97% of all patents never make any more money than the inventor invested in the patent.
It’s a fact I wish every inventor were forced to read and read again. Why does this phenomenon occur? Many inventors utilize their most precious resources, time and money, in inefficient ways. Time and money must be leveraged properly and wisely to gain the most out of both.
One of the most common and most grave mistakes I witness inventors make is to allow fear to dictate their actions. Fear is a powerful emotion, but it often clouds sound judgment. Patent attorneys are more than happy to confirm your greatest fears – that your idea will indeed be ripped off, stolen, lost. It matters not if your product is poorly researched and very well may go nowhere. You’re simply a new client. Before you invest time and money into your idea, you MUST receive some green lights from potential manufacturers and/or licensees.
You need to get some interest from companies that have been in the business of your invention for 10, 20, maybe 30 years. Their feedback is like gold and equally important as doing your market research. Calling and talking to potential licensees basically IS your ongoing marketing research. They’ve seen products come and they’ve seen products go. They are experts in the product category of your invention.
If you attempt to file a patent before you’ve done your research, you’re forgetting that most products undergo a number of changes, both large and small. In my experience, nine out of 10 times you will need to make at least minor changes and quite often major changes after having shown your product to the manufacturer.
Some people freak out about this, although there’s really no reason to. Large companies are usually very uncreative and slow to act. They’ll tell you what they don’t like about your product, but of course they can’t tell you how to fix it. That’s your job! You can fix and resubmit your idea. Maybe you even filed an additional provisional patent application to cover the changes that you have made.
I am going to explore the two facets of protecting your most valuable resources, your time and money, in the next blogs. This includes filing a provisional patent application, creating a sell sheet, and recognizing what you’re really selling – benefits!
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