Ric Richardson's patently good lessons

Ric Richardson’s patently good lessons

Ric Richardson, inventor and co-founder at Haventec shares the patent lessons gained during his Uniloc days.

Anyone that knows my story usually thinks of the $300 million dollar headline, but I think about the things learned leading up to that. One of those lessons is very counter intuitive. When I first went for the Uniloc 216 patent I was extremely paranoid that someone else, somewhere in the world must have done this before… it just seemed so simple to me… But that’s how most of my inventions are. They are really obvious after the fact.

More than a decade after filing for that patent we were in court proving no one else had done software activation before us. I realised then that the paranoia I had back in 1992 really worked against us.

Not for us.

If you look at the act of filing for a patent, you are actually laying your invention on the line — and very publicly. Inevitably within a few years everyone will know what you are doing, so there is no use in trying to be secretive or obfuscative.

Your patent will stand or it won’t.

In either case it’s to your advantage to go public as soon as patent protection is in place. This way everyone is put on notice that you have claimed a space in your field of technology.

No one can say you lay in wait for other innocent technologists with the aim of making them pay up in court years later. Additionally, if someone has done something like it before, while you may risk looking a bit silly you will not have wasted your time, your effort and money or your investors’ support and funds.

So, for Haventec, we are exploring the idea of provisionally patenting all important new technologies and then pretty much immediately publishing an example of our concept for peer review.

This sounds counter intuitive.

It sounds dangerous.

But the question is: if the patent is being published in another year or two then isn’t it better to go public as soon as you can while still being protected?

We’ll soon publish our technology for cloud-based random number generation.

While it’s not a front page breakthrough, among security and enterprise technologists it may prove to be a very important technology.

Random number generation is the backbone of most security and encryption operations. And currently the only way to reliably provide random numbers is to use expensive customised random number generator hardware.

Going forward, with the blessing of Rob Morrish and Tony Castagna, we will be researching new technology then patenting it, then coding an example of the code and then publishing.

And if the new technology survives some scrutiny from our growing circle of expert supporters we may even release it to the media for review by the general public.

So keep an eye on the media for something about cloud based random number generation. Let’s see if the lessons learned bare fruit.