The Process of Invention

More Advice for Independent Inventors

I have had a rash of independent inventors calling over the last few weeks, all with very sincere and heartfelt belief in their ideas. My first advice is always to do a business plan, but I also suggest that the independent inventor do as thorough a patent search as possible. The basic advice to a new inventor: learn everything you possibly can.

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The Importance of Patent Searches

This report on talks about the Euro notes that may possibly infringe a European Patent. The patent holder is apparently seeking a reasonable royalty for the literally billions of Euro notes in circulation.

Let this serve as an example of how operating in a vacuum can be a bad thing.

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How To Save Costs on Patent Drafting

There are many ways to save costs on patent drafting. You can do a search beforehand; you can work on the idea with someone else so that you can explain it well and identify the new elements; you can have some good drawings prepared.

Even if you do all of that, there is one critical thing you need to do: ask your patent attorney/agent how fast they can type. If you are paying by the hour, and even if you are not, you don’t want someone who types at 5 words per minute to pound out a 20 page patent application.

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When the Stars Align and Intuition Takes Over

I received an email from a long lost friend from a time in my career when I was at the top of my game. I had the opportunity to design a certain set of products for which I was very aptly and strangely prepared. Over the course of 3 or 4 years, I was able to single-handedly transform these products from very crude prototypes into a very well-honed and extraordinarily robust and reliable design.

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Chances of Success

The Patent Pending Blog has a great post on the chances of success for independent inventors. The bottom line: 5% or so of the independent inventors that Bob Shaver sees actually winds up making money off of their patents.

This is why the first piece of advice for all independent inventors, especially first timers, is to do a business plan before spending money on a patent.

What I suggest is writing a business plan for a large company in the market that might like to license the invention. This hypothetical company needs to see a definable advantage to the product in their marketplace with their margins.

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