By P. Kandiah
The inconvenience of fitting and using a dust bag in a vacuum cleaner inspired Sir James Dyson (as he is referred to now) to develop a bag-less vacuum cleaner which innovation has brought much comfort to those tasked with vacuuming floors. Dyson’s bag-less vacuum cleaner has taken the world by surprise.
Pharmaceutical firms do realise the inconvenience of requiring patients to take a pharma drug, three times a day after meals. Many patients do not strictly follow these requirements. So pharma companies started working on alternative solutions. Hence the birth of once a day drug or slow release drugs. Such innovations has made the lives of patient easier.
History of mankind discloses innumerable examples of such innovation when someone had observed or experienced a problem or inconvenience and put his/her mind to the problem and produced practical solutions which have improved the lives of people.
April 26, has been declared as World Intellectual Property Day by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) – an agency in the United Nations. Malaysia has also declared April 26 as National Intellectual Property Day.
For innovations to be successfully commercialised they need to be given proprietary rights such as patent rights, registered industrial design rights or copyrights. Those rights along with trademark rights, are collectively referred to as Intellectual Property Rights (or IP rights for short) and this gives the creator of the innovation exclusive rights to manufacture, sell or use the innovation rights by himself or through the authorised use by others for a limited duration enabling the creator to recoup his investments in money, skill and labor.
In the modern days, the approach to innovations is changing.
Instead of a single person or company doing R & D and solving a technical problem all alone, entire groups of persons or a community can be called upon to contribute ideas to solve the problem. Once the problem is recognised by a group of people whose combined brain power and experience can yield practical solution to the problem within a short period of time and at a lower cost.
The challenges to this approach are many. Who is to lead the problem solving; who is to coordinate the input of ideas. Next if the solution is of commercial value, who is to own the Intellectual Property rights and how is the profit for commersalisation to be distributed to all the contributors, and in what proportions. Perhaps another innovation solution to the crisis is needed.
Let’s celebrate World IP Day by at least solving a day-to-day inconvenience whilst in the house or travelling to work or at a work place. I for a start have started to think for a better idea or a solution to arrange or displays my neck ties in the wardrobe in my house that make it convenient and easy for me to select the right tie for my day. Another problem I have been pondering on for some time where or how do I store a wet umbrella in my car without wetting the floor carpet or seat whilst at the same time making it easy to unfold an umbrella while getting out of the car when it is raining heavily. Perhaps a plastic sleeve would solve the problem. I need to fully perfect this innovation further.
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