A patent reward and recognition system rewards and recognizes employees for their innovative contribution to the company. This article focuses on the benefits of such a system and looks at:
- The benefits a company may observe when using a patent reward and recognition system.
- The benefits an employee may observe when being a part of a patent reward and recognition system.
In general, a patent reward and recognition system is used to incentivize employees to prepare the documents that disclose their invention and to go through the patent process. This is good for companies because it gives them a way to capture company intellectual property (IP) and to reward and recognize innovative employees. This is good for employees because it acknowledges their contribution to the company, which in turn can boost employee morale, satisfaction, and empower employees to continue innovating for the company. Below we’ll look into these benefits further.
1. Company Benefits For Using A Patent Reward and Recognition System
A. Capture Ideas to Grow Your Company
The patent process starts with an invention, and an invention begins with an idea. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) grants patents for inventions and without a system to document ideas, you may be missing out on building a robust patent portfolio.
Also, it’s important to note that the United States follows a first to file system, where the right to a patent for an invention is determined by the first person to file for a patent to protect that invention. Without this documentation or disclosure, the patent process may not happen or at least occurs infrequently, which opens up the possibility that your company’s idea might first be patented by a competitor who independently came up with the same idea.
However, if the idea is captured, it may be documented, safeguarded, and turned into a patent. If a patent application is not pursued on the idea, the idea can be turned into a whitepaper or other article and published, and the publication can be used as prior art against competitors filing for patent applications after the date of publication.
Also, keeping track of company IP is essential given how often employees move from one company to the next, and documenting the idea shows that the idea exists within the company and the company owns it.
B. Convert Customers to Increase Company Share of the Market
For startups, a key challenge is proving to inventors and potential customers that what they offer is unique and/or superior and that no one else can provide the same offering. An idea that is captured, developed, and eventually filed in a patent application lets you use “patent pending” on your products and publications (e.g., marketing and packing). This may indicate to consumers and investors that the product is unique and can only be obtained from you.
C. Deter Lawsuits and Increase Revenue
Eventual patents from these ideas can be used for licensing, or as a defensive measure against litigation. Also, the patents can be used to brand your company to potential customers and employees as an innovator, potentially boosting sales and recruiting.
2. Employee Benefits For Using A Patent Reward and Recognition System
A. Increase Employee Morale
Patents can offer objective evidence that an employee is an expert in their field. Also, a patent may signal an employee’s significant investment and accomplishment in a particular area.
Patents can also be used to brand oneself as being an innovator in a particular field, as well as being important and valuable to a company.
B. Empower Employees
A company that files patents on employee innovations signals to employees that their contribution is appreciated and recognized. It’s not uncommon that these creative employees are the future on which a company is built, and a patent reward and recognition system can foster loyalty from these employees.
A good patent reward and recognition system motivates employees to capture ideas and continue through the patent process. Going through the process involves time and resources that are not typically in project plans for getting products/services out the door. As such, it’s important for the company to recognize the time, effort, and commitment by the employee in filling out the invention disclosure document, participating in the invention disclosure meeting, and reviewing the patent application for eventual filing.
And regardless of the financial incentive of the system or how the system works, it’s important to recognize the value of the innovation your employees contribute to the company. Doing so not only benefits the company but shows appreciation to those who are contributing to and helping the company grow.
Curious about how to set up a patent reward system? Read “How to Set up a Patent Reward and Recognition System for Your Company”.