This is the first in a series of blog posts that spotlight the great work of Citrix innovators in our Bangalore office.
Over the past few years, Citrix has worked to foster innovation through initiatives like our Lean Innovation Challenge, tech fairs, hackathons, and more. Some employees, like Software Engineer Praveen Raja Dhanabalan, have leveraged these initiatives to supercharge their innovative pursuits. In the last three and a half years, Praveen has filed 54 patents (14 of which have been granted), including 18 in 2018 alone. Here, he talks about how he tackles challenges around the patent process, the advice he has for creative thinkers, and how the simplest ideas are often the best.
How did you get started filing patents?
It all started with a Citrix hackathon event four years ago. Chaitra Ramaiah, a colleague of mine, and I worked on an idea around TCP optimization, and we felt that we could explore the patent route. We worked on the idea, and extended it into an invention disclosure, and we were eventually awarded a patent.
What challenges have you encountered around the process and how have you overcome them?
It is challenging to fight back when some of your best ideas get rejected. It’s important to not give up and spend some time for introspection. Take a step back, understand the reason for rejection, and work further on the idea. This approach will either help strengthen the idea or open us possibilities to build another idea on top of your existing one. I have succeeded by continuously following this process.
What advice would you give fellow creative thinkers?
Start with an idea in an area or domain of your expertise. Spending time to refine your idea is important, but understand that submitting the idea to get quick feedback from the patent committee is equally important. I would suggest spending no more than a week to build and narrow down on an idea and to submit the idea as early as possible. Even if the idea gets rejected, stay strong and build on it and submit new ones.
You have submitted more than 50 patents. What inspires you?
Innovation is fun. I like to solve problems. Once you start enjoying solving problems, you get inspired to work on more complex opportunities. It also helps deepen your knowledge of new domains.
What about pursuing simple ideas?
The simpler the idea, the better the scope of the patent because it provides a better patent protection. I have done some simple optimizations to TCP and SSL protocols that have earned me patents. So don’t hesitate to submit your ideas to the patent committee. Get feedback and incorporate them. Make it part of your process and you will succeed.