Rajaneesh Shetty of Cisco says he had always thought innovation was something that could not be practiced, and patents have to be breakthrough ideas, something which would be revolutionary. “But that is not true and I realised it with time. Innovation can be practiced, and improvement over an existing idea can be patented. It is more about fine-tuning your brain, it’s not so much about radical thinking,” he says.
Shetty did electronics & communication engineering at the MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology in Bengaluru. He joined Cisco in 2014 and is currently a principal architect, working mainly on 5G projects. He previously worked with Nokia Siemens Networks and Infosys. He is also an author of two books, one on 4G and the other on 5G technology, which have been “a source of expressing my ideas.”
It took some time for him to file his first patent. That came in 2019. But the next ones – more than 20 currently and mostly in 5G – came in quick succession in the last two years. Seven of those have been approved. The first patent was around 5G resource optimisation. “Mobile is a core area of 5G and the patent was about intelligent and optimal selection of algorithms to ensure resources in the network are optimised. The project required me to come up with algorithms to determine how to select a particular resource from a core network point of view that pushes up average revenue per user (ARPU) for the operator, and enhances the user experience.”
Exposure to a problem and the experience of working on it are key pathways to filing patents, he says. “With experience, you learn the tricks of the trade,” he says. He also suggests that you should always brainstorm with a team. That generates a lot of ideas on how to take something forward.
Shetty says it is important to think about the problem statement, and to also recognise that a key part of filing a patent is writing. He says you should approach the writing methodically, and convert it into an opportunity or solution statement. “The writing should show how impactful the problem is to the end consumer and how feasible the solution is. The problem can be solved in a few steps, or if it is a bigger problem, then break it down into many steps. A law firm will be filing it on behalf of you so they need to be able to put those claims to the USPTO (US Patent and Trademark Office),” he says. Shetty’s experiences with patent filing grew when Cisco put him on the board of review of patents in the mobile internet committee, where he was able to review innovations by others.
He says you should also watch out for patent infringement. “If I implement a patent, and someone copies it, I should be able to detect the violation through a minimal set of tests,” he says.