Business aviation insights, resources and stories

 Back to Journey

Established Patent Culture Leads To Historic Year For Textron Aviation Inventors

At the heart of any well-known brand lives the products their names were built on. For Textron Aviation, our legendary products are a result of forward-thinking concepts and unique design ideas brought to reality by our skilled employees. A reenergized push to protect those efforts has led to a boost in ideation and yielded an increase in ownership and legal patents.

Recognizing pursuing patents wasn't always top of mind for inventors within the company, Lane Kirstein has been championing recognition for Textron Aviation employees since 2021. Kirstein, serving as the Intellectual Property and Legal Support Specialist for Textron Aviation works with creators to ensure their concepts are protected and documented.

"We used to do 10-12 patent applications a year. As an aviation company, this left a big opportunity for us to showcase and protect novel ideas." explained Kirstein. "Recently, we have really started pushing to create an improved 'patent culture' at the company.”

Creating a patent culture that empowered innovation and creativity would require a buy in from all levels. Kirstein notes that dedication to improvement started at the top with senior leadership.

"Credit should go where it is due, our Senior Leadership Team approved and backed our aggressive efforts to improve patent culture. We doubled the rewards for inventors, cut down on paperwork needed to make a disclosure and got approval for employees to spend their time working with Legal to get patents filed," Kirstein declared.

An attitude for change would be matched with action, seeing a roughly 900% increase in protected designs. According to Kirstein, 2023 presented a historic year for Textron Aviation, filing 124 patents. These enhancements, touching dozens of Textron Aviation products, range from interior cabin concepts and features to exterior lighting improvements.

"The entire company was on board, and it shows our patent culture is trending heavily in a positive direction. We maintained other manufacturers didn't necessarily have more ideas than us, they were just doing a better job at capturing them. Now, having more this year than any other OEM in recent history shows our patent culture has caught up."

Revitalizing the dedication to patents and recognizing those who create them also serves as a reason to believe in Textron Aviation and the company's unwavering commitment to evolving its products into the future.

"You can use patent activity as a proxy for spending on research and development. Owners should know that Textron Aviation is very actively filing patents and working R&D projects to improve our products and create new ideas," Kirstein detailed, while noting patent activity also elevates notoriety and brand awareness. "Many customers are loyal to the Cessna and Beechcraft brands and their aircraft. Most of the recognizable things that make our aircraft unique are considered Textron Aviation intellectual property. So, patents are also strengthening the products that preserve our brand identity."

Kirstein believes the rejuvenated effort in filing patents will serve as a springboard for Textron Aviation's innovation efforts. Excited for what's to come, he remains confident in his fellow employees and their ability to generate ideas that lead the way to new heights.

"The biggest piece is the inventors who put their time and effort into this. These patents showcase their creativity and expertise. They not only serve as public proof for something new, or novel, but there is pride in being able to show that you invented something. These are people who are very passionate about what we do and the things we create, that enthusiasm shows in their work."