The other day Tyler from Bikerumor emailed and asked about a bicycle rear derailleur control patent we applied for. With my name on the patent application, of course he contacted me for a little more info. He then published his take on the invention in this article. I saw it yesterday, and had to smile -- especially after reading several of the comments.
I must admit I love finding tid-bits of cool info about new technology. Like Tyler, I browse patent info as well, to keep up on what's happening. On that note, since I love the Bicycle industry, I like reading Bikerumor (and other such media outlets) that showcase new technology. It's always great to see how the world in changing.
After the short email conversation about the patent application, I kind of expected to see something about it, but it's still a bit different to pull up a page and find your name on it.
The patent application is pretty complete about how the innovation is intended to be used, and Tyler did a great job of boiling out the legalese -- making it easy for everyone to understand. His article is worth reading if you're into new bicycle technology. The patent application is now public, so there is nothing secret said. However, for the rest of the story, unfortunately, I can't/won't say much more about it -- except, to answer the obvious questions: Yes, it's a real thing; and Yes, licensing is a possibility. Contact me.
Public Patent Technology
It's a bad habit of the USPTO to publish applications in advance of prosecution, like this one. I'd love to know the answers to questions about the patent, the patent office and the claims that were asked below the article in the comments. I don't know what the USPTO will say. However, through the many patents I've worked on, it is clear -- it depends a lot on the examiner. I've worked with patent examiners that are really sharp, with key and insightful observations. On the other side of the coin, I've worked with patent examiners that seem to be missing something upstairs.
I don't want to dwell on short-comings of the patent system, but I will say this. Like in the comments below the article, it is indeed unfair -- in our current system, he who has the deepest pockets usually prevails. That's not always true, and we hear great examples about the exceptional cases, but unfortunately, it's more true than not. Certainly the paradigm for why patents exist in the first place contemplates an equitable system, but the implementation has in some ways, well, missed that boat.
-- Hey, USPTO, if you're listening, I've got some suggestions that may really improve the system.
Product Development Leading To Patents
Well, not to get derailed on things out of our control . . . Patent applications are a common thing at Synthesis. Technology improvements like this bicycle rear derailleur system are what we do. If you have something that needs innovative thinking, let us know. Product development resulting in new patented technology happens here a lot.
Innovation is not the only piece, however. There's a lot of work that goes into the "development" portion of product development. The road is not always as simple as it sounds, so when you're ready, it's all a part of what we do for you.