American ingenuity is often characterized as “make do with what you have.” The idea is to be innovative and adapt to solve problems and improve life for everyone, and it is a hallmark of American innovation.
The heroic age of American startups produced mythic figures such as Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison who created new industries using their inventions, while also achieving great fame. Many large corporations, such as AT&T, DuPont and others, established research and development laboratories where Ph.D. scientists developed breakthrough technologies like long-distance phone, nylon, lasers, microchips, and transistors. All patents were owned by the company. This led to the belief that corporate R&D labs are the source of invention, replacing independent inventors.
The above graph shows that US patents granted individually outnumbered corporate patents until 1933 and account for almost half of all patents from 1950 to 1950. Even though corporations overtook patent activities after 1950, individuals still produce between 10,000 and 15,000 patents per year.
However, this graph is not painting the correct picture. Today’s individual inventors are still alive and well. They now appear as founders of startups cooking up the great unicorn ideas on their computers. Look at Mark Zuckerberg when you browse Facebook, that was a lone inventor with a computer.
“Despite the great mass organizations which compete with him,” Business Week observed in 1929, “the individual, genius type of inventor still holds the field as the most important single source of new ideas. . . . He has a hard fight, but holds his own pretty well against the regimented scientists of industry.” That still rings true today for our startup founders.
If you’ve ever wondered if startup founders patent their ideas, you’re not alone. The patent system is relatively obscure. This article looks at the patents of Jack Dorsey, Google’s Sergey Brin, and uBiome’s Sam Wen. It will provide a basic understanding of how a patent works.
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos
In 1994 Jeff Bezos was working on Wall Street when he began to see the internet revolution take place, and made the decision to quit his job and start an internet company.
“The wake up call was finding this startling statistic that web usage in the spring of 1994 was growing at 2,300 percent a year. You know, things just don’t grow that fast. It’s highly unusual, and that started me about thinking, “What kind of business plan might make sense in the context of that growth?”
Jeff Bezos co-invented the 1-Click ordering system which was patented by Amazon in 1999, when e-commerce was still in its infancy. Originally developed by Amazon, one-click buying has evolved into an integral part of the Amazon checkout process. Since then, the system has been adopted by many e-commerce sites. Many retailers have also licensed the technology. Moreover, many other companies have followed suit, allowing other retailers to adopt it.
The patent protecting Amazon’s one-click ordering system expired on September 11, 2017. This patent, which allows customers to purchase items with just a single click, was secured in 1999 and has helped revolutionize online shopping.
In 2008, Apple paid Amazon to license the patent to sell one-click products through the Apple Store and iTunes. The patented technology allowed customers to order items by entering their credit card information in one click without having to enter an address and phone number. As a result, a single click can make the entire process faster and easier. Apple’s licensing deal with Amazon’s 1-Click technology is a significant step for Apple’s iTunes Store.
“When we write the history of electronic commerce, the 1-Click patent … allowed Amazon to create a very strong position in the market,” noted R. Polk Wagner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. “Most importantly, it allowed Amazon to show customers that there was a good reason to give them their data and the permission to charge them on an incremental basis. It opened up other avenues for Amazon in e-commerce. That is the real legacy of the 1-Click patent.”
Google’s Sergey Brin
Google’s Sergey Brin is one of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and computer scientists. Along with Larry Page, he co-founded Google. The two men later co-founded Alphabet, the fourth-largest technology company in the world. Alphabet is in the process of restructuring its business to create a diversified portfolio of companies outside of internet services. Brin’s patent portfolio includes 79 different patents in 19 distinct patent families.
During his college years, Sergey Brin studied at the University of Maryland. He studied computer science and mathematics with his father, and graduated in three years with honors. He also studied at Stanford University. His father also taught mathematics at the University of Maryland. In addition, his mother was a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
In 2015, Brin and Page reorganized Google’s interests into a holding company, Alphabet Inc. The company grew to employ more than 10,000 people and earn $10 billion a year. Brin and Page both decided to retire at the end of 2018. In the meantime, Sundar Pichai is taking their places as CEO and president.
Although Google’s latest patent relates to aerial vehicles, he has a patent related to a multi-panel display. Another patent pertains to location sharing on a social networking platform. The company is also exploring new products and features based on the technology. The patents also aim to protect Google’s intellectual property.
The company started as a research project at Stanford University, and Larry Page and Sergey Brin were its original founders. They also had an unofficial third founder, Scott Hassan, who wrote much of the Google Search engine’s initial code. However, Hassan quit the project before Google became an official company. He went on to create his own robotics company, Willow Garage, in 2006.
The two founders co-created the patented PageRank algorithm, which has become the basis of Google’s search engine. Their algorithm determines how important web pages are in terms of search results.
Square’s Jack Dorsey
The company’s founder, Jack Dorsey, is one of the most prominent tech figures, and he has many patents to his name. He’s also an experienced speaker on the latest innovations in fintech. Besides Square, he also founded Block, which revolutionized mobile payments. In addition, he’s also working on hardware wallets for bitcoin and blockchain transactions. The wallets will have fingerprint sensors to secure transactions. They will also feature rechargeable lithium polymer batteries and a USB-C port.
