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On The Light(er) Side…

by: Chris Mulkey, COO/Head of Research

I think it may be time to retire an old legend. The light bulb. As a marketing graphic - specifically in the IP sector.

Our industry has become so saturated with this graphic used in conjunction with services catering to the patent world that I’d posit it has lost all of its effectiveness. To its credit, it is a great symbol in that it almost universally conjures up the concept of innovation, which is quite relevant in the IP industry. However, for a symbol to effectively conjure a concept in the observer’s mind, it must first be actually noticed.

But the light bulb graphic is so cliché on websites, brochures, textbooks, that it’s summarily ignored; it has become so expected it’s invisible. It’s the “Kleenex” of IP.

So as a member of the IP industry at large, I ask: Is this is the best symbol we can come up with?

Intellectual property (or at least the substance behind it) is synonymous with innovation, creativity, and technological progress. The first light bulb was invented, debatably, in 1806, and improved upon until publicly marketable by the late 1800’s. At least with respect to incandescents, it really hasn’t changed all that much since.

Like all great athletes, there will inevitably come a time when relevance must yield to reverence, and a noble place in history is cemented. Let us tip our caps to the light bulb graphic, and all get to work on the next bright star to show your website viewers how we can foster their ideas. Start by scrubbing our marketing drawers of all illustrations of the most overused, hardly-relevant tech as a symbol of everything IP.

Be at the center of the new paradigm – what’s your idea (to symbolize ideas)?

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