It’s not news that e-commerce can be a challenging industry. However, with access to the right proprietary tools, sellers can position themselves as more efficient and reliable than their peers. Leveraging patented technology to work smarter and faster than your competition is a surefire way to separate from the pack.
At SellerCloud, we have just completed the process of patenting our own unique technology to do just that – Skustack.
Skustack is a real-time, multi-level, inventory tracking system unlike any other. With it, our clients now have access to an innovative new way to streamline inventory tracking and management across all of their marketplaces and warehousing facilities. The end result is a new way to outpace the competition when it comes to accurate, timely, and cost-effective warehouse logistics.
How Patents Work
When inventors create something new, they must take steps to protect their invention against competitors using, selling, or recreating it. A patent grants its holder a legal claim to an invention or other piece of unique intellectual property. This patent holder has the sole right to produce, license, or sell the patented product for a specified period of time. The patent can even be sold, transferring all of the aforementioned rights to the purchaser (to be clear, we have no intention of selling Skustack – it will remain an exclusive benefit to our users).
For products to be patented in the first place, they must meet the strict evaluation criteria of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Take it from us, obtaining a patent is hard work. We at SellerCloud have spent the last three years dotting the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s on our own patent for Skustack.
To do so, we had to prove that our product was:
- Novel – New patents are only issued for new ideas. If the proposed invention is too similar to an already patented product, the patent application will be denied. Similarly, if the proposed invention has been sold or otherwise publicly known for more than a year, it would fail to meet the USPTO’s threshold for novelty.
That said, inventions are not required to be comprised of entirely new technology. Novel improvements or combinations of existing patented material often give rise to new inventions. These iterative ideas can be patented if they meet the following criteria as well.
- Nonobvious – Inventions qualify for a patent only when they meet a sufficient threshold of innovation. Since it is unlikely that a modern invention is something wholly original – meaning every single component and piece was conceived by the inventor him or herself – the USPTO evaluates whether or not the invention is innovative enough to be considered sufficiently more original than a simple improvement of the parts.
For example, while a smartwatch blends a wristwatch with cellphone-style technology, it combines these elements to create a wholly new product that the USPTO has deemed more than a cell phone strapped onto your wrist.
- Useful – The final criteria for a patent is whether or not the invention is considered a working and useful thing. Patents are not issued for inventions that either do not physically exist (ideas or concepts) or do not function as intended (or at all).
These requirements are strict, but they provide the legal grounds for inventors to protect their creations. Rights-holders are able to leverage their exclusive control over their patented product(s) for profit and competitive advantage.
The Significance of Patented Technology
Technology and innovation are perpetually intertwined. Digital innovations account for a significant number of the patents issued by the USPTO each year. In such a crowded and ever-evolving space, obtaining a technology patent can be challenging. That said, earning a technology patent approval signifies that the creation in question was sufficiently innovative to meet the high bar set by the USPTO.
For the rights-holder, a technology patent has substantial value. Many companies like IBM, Amazon, Apple, and Google generate tremendous profits and market influence through the licensing of their intellectual properties. Other patents they opt to maintain for their own exclusive branded use. On occasion, companies are even bought and sold (either in part or entirely) because of the patents they hold.
For users, a patented technology signifies that something is in some way wholly unique. In competitive settings, having access to the right patented technologies can lead to distinct advantages over those who do not. The e-commerce space is no exception.
The Value of Patented Technology to E-commerce Businesses
The e-commerce space is crowded with sellers looking to gain even the slightest advantage over their competitors. With challenges ranging from international competition to complex (and seemingly ever-changing) marketplace regulations, a few mistakes or missteps could spell disaster.
Utilizing a patented tool like Skustack can simplify and streamline essential operational procedures while at the same time bolster both efficiency and accuracy. This can give your online retail sales a leg up over competitors who don’t have access to the same technological assistance. Cutting down on things like mistakes, processing times, and overall costs translates to an overall boost in your business’s reputation and bottom line.
At SellerCloud, it’s not just about the fact that we have patented technology to share with our users, its that we want our users to feel empowered by the fact that they have access to a unique tool that can measurably improve multiple aspects of their business. Our efforts in producing Skustack were guided by a genuine desire to help simplify the inventory management process for our clients’ increasingly complex logistical needs. We felt so strongly about the positive benefits of this new tool that we patented it – cementing its innovative worth and securing it for our customers’ use.
For more on Skustack, visit skustack.com. There you will learn more about our newly-patented inventory tracking system as well as all the details about how it can improve nearly every aspect of your e-commerce business’s logistical workflow. Of course, you can always contact us directly here at SellerCloud to learn more about this and all of our other e-commerce tools.