Dorsey has long been a supporter of Bitcoin and believes in Bitcoin as a single currency. Square also integrated Bitcoin in its payment system last year, and Dorsey has disclosed that he spends $10k on Bitcoin every week. In December, Dorsey announced the formation of a new research team called Bluesky, which aims to develop open technical standards for social media platforms.
Square is also accused of patent infringement. The lawsuit was filed by an engineering professor from Washington University, claiming that he invented the Square card reader and corresponding magnetic stripe. The university’s lawsuit claims that Square’s Square app and card reader were based on an invention invented by Professor Morley.
While Twitter’s CEO Jack Dorsey was once the CEO of Twitter, he now focuses most of his time on Square. After all, the Twitter CEO’s role changed frequently and he doesn’t attend board meetings for Square. The CEO, who has many priorities, is a big proponent of cryptocurrency and has made several investments in the field.
However, Square is determined to fight the lawsuit. The company has been fighting the patent lawsuit for a couple of years. The square patents are assigned to another company, and McKelvey sued Square in 2010 claiming that his name was left off of important patents. The case is currently pending before the Patent and Trademark Office.
In a recent interview with Reuters, Square’s Jack Dorsey said that the company wants to help promote cryptocurrency adoption. “We need to ensure that it’s open to all.” But how will Square do that? The company has just launched a new initiative called the Cryptocurrency Open Patent Alliance. The organization’s goal is to promote free access to blockchain technology in the digital asset industry and fight off patent trolls.
uBiome’s Sam Wen
Sam Wen is one of the most famous startup founders, and has filed for patents to protect his inventions. This includes pending patent applications and patents that were already granted by the USPTO. Here’s his background. He has an undergraduate degree in electrical and computer engineering from Washington University in St. Louis and is a member of Founder’s 50.
Despite being liquidated in October, uBiome’s patents were sold for $8 million to a Korean company through auction. This was a good result for uBiome’s creditors. This sale represents a partial recovery of the investment the company made in its IP.
The uBiome patents cover a variety of technologies used to characterize the microbiome. The patents cover methods for sampling, laboratory automation, computational approaches and molecular techniques. The company also holds several other patents on diagnostic and therapeutic targets. Currently, the uBiome database contains over 250,000 samples from people around the world. The company projects that the number of samples will grow to 1 million by the end of this year.
Throughout the sale process, uBiome plans to maintain its Explorer(tm) product. It also plans to continue growing its commercial and academic partnerships. Additionally, it has secured debtor-in-possession financing from Silicon Valley Bank and 8VC. These funds will help uBiome meet its commitments and maximize its chances of successfully selling its assets.
The uBiome patents are the core of a business model that could help consumers make better health decisions. The company had been valued at $600 million at one point. However, its recent collapse has led to the sale of its patents to a DNA testing outfit called Psomagen. Psomagen is a subsidiary of South Korean biotech Macrogen and employs 25 people in Maryland. Psomagen paid $7 million for the intellectual property and patent portfolio of uBiome.
uBiome’s patent technology enables companies to characterize the microbiome and develop a therapeutic model for it. With these data, it is possible to predict the likelihood of occurrence of specific microbiome functional features in a person and to modify their microbiota accordingly with probiotics or prebiotics.
The uBiome SmartGut product uses artificial intelligence, machine learning and sequencing to provide results for patients with gut-related conditions. However, the product is not yet approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. The testing is also not standardized, and differences in sample preparation and data analysis may skew the results.
SxanPro’s mobile scanning technology
SxanPro, a small woman-founded medtech startup, recently secured a patent for mobile scanning technology. This technology makes it easy for hospitals to keep track of inventory and manage their medical supplies. It also eliminates manual processes that can be time-consuming and wasteful, freeing up valuable resources for patient care.
SxanPro’s mobile scanning technology has already been used by medical professionals and hospitals in more than 100 countries. Its mobile app enables physicians to perform MRIs anywhere they are. The mobile app also gives physicians quick access to patient records. The company’s mobile app offers doctors a convenient way to view patient records, as well as help doctors and nurses perform their duties more efficiently.
SxanPro’s mobile scanning technology has become an industry standard, and it is now available to physicians in any part of the world. It is now used in over 250 hospitals and 30,000 care centers worldwide, with more than 60 million patient visits per year.
Fujifilm also filed a large number of patents in this field in the last few years. It accounted for almost twice as many patent families as Olympus in the same sub-area. In the sub-area of Endoscopic devices, Fujifilm filed 819 patent families, while Olympus had 357 patent families.
Boston Scientific is a global medical solution company that ranks 5th in medical device patents. It collaborates with partners to develop new products and services that improve the health of patients around the world. It acts quickly, adapts to change, and holds itself accountable to its mission. Its recent acquisition of NxThera, which treats benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is a good example of its agile, global approach to innovation.
SxanPro’s mobile scanning technology has been patented by the US Patent Office. This innovative mobile scanning technology is an innovative way to scan a patient on-the-go, and can help doctors see more detail during a procedure. Its mobile capabilities make it a highly portable medical device, which is a key feature for hospitals and other health care providers.