Less than 5% of all patent holders profit from their invention. Almost everyone knows someone who invented something, but never got any traction or success from their concept or idea.
Big innovative technology companies like Apple, Google, Facebook and others have legions of employees hired to find “the next big thing.” It seems that the chances for success for the independent inventor are extremely slim. So, this begs the question:
(Why) Do Inventors Matter?
Inventors, specifically independent inventors matter a lot.
In the 1990s Tomima Edmark felt that women needed a quick easy way to make pony tails. She invented Topsy Tail, a plastic wand for creating inverted pony tails which quickly became very successful, making her a millionaire.
During a post divorce vacation, Roger Adams created Heelys children’s shoes with wheels in the heels allowing them to run and roll. He cashed out his stock worth $10.6 million in 2010.
Sara Blakely invented Spanx, flattering hosiery. Today, at 41, she is estimated to be a billionaire and her company does over $1 billion in sales annually.
All three inventors created new, innovative products that benefited millions of buyers throughout the world.
Increasingly new innovative ideas often come from individuals rather than corporations.
Why? The costs, uncertainties and risks associated with developing innovative new products often conflict with corporate vested interests of maximizing shareholder value and satisfying government agencies. Thus, companies tend to stick with known sales of existing products rather than gamble on developing new ones.
This situation means companies will always be interested in licensing new, innovative products from independent inventors. Companies prefer to work with inventors who have issued patents and proven sales of their products.
For all of the above reasons inventors matter. Don’t give up on your dream.