42 patents and counting

By: Lauren Tilstra
To inventor Michelle - innovation is in her DNA
This is Inventor, Michelle Felt

At Verizon, we’re inspired and motivated by innovators. So we’re sharing stories from #InventorsWhoInspire as a way to connect with inventors, patent winners, and men and women we’ve met in the tech industry who can offer the best advice on how to create a brighter future for all.

To Michelle Felt – innovation is in her DNA. Felt, who grew up in Seoul, South Korea, comes from a family of scientists, including her father and sister.

In late 2014, we chatted with Felt about the role that inventing plays in her life and about her then 17 U.S. patents. Here’s a video highlighting our conversation:

Michelle now holds 42 U.S. patents and has 29 more pending

Michelle Felt is a patent innovator, holding over 30 patents with the help of Verizon.

Revisiting her today, we found that Michelle has upped the ante and now holds 42 U.S. patents and has 29 more pending. How does she do it, and why? We asked…

What inspires you?  

I am inspired primarily by my experiences. I derive great pleasure from problem solving; the drive to find original and fitting solutions keeps me energized.  I dip into my inner reserves of imagination and creativity to bring new solutions to the forefront.  Finally, I find it most rewarding if my ideas provide dignity and comfort to others and improve their daily life experience.

What sparked your innovation?

For my latest round of patents, I was inspired by the customer experience. Shopping is time consuming and tiring because we visit stores and browse web sites for comparing prices. I wanted to simplify shopping experience to save time and energy.

Tell me a little bit about your invention, what it is, and how you came up with the idea?

Smart shop is a self-monitoring system & shopping automation. In SmartShop, vendors find the shopper and offer products matching the shopper’s criteria (price, buying schedule, specified priority, etc.), and the shopper chooses the lowest bid from the vendors. Through SmartShop, bargain hunters won’t miss great sales anymore and get hooked into the best shopping experience with very little effort and time.

In current online shopping experience, we have to work hard to find vendors who provide our desired products. On the contrary, in SmartShop, vendors do all the work of finding the customer who remains relaxed and waits for the offers.  It is similar to the concept of stock trading and the reverse of e-bay.

What advice would you give any aspiring inventor with an idea?

I love the quote, "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them" by Albert Einstein.

Think out of box! In my case, once I get an idea, I keep polishing my thoughts bit by bit until the concept takes a clear shape, and then present it to the Patent Department for filing the patent application. Inspiration and ideas can come from anywhere. If you have passion for what you are doing, look for plugging the holes with perfect solutions.