By Mark Costello, vice president, General Patent Counsel, Xerox

These days when a Xerox patent attorney is asked “What’s new?” we tend to answer  “Everything on my docket!” Welcome to today’s Xerox, where R&D has been let loose into the world of services.

Innovation is a big part of our corporate history starting with the patent for xerography by our founder Chester Carlson – who was a patent attorney himself. What we’re seeing now is an increased pace of idea generation.  In fact, Xerox increased its patent issuances by 17 percent last year, the fourth year in a row that they’ve increased. Innovation – Not Just A Cool Idea.

How have we done it?  Some ideas:

  • Innovation is so ingrained in our culture that it’s not enough to simply invent and have a cool idea – you have to do something with it.   Great ideas in the abstract add no value to the company. New ideas and fresh thinking form the basis for our research.
  • Common sense approach:
    • Clear goals among engineers and researchers for invention productivity
    • Applying talent and technical expertise to new industries
    • Patenting technology, and making sure it’s picked up by  our businesses
    • The U.S. Patent Office has handled our “backlog” of patent applications quickly and efficiently.  In fact, the total number of patent issuances is up across the nation – a sign that the government recognizes the value patents bring to business and the economy in general.

As our researchers step into the realms of transportation, healthcare, big data analytics and more – things are getting pretty exciting around here, and we like to imagine how our ideas might change the world. Picture nurses and doctors monitoring the vital signs of babies in a neonatal unit without having to attach any probes to their delicate skin. Imagine healthcare information exchanges handling electronic health records in ways you’d never think possible or a mobile app that helps frustrated drivers find a parking spot quickly. Our researchers are working on data analytics tools that help cities streamline traffic and public transportation schedules, making commutes safer and less time consuming.

Innovation is not just a bunch of cool ideas at Xerox.  It’s a powerful tool for our customers, and a way for us to make a real difference in the world.

 

Mark loves technology and working with scientists. An avid technology buff, he pursued an education in electrical engineering, and then focused on technology issues after law school.  In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, and travel.