The third roadblock that deters inventors most often is the fear of being ripped off. So many inventors are plagued by this fear! I’ve met men and women who have been working on the same idea for 10 or 12 years. I ask them, “How many companies have you called?” The majority answer, “Zero.” At best, some have called one or two. They’re too afraid of another company poaching their idea to attempt to license it.
I don’t think companies are out to rip you off. Does it happen? Yes. Is it common? No. Companies are relying on open innovation more than ever because it makes sense. Companies can reduce the amount of funds invested in their research and development departments and you’re able to license your product. Furthermore, they’re able to pick through the products that are going to earn them the most money. It’s a business model that works for everyone. Furthermore, with the advent of the Internet, it’s impossible for companies to hide from the wrongdoings they commit. It’s not worth it. Take Proctor and Gamble. P&G is an enormous company with immense power. In the last year, they introduced over 100 new products to the marketplace that they found from outside innovation.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take precautions, however. Should you send your idea over e-mail? No! Should you file for a provisional patent application? Yes. But more importantly, should you hide your product for fear it is going to be stolen? No. Definitely not. You should educate yourself and take the plunge. I’ve licensed protected and unprotected products throughout my career.
Inventors who are plagued by this roadblock are obsessed with their idea. But what they don’t realize is that’s all its ever going to be… an imagination. Unless you commit to risking getting ripped off, your idea will never become a product. And isn’t that an even worse fate than getting ripped off?
Stephen Key is a successful award-winning inventor who has licensed
over 20 products in the past 30 years. Along with business partner
Andrew Krauss, Stephen runs inventRight,
a company dedicated to educating inventors about selling their ideas
and the skills needed to succeed. You can listen to the weekly radio
show on inventing. Get In The News, list your invention to have media
outlets find you for news stories.