Inventors’ Friends and Enemies

One key to success as an inventor is to discover early on who are your friends and who are your enemies. Your friends will help you to succeed, your enemies will help you to fail.

Inventors have 2 friends and 2 enemies.

Two Friends of Inventors

Two friends that every inventor should be aware of and embrace:

  1. Members of your local inventor’s club
  2. Your patent attorney

Inventing is a strange career with many emotional ups and downs and most inventors do not achieve commercial success with their products. You will soon discover that it is unproductive to talk to your friends and colleagues at work about your invention (more about this later). They will never understand what you are doing and, more especially, why you are doing it.

Guess who will understand what you are doing and why you are doing it? Other inventors in your local inventor’s group. There are inventor’s groups or clubs in all 50 states and most major cities. The members of these organizations are inventors like you, also patent attorneys, prototypers and other helpful resources. Everyone in the organization is going through the same crazy process as you are – it is like a 12 step program for inventors. But, you will get lots of ideas and help from the members; you are all in this together.

Inventor’s clubs are the best resource I have found as an inventor – definitely a friend to the inventor.

 

Another friend for every inventor is their patent attorney.

Finally, there is an attorney who can actually help you to make money! He or she is definitely your ally and friend during the long, circuitous path of multiple years required to prosecute a patent successfully. A good patent attorney is worth his weight in gold.

Two Enemies of Inventors

Here are the 2 enemies:

  1. Your friends and colleagues at work
  2. Invention submission companies

Every new inventor feels excited when that aha moment strikes and a new invention idea pops into her head. Finally, a solution to a vexing, annoying problem and it’s my idea, she thinks. So, she tells all her friends and colleagues about her exciting new product idea. Bad idea.

We will assume that she doesn’t divulge any key details, just high level stuff so her patent options are all intact. Still a bad idea to tell them. Why? They won’t understand anything about the process. The more you tell them, the more they think you are crazy.

You are spending how much money hoping to obtain a patent? Oh, your product is not in any retail stores, so you have no sales or money coming in, only going out? You don’t know if you will ever get a patent successfully issued or if you will ever license your product?

Suddenly the inventor feels crushed by all the negative opinions of friends and may question her own sanity.

These folk are enemies if you are an inventor; and it’s best to tell them as little as possible.

Invention submission companies are likewise not your friends. There are very few companies that actually help inventors to license their products. The odds of success are very low and few companies could make much profit if their success is tied to the inventor’s success (in licensing their product).

Invention marketing companies provide a variety of high-profit, boiler plate products and services that succeed only in draining thousands of dollars from the inventor’s bank account. The invention marketing company succeeds the moment they cash the inventor’s check. They will create impressive looking marketing studies and materials that they hand out to indifferent trade show attendees who simply dump them in the trash. Very expensive recycling.

Sometimes after being bilked of $10,000, $20,000 or more, the inventor will hire an attorney to sue the invention marketing company for fraud. Unfortunately the invention submission companies anticipate such lawsuits; their contracts with customers are vaguely worded and, upon detailed scrutiny, don’t actually promise to provide anything beyond “marketing materials.” Marketing materials were provided as promised, no fraud committed. Case closed.

Invention submission companies are definitely not your friends.

Stay tuned!

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About ideaworth

Ideaworth is a blog on a variety of invention topics to help inventors to avoid pitfalls and to find resources to help them in their quests for success. Alan Beckley's first invention, the Wonder Wallet is a DRTV hit, selling on television, HSN and available in Walmart and other major retailers.
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2 Responses to Inventors’ Friends and Enemies

  1. ItGoesOn says:

    For what it’s worth – based on 30 years in this inventing ‘game’ here’s my take or this subject.
    AN INVENTOR HAS NO FRIENDS.
    Inventors clubs are a great source of finding out some of the basics and most importantly – after listening to the failure of others there – WHAT does NOT work. The members are generally nice people BUT they are not really on your side because they are so wrapped up in their own ‘world’ – their own invention. And at worst some are possible ideas ‘vampires’ preying on new- comers – above all do NOT get involved in partnerships. I know because I was involved in ‘clubs’ for years.
    Patent attorneys are not your friend either – they are just like all other lawyers – they only want your money – even if they don’t like your idea or think it will not be patentable they will still talk you into a preliminary application and expensive patent searches. You cannot sue them later to recover your costs because they to do NOT guarantee your invention will succeed past the filing process. They are also NOT your friends because it’s WHAT they DON”T tell you. Such as the huge amount of $$$$ (up-front) it will cost you to get an infringer into court and much more in legal fees to defend your patent. – And that even if you did win a multi million dollar settlement you have little chance of recouping a single penny if the infringer is a $2 company with no assets. I know because it happened to me.
    I do however agree with the TWO enemies – But for other reasons. You should never believe anything fellow workers and your friends tell you – why ? for several reasons 1) To save hurting your feelings they will not tell you the truth. 2) They will only tell you what you want to hear. 3) They don’t want you to succeed because that will make them feel threatened and inadequate. 4) They will think you are getting beyond your ‘station’. Even if they say you’re a genius and love your idea don’t get too excited and don’t get into a partnership with them if you value their friendship. I know because I lost a good friend doing just that. A lesson well learnt too by the original Facebook partners. If you must get advice get it from un-bias sources like this web site.
    The invention submission/development companies are the ‘REAL IDEAS VAMPIRES’ – they use your enthusiasm for your idea (they don’t care about) – NOT to get at your throat – your WALLET.
    The easiest part of inventing is getting the idea – the rest is the hard work. The more you have to rely on others the more it will cost you. There is no rush – take the time to re-invent yourself by learning all you can before filing for a patent. The most important segments are ; product researching – prototyping – manufacturing.- doing your own promotions at trade shows – and marketing. The invention journey takes many years of hard work – and even if your first invention doesn’t make the grade – others you invent along the way will. I know because I’ve done it.
    Happy Inventing.

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