News | Jan 5, 2019

Examining patents inspired Albert Einstein, innovators can find new product ideas

Albert Einstein during a lecture in Vienna in 1921.

Courtesy National Library of Austria

In June 1902, before he was famous, Albert Einstein was informed that his application to become a Class III technical expert at the Federal Intellectual Property Agency in Bern, Switzerland, had been accepted. In other words, he became a patent clerk.

One month later, he was grading inventions for their patentability.

Einstein called his job at the Federal Intellectual Property Agency a “cobbler’s trade.” But it was a fortuitous posting because he was well compensated, and it was easy enough for someone of his intellect.

He was also exposed to “that worldly cloister where I hatched my most beautiful ideas.”

"The origin of all technical achievements is the divine curiosity and the play instinct of the working and thinking researcher, as well as the constructive fantasy of the technical inventor." -Albert Einstein

But you don’t have to be an Einstein to read patents.

In fact, reviewing patents is a great way to find new product ideas or a technology that represents a business opportunity.

Patented inventions that come from federal laboratories are especially interesting because they’re often available for business development–Congress even encourages it. (See: Stevenson-Wydler Technology Innovation Act)

Here at TechLink, the staff review hundreds of patents and patent applications from dozens of government laboratories.

After vetting by our patent review board, a team of marketing professionals begins contacting companies that merit introduction to the inventions.

But, in the spirit of entrepreneurship, TechLink maintains a unique database, online and searchable, that the public can use for their own explorations.

Thanks to this database, thousands of new and improved product ideas await discovery by businesses and entrepreneurs.

Once you identify one of the technologies as a business opportunity, contact TechLink. Under the business-friendly umbrella of technology transfer, TechLink facilitates patent license agreements, which allow federal laboratories to assign their intellectual property rights to a business or entrepreneur and often include access to inventors and relevant data.

TechLink’s experienced staff will help you prepare a commercialization plan and patent license application at no charge. Since 1999, TechLink has helped hundreds of companies, large and small, realize commercial success with federal inventions through the development of new products and services.

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