Today, at an event in New York, GE announced that it will open up "thousands" of patents from its library of some 20,000 to inventors using Quirky's crowdsourced product development platform. That means that if you're bright enough, you can use a GE patent to invent something. GE will still collect royalties on your brain power, but they promise not to sue you.

Quirky, for those of you unfamiliar, is an online social platform that people use to develop relatively simple products with the help of others, and bring them all the way to retail. In general, the products that make it all the way through the platform's gauntlet of development stages are simple little gadgets that make your life better but don't exist. GE is, well, you know what GE is.


Starting next month, GE will being rolling out patents and make them available through a searchable online database. Initially, the "Inspiration Platform" will launch with a few hundred patents and eventually ramp up to several thousand. Quirky says it plans to have some products available in time for Black Friday.

The two companies announced some crazy sounding tech like "optical systems," "barrier coatings," and "Telematics and asset tracking technology" that will be available, but the whole list of usable knowledge isn't yet available. Even if all the patents aren't that exciting, opening up knowledge is always a good thing. Now, it's up to you to do something with it. [Quirky]