— Laurie Riedman, Xerox public relations consultant

I’m sure we have all experienced an AHA moment.   That moment in time when suddenly — just like magic — the very solution we need just pops into our head.    I’ve experience this a few times – usually around a realization that helps me move forward with a particular situation in my personal life or a brainstorm idea for a new project at work.    But I am not sure I could do this every day – day in and day out.

Yet, I know quite a few folks that do.  Xerox researchers and scientists that work at the Xerox Innovation Group seem to generate light bulb moments on demand.   In fact, last year Xerox researchers, engineers and scientists had those moments about 46 percent more than the year before!

Xerox just released that the company has added 1,031 U.S. patents to its intellectual property portfolio last year, up 46 percent over 2009, ranking it in the top 20 companies for U.S. patents in 2010.

The 2010 Xerox patent tally includes patents from Xerox Innovation Group, Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), PARC, the Palo Alto Research Center, and XMPie®,  three wholly-owned Xerox companies.  And when you add in the light bulb moments from Xerox’s joint venture in Japan, Fuji Xerox Co. Ltd., the Xerox group garnered enough U.S. patents to place Xerox ninth on the IFI Claims Patent Service list worldwide.

That’s a lot of light bulb moments! Check out the release that was issued this week about this news.

How do they do it?

Last year I asked one of our scientists who had reached the 100+ patent milestone how he comes up with such good patentable ideas time and time again.  He sat back in his chair and gave me a smile that truly came from inside – if you know what I mean – and he said you can’t try too hard.   He went on to explain that he’s gotten his best patented ideas while riding his bike or hiking in the woods.   One time he solved a problem he had been mulling over for months while unlocking his car in the parking lot.

OK.  I need a light bulb moment of my own.  I think I’ll take the dog for a walk.