Lucio Pessoa: “Different treasures, different ideas”
Lucio joined the Austin, Texas office of Intellectual Ventures in 2009, attracted to a company that “gives inventors the creativity and freedom to invent.” With a background in signal processing systems, Lucio is an electrical engineer with 90 patents worldwide (issued and pending) who understands better than most that the path to invention does not always run smooth. Lucio says his first patent, U.S. 6,535,552 in the field of digital communications, was one of the most challenging as he worked on the design, implementation, and validation of the patented method in a real-world product.
“A practical approach to invention”
Lucio approaches invention quite systematically—as a science, not an art. He identifies relevant problems that have inadequate solutions based on known techniques. He then deconstructs the problem and identifies key constraints, especially the ones that have opposing influences in the problem. He then looks for simple and practical solutions that can address those constraints, and provide an improvement over known techniques.
“Too often the great ideas are left untapped,” says Lucio. He calls for inventors to be proactive and to take concrete steps to explore their ideas. “At some point an invention can only come out of someone trying something.” Some inventions can be very simple, and some can be very, very complex. Inventors need to look for other experts, creative co-inventors that have prior experience in your area.
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”
Unlike the clichéd lone inventor, working in solitude in a garage, Lucio always found working in a team of inventors to be the most exciting. He uses the example of collaborating with a circuit designer who brought an entirely new perspective and expertise to his work in signal processing. Each would look at the same problem in a different way and together they would uncover entirely “different treasures, different ideas” to pursue.
“A model of the proactive and effective inventor”
While Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison are popular figures in invention history, Lucio found inspiration much closer to home. A prolific inventor with hundreds of patents to his name, William C. Moyer, was a mentor to Lucio and many other engineers while working at Freescale Semiconductor.
“Inventors always believe no one else has thought of this before”
Lucio has also mentored a number of inventors in the early stages of their careers, and in some cases would go on to become a co-inventor in the patent applications. He sees the biggest disconnect for new inventors is in distinguishing their invention from prior art. His advice to other aspiring inventors is to understand the value of intellectual property and to learn the basics of patents and the patenting process. This knowledge can be invaluable as inventors go from initial idea to a protected invention that can be monetized.