October 10, 2022
By Robert Cantrell - Registered Patent Agent
Coddiwomple is defined as traveling purposely in a vague direction. No better word may describe how R&D is conducted and patent portfolios built. We understand vaguely how given technologies will evolve—benefits delivered to customers with fewer residual demands, fewer residual burdens—but the patent-eligible inventions created from the effort emerge as they will. Not at random, but as they will. The direction may be for faster, more cost-effective, or otherwise better solutions on some known part of the engineered system: power, transmission, working body, instrument of control, inputs, outputs, etc. Researchers and developers will tinker with this part and that, hypothesizing, testing, improving, and something potentially novel, useful, and non-obvious emerges from which to assemble a patent portfolio.
A coddiwomple works because it orients discipline (purposefulness) to a system rather than a goal. As such, the coddiwomple fosters continuity, and targets that might have been goals become milestones instead. You put in the time and effort on activities of merit and monitor whether those activities and the milestones passed are taking you generally where you wish to go. Here are the steps:
Set a general direction. For example, determine that you wish your product line to be better, faster, or more cost-effective. Perhaps set guidelines but leave those tasked to achieve results the freedom to explore.
Evaluate how it's going. Are you obtaining value along the way?
Persevere. The one downside to a coddiwomple, if things grow tough, is perceived endlessness. You may reach what you imagined would be an endpoint, a chance to breathe easy for a time, only to find you have a long way to go. It can be like crossing an ocean without knowing where the shore lies only that you must maintain your heading to reach it. A true adventure.
The patent portfolio that results from a coddiwomple will, ultimately, be a combination of patents you want and patents you get peppered around a system on which the patents read. Each gets plugged into the greater patent portfolio which itself will offer some sought degree of exclusivity and freedom to operate. If your patent portfolio reads on your general direction, it becomes a measure of the success of your coddiwomple. If your patent portfolio reads differently, ask why, and leave open the possibility that your patents may be pointing you in a better direction.
If you’d like to know more about purposefulness regarding coddiwompling a patent portfolio, please contact us on our CONTACT page.