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Yes, Be a Dinosaur: Part 1

Updated: Aug 23

July 20, 2022

By Robert Cantrell - Registered Patent Agent


An often-spoken cliché that has been around for longer than I can remember is to avoid becoming a dinosaur. That cliché, however, has always been flawed to me. Dinosaurs were phenomenally successful in their time, and they still are—as birds. An apocalypse of epic proportion, in the form of an asteroid, wiped out the dinosaurs’ dominant position on land and in the water, but the basic dinosaur platform, the prior art that was of at least one evolutionary line of the creatures, earned them a dominant position in the sky. And more than a few have further adapted to hold niches within their original domains.

There is no denying, when looking at the skeletons of a chicken or a T-Rex, that the fundamental design of the creatures comes from the same blueprint. The legs of a T-Rex look like enormous drumsticks. Molecular comparisons of chicken collagen with unfossilized collagen from a T-Rex support the visual evidence, the collagen structure encoded in the genes. And while the chicken may be less formidable individually than a T-Rex, its genetic code, carried within the sum of all its individuals, commands a tremendous share of global resources.


The ability of a business to be a dinosaur, to be able to withstand an apocalyptic event yet reemerge transformed, may rest within its patent portfolio. The patent portfolio may be the only viable part of a company that remains the day after a figurative asteroid hits from which something new can emerge. Now, just as individual dinosaurs fared poorly on asteroid day, individual companies may go bankrupt, but their genetics may fare better. The best patents and inventions belonging to Bell Labs, Kodak, Motorola, and Blackberry, for example, along with people who created them, lived on, and evolved to be a part of such dominant enterprises as Apple and Google—and sometimes, as with Kodak, reemerged under the original name.


The goal, of course, if you run an enterprise is to avoid an asteroid day, especially one of your own making. But having a patent portfolio that can survive such a day, that is inherently relevant to progress, however progress comes about, creates a resilient platform from which to shape your future. So yes, be a dinosaur.

 

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