The chief counsel, Global Patents for Kraft Foods, Debbie Wright, brought to the attention of this reader of Counsel to Counsel, May 2006 at 8, an interesting latent tension. Kraft’s patent lawyers began a program to educate non-R&D lawyers about the value and importance of process innovations, such as potential business method patents (US patent law prohibits protection of any business process once it has been in the public domain for more than one year). The lawyers circulated an explanation of such innovations and an invention disclosure form, and then began to track submitted forms.
Excellent, this initiative to capture and protect valuable ideas of the company! At the same time, the initiative could create quite a bit of new work, where the patent group may already have been up to its eyeballs. That’s the tension that occurred to me: a pro-active undertaking that is value-added means late nights – in a a phrase, work-added (See my post of May 1, 2006 on “value-added.”).