You can be on Entrepreneur’s cover!

Quirky and GE Team Up to Make Inventing Easier The two companies announced a new partnership that'll give citizen inventors access to a portion of GE's patent coffers, as well as a co-branded effort that could effectively appify your home.

By Diana Ransom

entrepreneur daily
bdxpert.com
Ben Kaufman, the founder of Quirky, announced a new partnership with GE through which the industrial giant will release 1,000 patents to the Quirky community.

Ever wondered what you could make with both the schematics and the patents for dual cooling jets or a miniature electric motor? Well pretty soon, you can stop wondering.

The social product-development company that's known for democratizing inventing yesterday announced a new partnership with industrial giant General Electric to help surface ideas and inspire inventions that could both revolutionize the home and the way inventors invent.

"When I started Quirky four years ago, I did it for one reason: To make invention accessible," says Ben Kaufman, the 26-year old founder of Quirky at a press event in New York. The new partnership, he adds, "will allow us to make great products together and change what it means to be an inventor."

The effort will be two pronged: First, Quirky and GE designed an "inspiration platform" that will eventually house the schematics for up to 1,000 patents that the multinational conglomerate plans to release to the Quirky community. When the platform launches in May, Quirky users can expect to be able to flip through GE's available patent options and simply click a button to use them.

Related: Patents and Copyrights: How to Play By the Rules

Note that come launch day, not all of the patents the company plans to release will be available, says GE's CTO Mark Little. The full spectrum will get released over time, he adds.

Besides use of its proprietary patents, GE has offered up tools and other resources to ensure that a Quirky-community generated product using its designs gets made.

Beth Comstock, GE's chief marketing officer, says one of the goals of this platform is to devise commercial applications for patents that were originally designed for big-business products, not necessarily consumer goods. "On a consumer level, it's hard to appreciate or connect to a jet engine," she says. "We felt like we wanted to team with Quirky to bring more of that consumer spirit to life."

As for the second prong, that pertains to a co-branded effort between the two companies called Wink, which is already open for Quirky users to submit ideas. GE and Quirky's joint goal for this initiative is to develop and commercialize a full line of app-enabled products for the home in areas such as health, security, air and water. As Kaufman puts it, "We're about to create things that aren't just more things for you to think about, but things that are actually going to think about you."

Related: The Rising Threat of Patent Trolls and What You Can Do to Protect Your Startup

Several of the products through this initiative are expected to hit store shelves by Black Friday, says Kaufman. For the inventors out there, he adds that the commission structure for products created through either prong of the partnership will remain unchanged.

GE will also see some benefits. In addition to licensing fees for use of its patents, it will receive a share of the revenue when a Wink, or connected device, goes to market, says Tiffany Markofsky of Quirky. GE will also receive royalties on products in which GE patents are used, she adds.

For more on the new initiative, head to Quirky.com/ge.

Think this initiative between Quirky and GE will help ease inventing? Give us your take in the comments below.

Diana Ransom is the former deputy editor of Entrepreneur.com.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Side Hustle

He Took His Side Hustle Full-Time After Being Laid Off From Meta in 2023 — Now He Earns About $200,000 a Year: 'Sweet, Sweet Irony'

When Scott Goodfriend moved from Los Angeles to New York City, he became "obsessed" with the city's culinary offerings — and saw a business opportunity.

Personal Finance

How to Get a Lifetime of Investing Experience in Only One Year

Plus, how day traders can learn a lesson from pilots.

Branding

94% of Customers Say a Bad Review Made Them Avoid Buying From a Brand. Try These 4 Techniques to Protect Your Brand Reputation.

Maintaining a good reputation is key for any business today. With so many people's lives and shopping happening online, what is said about a company on the internet can greatly influence its success.

Travel

Save on Business Travel with Matt's Flight's Premium, Only $80 for Life

This premium plan features customized flight deal alerts and one-on-one planning with Matt himself.

Science & Technology

Here's One Reason Urban Transportation Won't Look the Same in a Decade

Micro-EVs may very well be the future of city driving. Here's why, and how investors can get ahead of it.

Marketing

I Got Over 225,000 Views in Just 3 Months With Short-Form Video — Here's Why It's the New Era of Marketing

Thanks to our new short-form video content strategy, we've amassed over 225,000 video views in just three months. Learn how to increase brand awareness through short-form video content.