From remote-controlled masks for eating to transparent mouth masks for the deaf to read your lips to bumper table dining that maintains social distancing, I’m impressed by ongoing innovations to combat the coronavirus and make our lives safer.
Then there are innovative products that are both new and previously-existing to help individuals and companies adapt to the new normal.
This database of 950+ global innovations includes contactless restaurant dining, contact tracing software, ventilator manufacturing, research grant funding, genome sequencing analysis, robot-led museum tours, online tutoring, and corporate risk management.
As the days progress into weeks and beyond, I anticipate everyday ideas and what-if questions to transform into inventions.
Most of the products I linked above have copyright protections. Masks are not copyrighted. Nor are the shoes on your feet, the shirt and pants on your body, or the hat on your head.
As Johanna Blakley explains (in an excellent TED Talk video), the fashion industry is exempt from copyright protection because their products are considered utilitarian. Trademarks are protected but designs are not. That’s why you can walk into a shoe store or browse the web and see a million copycat designs with their own logos.
Your idea is not protected. Expressions of your idea are protected, e.g., patents and trademarks. So now we have a single company that designed and marketed a bumper table dining concept. Because of trademark protection, other companies will have a hard time creating the same product. Theirs would have to be substantially different. And in the meantime, the coronavirus keeps killing.
I wonder if the time will come, hopefully sooner than later, when entrepreneurs seeking to innovate faster will try to emulate fashion’s example.