February 16, 2008

What is better - Patenting or being a little more Patient?

Here is the story of Mike and Spike. Both were extremely hardworking and creative. They worked together in a big company that was listed in the Fortune 100. Mike has been with the company for more than 10 years and has more than 25 patents to his credit. Spike has been with the company for just about 5 years and has zero patents to his credit.

The company has a policy that states that the patents filed by its employees become an intellectual property of the company, and the name of the employee filing the same will be the inventor. The company also has some rewarding scheme for every patent filed by an employee. Assuming that the patent reward is $1000 (just a rough estimate), Mike should've made about $25000 in the 10 years by just the patent filing process. Hmm...so what did Spike make in his 5 years? Read on...

Spike, on the other hand, was extremely patient. He used to jot down all his brilliant ideas in a piece of paper and work on them in his spare time and weekends. He had a personal computer back home that he used to build prototypes of his ideas and also had many of them working at beta and alpha levels. One fine day, Spike decides to quit the company and start off on his own!

In a span of less than 2 years, Spike's new company "Spikey!.com" starts to make big profits and makes it to the news. The revenues and profits of his startup has now crossed well over $500 million. Apparently, the work that Spike's new company does is in the lines of what his previous Fortune 100 employer did. One fine day, his previous employer approaches Spikey.com offering to buy his company for a very good sum (say...$2billion...Just a ballpark figure). After consulting with his board of directors and shareholders, Spike decides to sell his company for the agreed sum, and joins his old Fortune 100 company as a Vice President of the new business unit formed due to this acquisition!

At this point, we see that Mike is still working hard and patenting all his new ideas, while Spike has shot from the level of a programmer/software engineer (with zero patents!) to a Vice President (of the same company) in the matter of a half a dozen years!

How does this sound? Familiar? Oh yes! This has been going on for many years now. We've seen many millionaires growing this way. So, the moral of the story is that patience and perseverence, coupled together with hardwork and determination, always pays off rich dividends!

So, when are you submitting your next patent? Ahemm....never mind....have a great weekend!
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