You don’t have to reinvent the wheel for every patent. Improvement could be more than enough to keep the flow of applications going.
And Apple is looking to do just that with a new patent that addresses the frailty of their charging cable. Their idea for cords with varying stiffness may not be the most exciting patent to grace their portfolio, but that doesn’t mean it won’t be an important one.
Constant pulling and tugging on cables will often end in destruction, but Apple’s new approach builds on the notion of strengthening the sleeve around the base to protect against early wear. The company posits adding varying levels of rigidity throughout the line will ease the burden on the fragile ends.
This seemingly mundane advancement helps show that not every patent needs to have ground-breaking technology or historical significance to garner an application. In fact, an estimated 95% of all patents that go through the United States Patent and Trademark Office are improvements that advance other ideas.
Since patents need only be novel, useful and nonobvious, throwing out existing ideas in favor of grander individual innovation can be counterproductive. If you’ve been hanging on to gradual increases in progress, waiting for the big break that could warrant patent protection, you may have been missing a number of advancements that would be readily accepted in a petition.
Getting the benefits of patents doesn’t need to be a lofty ambition shrouded in hope. Rather, it can exist as an ongoing realization of benefits that build on one another. Your incremental innovations may be the gold standard for submitting an application.