by a majority of our members.

Mr. Malak also reminds us of an oft overlooked point: the invention’s customer is the company licensing it - NOT the End User! You must convince the licensee of the value of the patent-it is they who concern themselves with the End User.

The author’s centerpiece - quantum inventing – his vision of 21st century inventing – is one which attempts to discover inventions that are likely to be relevant because they will be current and represent a work around of an existing patent currently being actively licensed or manufactured. They will be current because they result from searching for active patents within active companies  - presumably generating a profit and thus on management's radar. The company will be interested in them because they represent workarounds of current patents that can be ignored only at the company's peril: for example you can imply that if the current company is not interested in working with you, you have no qualms contacting competitors.

Mr. Malak's use of the term quantum to describe inventing arises from that premise in quantum theory that elements are in an indeterminate state until measured. In a simple example two particles are generated in a collision: one will have an up spin and the other a down Neither particle has an up or down spin until it is measured at which point the other particle will now instantly become the complementary spin. His analogy is an inventor looking backwards and forwards until he determines the nature of this invention at which point it becomes defined.

Also useful, even for those of us having a random invention we are working on is the DA (Design Around) Prompt Chart in the Appendices which can be used to discover workarounds of your contemplated patent which you can use – perhaps with the help of a patent attorney who has not lived and breathed your invention and so can use the help – to make your claims more complete. Alternatively you can use this checklist to perform Quantum Inventing as the author recommends: it is an effective tool in finding gaps in active patents being utilized by successful companies. A larger four color version of the DA Checklist is available at http://www.inventioncalculus.com.

Mr. Malak can be contacted at www.powerinventing.com

It’s a short read and you can’t help but pick up a few pointers worth more than the price of the book.


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