Many engineering companies use patents as a yardstick, given the business potential of a good idea for both startups and conglomerates. Approved and enforceable patents provide a technological head-start and (ideally) generate license fees or revenue, but what makes it “good” in the first place? We talked with Spencer Irvine about his own startup (AirVentions, Inc.) and personal experience filing patents.

[Video: Spencer Irvine talks about startups and patents.]

Generally speaking, patentable inventions must be new, non-obvious, and useful or industrially applicable. Startups often lack the money and experience needed to develop and file patents, so rely on help from their friends, mentors, and business network. Spencer covered several points in our interview, at times noted below.

Q: How did you start AirVentions and what technical problems are you solving? (0:45)

  • Avoidance of airplane supply equipment collisions
  • Based on personal experience working on the ground

Q: How did you develop and file your first patent? (2:15)

Q: What work followed the first patent? (6:00)

  • Spencer’s approved patent preceded company itself
  • Filed second patent to cover more functionality

Q: What would you do differently when filing patents? (7:15)

  • Seek out info on the filing process
  • Understand similar patents in your industry
  • Research the full range of costs for filing in the USA and abroad