Invention Submission Procedure at IBM
- An Inventor develops an idea which solves a problem which no one else has thought of
- The Inventor access the Worldwide Patent Tracking System, using either Lotus Notes or a Web Browser, to create an invention disclosure
- The Inventor enters information about the idea, for example
- What is the problem this idea solves
- How does this idea solve the problem
- Who are the inventors who developed this idea
- The Inventor submits the invention disclosure to an IP Processing Location
- The IP location assigns a reference number, called a Disclosure Number, to the invention disclosure
- The IP location assigns an Invention Development Team (IDT) of evaluators to the invention disclosure in order to determine its potential value to IBM
- The IDT reviews the invention dislcosure and makes an initial recommendation to the IP location
- An IBM Attorney/Patent Professional reviews the results of this evaluation and renders a Final Decision and notifies the inventor of this decision
- If the Final Decision is to file a patent application, an extensive search will be performed in order to ensure that no prior art already exists for this invention disclosure to ensure that this idea has not already been patented or has a patent pending
An inventor is any IBM employee, or person collaborating with an IBM employee, who contrives a solution to an existing problem or develops a product for a new market.
Inventors postulate the ideas and communicate them to their assigned Intellectual Property (IP) Processing Location.
Inventors now have a common interface from which to submit their ideas into the invention process. They will be able to track their ideas, as they attempt to obtain the coveted goal of being issued a patent.
Evaluators are technical personnel that determine the asset value of an idea to IBM. Some IP Locations group evaluators into Invention Development Teams (IDT). Evaluators at these locations can be assigned as a group.
They can range from peer inventors, to management, to attorney/patent professionals. They are provided with a function to evaluate an inventions’ merits to IBM as a company. They will use Notes’ document control facility to track comments and invention evaluations.
Evaluators recommend a decision for the outcome of an invention.
Attorneys/Patent Professionals are the legal staff assigned the task of Prosecuting the Invention with their country specific Patent Offices.
Attorneys/Patent Professionals may be responsible for assigning the prosecution responsibility to Outside Counsel. In either case, the IBM attorney/patent professional is ultimately responsible for the results of the patent office actions.
IBM attorneys/patent professionals are responsible for rendering the final decision of an invention.
Administrators control the flow of paperwork between their location attorneys/patent professionals and their country specific Patent Offices.
The Administrator has the ability to track an invention at any point of it’s “life”, after it has been assigned to an IP Processing Location. The administrators ensure the workflow does not have any bottle necks.
Administrators have the capability of updating any information on an invention during any phase of it’s life cycle, once it has been submitted. The administrators also assign a IP Location unique disclosure number.
Patent Portfolio Manager
Patent Portfolio Managers are responsible for managing IBM’s patent portfolio. It is in their best interest to see what new inventions are “in the works.” The PPMs only have read access to inventions during the submission phase.
The corporate staff has the responsibility of tracking the progress each IP Location is making, for submitting, publishing and filing new inventions. They will also use this database for extensive reporting purposes.
The corporate staff, although policy makers, will take an active role in maintaining the integrity of the data. The corporate staff has the ultimate responsibility of maintaining the control tables, such as Processing Location and Country Tables.
The Worldwide Patent Tracking System was developed to help expedite the submission of inventions to IBM’s Intellectual Property function.
It also affords people, of various roles and responsibilities throughout the patent process, the ability to view invention information in an organized and informative manner.
An outline of the Invention Submission Process as well as the various roles and responsibilities are described in greater detail on the Summary page.
If you would like to know how to get to WPTS, click here.