General Electric Turns to Social Media to Develop Products from its Patent Portfolio

Carrie    June 13, 2013

General Electric sign on GE Administration Building, Schenectady, New York

In April 2013 General Electric announced it is going to turn to social media through a partnership with Quirky – a social platform that specializes in helping inventors turn ideas into actual products.

GE will license hundreds of patents to the community on Quirky for a share of the revenue generated by any products created. This is a very low risk strategy that offers the Quirky community access to an extensive catalogue of intellectual property.

Quirky boasts that it has developed 352 products with 188 retail partners and 427 000 in their community of inventors. 

Lessons for others

Social media focused invention as a service for intellectual property that has been locked up in a company, could have huge implications for both industry and academia. In Canada, for example, there is a well documented commercialization problem that could in part be solved by turning the IP over to social media based tools like Quirky.

This could open up a new era of products and invention if successful. Imagine a University in Canada opening up it’s portfolio of patents to social media, where students and inventors get inspired to create products. Exciting times ahead!

Web references

Submitted By: Carrie Murphy-Rodgers, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo

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