For Orange, intellectual property is a strategic asset that enables it to protect its interests and enhance its inventiveness. Every year, the IPL department protects more than 200 new inventions from Orange employees. At present, Orange has about 9000 patents helping to maintain its competitive advantage. They cover key technologies in everything from wireless connection, codecs, mobile services and infrastructure, to home services, the Internet of Things, security, AI and data. That is why the Group created the community of inventors Luminis. “We’re hoping to achieve a number of things here, like inspiring a common culture and helping inventors learn more about intellectual property,” says Sandrine Millet, Director of the IPL department.
Luminis, the Orange community of inventors, will allow inventors to discuss their questions and concerns and build the Group’s intellectual property culture together.
Emmanuel Le Huérou, an Orange researcher and a member of the community, has worked in voice communication services and now focuses on activities that combine financial services with transactional messaging. He and his team help paint a picture of what the digital world is bringing to the banking industry: “The creation of Orange Bank gave us the chance to come up with innovative solutions that meet users’ needs while respecting banking sector regulations.” Many patents have been filed in the banking world in connection with concepts invented by Orange as a telecoms carrier. The functionalities of Orange Bank’s family offer, the Premium Pack, are an example of this.
A Place for the Meeting of Minds
Luminis aims to create a space where 100 or so inventors, selected for their contribution to the Group’s patent portfolio, will have valuable opportunities to discuss the issues surrounding intellectual property. “This community gives us a better insight into the work of the different intellectual property stakeholders, from the patent attorney to the patent analyst,” says Le Huérou. “For example, with the benefit of a patent attorney’s expertise, an inventor will have a better idea of the advantages and disadvantages of filing a patent.”
Better Understanding the Work of Inventors
This community aims to strengthen the close collaboration between inventors and patent attorneys so that they can determine how best to protect each invention. This marriage of expertise—technology on the one hand, intellectual property on the other—means Orange can build a patent portfolio that is suited to its innovations.
Félix Henry, a researcher in the video compression industry who works on video coding standards, believes Luminis will help him better understand the work of inventors: “Bright ideas and patents are not enough to reap the all benefits of inventions.” They still need to be recognized in standards and regulations. At that stage, researchers have to prove that their patents meet the requirements of the standard. According to Henry, “if you want to achieve this, it’s better to know in advance how patent attorneys write patents. The work only ends once a standard is released that includes your technology.” This is a lengthy but essential process, and an inherent part of an inventor’s job. Orange’s community of inventors should help illuminate this standardization process.
In a very tangible way, Luminis lets inventors discuss the problems they face and find ways to overcome them.
A Mutually Beneficial Arrangement
The community will encourage peer-to-peer discussions. Le Huérou hopes they will “lead to the realization, for example, that a lot of us have the same questions, which we can talk about in complete confidence, and maybe even open up new questions that we wouldn’t otherwise have thought of.”
Millet believes “this community will strengthen bonds and lead to greater collaboration between the patent portfolio’s different stakeholders, by facilitating valuable conversations to help them get to know and understand each other even better.”