This Spider-Blocker Has Some Sound Advice About What To Do With Your Inventions

In 2002, Stefan Lehmann made a giant leap. He moved from the shores of the Baltic sea to the dry heat of Tucson, Arizona. While there’s plenty of “beach” in his new home, but no water, Stefan’s liquid assets—his innovative mind and client-centric focus—are celebrated at the IBM Systems Storage Hub in Tucson.

In his more than 20 years with the company, Stefan has contributed in a number of roles. He is currently a lead for Data Retention Infrastructure (Data Protection and Retention), where he and his team earned a patent while working to resolve a real client pain point.

When network security audits and scans are performed, automated crawlers—called ‘spiders’—try to post to web forms. “For web-based tape storage products, posting to some of these web forms could result in disruptions to the tape product itself,” he explains.

“For example: a spider might post to a form designed to manage configuration settings of a storage product.” Not good.

Stefan and team’s innovation equips forms to ask intelligent questions about storage products to which they’re coupled. “Our solution is unique because the questions are specific to the storage product itself. So anyone that knows about the storage product will be able to answer the question properly, while a spider will not,” said Stefan.

Stefan traded the shores of the Baltic Sea for the unending “beaches” of Tucson, Arizona. “My wife always says I’m like a fish out of water.”

Stefan encourages everyone to participate in the patent process. “If you have great ideas that are going to be put into a product, or could be put in a potential future enhancement … take credit for doing so by submitting a patent and be recognized for your work.”


Where should you start? He shares, “I’d certainly advise any current or future inventor to be part of an invention group or circle. Many of the inventions I filed over the years were a result of brainstorming with a set group of team members, either on a regular base, or during the ongoing development process for a new product.”

He also reminds you to keep your options open: “Keep in mind that you are not limited to ideas that pertain to your direct job responsibility.” Sound advice from this fish out of water.

Stefan Lehmann is a Data Retention Infrastructure (DRI) Lead Reliability, Availability, Serviceability (RAS) Engineer for IBM North America.

The IBM Patent Leadership series marks IBM’s 25th consecutive year leading in patent grants. The series consists of innovation stories from remarkable IBMers who help make this company what it is and has been for over a century: a collection of inquisitive, restless, determined humans who drive the culture of innovation within and beyond our walls.

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