GE and New York-based start-up Quirky are teaming up to make innovation and invention easy for and accessible to the public. The online social media platform, Quirky, allows inventors to develop their ideas from start to finish, guiding them through the process of creating, marketing, manufacturing and eventually distributing their product.
GE has announced that it will open up 1,000 patents (from its bank of about 20,000) to the Quirky community for the development of new consumer products. Starting next month, Quirky members will have access to the patents through a searchable online database, and will have the opportunity to begin utilizing certain technologies developed by GE in a number of new ways.
Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of GE, Beth Comstock, stated “We admire Quirky’s speed, collaboration and inventiveness and by opening up lab-proven technology and patents to everyday inventors we can help inspire new ideas and accelerate advanced manufacturing innovation. At GE we are passionate about innovation at market speed, working with entrepreneurs and finding new models of business, and this partnership is just another way we can help inspire invention and help scale it.”
The deal provides inventors with the opportunity to use these technologies without being sued, while also allowing GE to share in the revenue of the resulting products. Founder and CEO of Quirky, Ben Kaufman, claims that “For years patents have become widely misunderstood and misused. We are going to return patents to their original purpose to act as a blueprint for technological and societal progress while protecting inventors and becoming a source of inspiration for future creators.”
The creative partnership is expected to go even further, however, with a co-developed line of app-enabled products for the home. The new line has already been labeled Wink: Instantly Connected.
The companies are currently encouraging inventors and creative people of all kinds to submit their product ideas via Quirky.com/GE and become a part of the beginning of an entirely new product line. The two companies will review the first round of submissions beginning April 17th, so be sure to get your suggestions in before then.