Entrepreneur / Inventor Exchange


Entrepreneur / Inventor Exchange

A forum for engineers who aspire to become inventor-entrepreneurs to learn the pitfalls of the business and the most likely paths to success.

Members: 169
Latest Activity: Apr 27

Discussion Forum

Ross Engineering - A Florida Civil Engineering Consulting Firm

Started by Robert Ross, P.E. Mar 7, 2015. 0 Replies

Thank you for accepting me into your website and forum. I am one of the founders and owners of Ross Engineering, a Florida civil engineering consulting firm. We started in 2003 and have slowly grown…Continue

Tags: storming, green, building, brain, innovation

Electrical engineer specializes in sensors needed for a project

Started by hugh Jul 13, 2014. 0 Replies

Hello All,I'm looking for an electrical engineer who is well versed with sensors to help put together a system.  I'm offering monetary compensation as well as partnership.  I'd appreciate any…Continue

Patent Valuation Group

Started by Roderick Whitfield Nov 2, 2013. 0 Replies

There is a "Patent Valuation"  Group  on linkedin.com that has some great content discussions even course details on Intellectual Property.Continue

Virtual Prototyping versus Physical Prototyping

Started by Roderick Whitfield Feb 13, 2012. 0 Replies

Patrick Dickerson is the owner of the  Animated Pixel atThe Animated Pixel  who is a virtual prototyper  in which vurtual prototyping has…Continue

Tags: sales, orders, for, Prototyping, Marketing

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Comment by Andres Bernal on October 8, 2010 at 6:46am
Ross and Tim, thanks for the insight.
A formal document before I give my idea would protect it from the client copying it... but that is not my main concern.

My question was more about a strategy for getting more out of the idea itself. For example some sort of royalties agreement....or something... i don't know the options...

I'll try to give an analogy:
The client comes to me and says: "I want to make a beginner golf ball that doesn't slice". Although to the client this seems like an "idea", he really just identified a need. He has no clue on how to make this happen.
In order to get the job, I would have to come up with a concept in aerodynamic terms for this ball to work. Then, explain it to the client for him to move ahead with the project (thus giving away the invention or concept for free...and hoping to get the design job)...

The client loves it and gives me the design job. I immediately get to work, go through the design process, the prototyping process, testing...it works!..thank you very much... here's your check...

Client goes to china makes tooling for this ball, and sells millions....

What are the strategies out there (or types of agreements) to get more value out of creative ideas?... Some sort of royalties clause come to mind, but I am hoping somebody here knows more details of how this is done...

Thanks again.
Comment by Tim Montano on October 2, 2010 at 5:21pm
Perhaps this is a bad job of paraphrasing and a analogy but, this is what your situation sounds like to me.

Suppose your "client" with a "need" is a car owner. The problem he needs fixed is his car.

He brings it to you to meet his "need;" which is to fix his car.

In your description, it's as though when this "client" pays his bill he not only gets his car fixed but, he gets to keep all the tools you used and all the ideas and experience you applied to fix his car.

It's a frustrating and unfair situation to be sure.

I don't think there's anything I can tell you that you may have already considered so please pardon me if I come across like some kind of "Know-It-all." (I don't know it all)

I use this analogy because my main line of work is automotive customizing. I used to have customers come in and have me work on their vehicles. Over time many of my customers would allow me to use my own designs.

Inevitably, a small percentage of those who gave me free-reign with my custom designs would turn right around and copy my designs and thereby profit from something that they hadn't paid for or agreed to in advance.

Because of my own ignorance and inexperience in these situations, I felt there was really nothing I could do about it until I finally had enough and started clarifying the terms of our transaction; both verbally and in writing.

Since I started doing that, I've had no further copy-cat problems. (That I know about) In fact, I had a slight increase of new customers because now, any prospective customer that liked my design/work had to come to me rather than those previous customers that may have turned right around and copied my design by using another (usually cheaper) source for the same work.

Simply reading what I written thus far may tend to conjure up visions of complicated legal formality but, nothing could be farther from the truth. I run a small shop. I work one-on-one with each customer. The short verbal explain the terms of our transaction are also hand written on my receipt.

I suppose you could get an attorney to write you up a legal document stating your specific terms but, for me, it's nothing any more complicated than that.

In situations such as those you've inquired about, this is what's seemed to work for me.

I hope I made some kind of sense.

Tim M.



He brings it to you
Comment by Ross McNeilage on October 2, 2010 at 4:02pm
Hi Andres
Welcome. Experience has shown me that the 80/20 rule is alive and well.. Eighty percent of your clients will generate 20 percent of your income..you spend 80 percent of your time generating income for now and 20 percent for later, or on activity that will payoff later. You probably need to learn to live with it.
Take great advice from Brian Fried, at http://
and gotinvention.com

Read the attachments on my Future Trends forum.
Do you understand copyright law as it stands in your country?
In Australia we put a copyright at the bottom of every page of a presentation so the prospective client understands from the very start that the ideas are ours alone until we are engaged and the contract is worded to effect a transfer of the ownership of the copyright, upon receipt of payment in full. If we have an ongoing contract for the support of a website, then we keep the copyright at all times and charge a dollar per hour rate for maintenance.
Don't expect to be paid for a concept presentation, or the work put into it, that falls in the '20 percent of your time' basket.

Hope some of this helps as you have not indicated what sort of creative business you are in.

Comment by Andres Bernal on October 1, 2010 at 8:07am
Hi Everybody,
I see that there is a great deal of experience in this group. Everybody seems to be an accomplished entrepreneur or inventor or both!... I am just beggining my career as entrepeneur/inventor, so I hope I can find some good advice!
I've been independent for the past year and have managed to survive while learning the basic business chores.
However, I find myself lacking the business/legal experience needed to make the most of my business...

For example: Usually the client comes to me with a need, as opposed to a fully developed idea. In order to get the job, I come up with a concept/solution to propose to the client ..... Thus, I find myself giving away the creative idea in order to get the design job...

What would be your strategy to get compensation/protection for the concept and at the same time be able to show the client you have a solution without giving it away for free?...

Thank you in advance...!
Comment by Roderick Whitfield on September 30, 2010 at 2:47pm
What do you think about an inventor that invented a car that truely flies and is already a marketable product, tune into invention radio tonight and every
Thursday night at 8:00PM EST or 7:00PM CST using the following link:
Invention talk radio sponsored by Inventors Digest Magazine!
Comment by Roderick Whitfield on September 19, 2010 at 5:02pm
During the product development cycle, lets call it Total product development using the following:
(1)Survey the invention or new product(is there a need for it) ?
(2)Decide on design, implementing quality into the design(form, function,constaints etc.) .
(3)If your design is of acceptable function, and quality then file for intellectual property protection, build prototype
(4) Your survey was positive and there is a market for your concept then try to
license it to potential companies using your prototype,
(5) Now do another marketing survey to see if it as a physical product is still in demand using your prototype if so and its not licensed yet you may have consider custom manufacturing using small production Runs!
Comment by Roderick Whitfield on September 9, 2010 at 10:53am
Provisional patents really are not worth much just one year of public notararity
as compared to real protection(patents, copyrights, trade secrets etc.), right?
Comment by Roderick Whitfield on August 8, 2010 at 2:08pm
Intellectual Property is property based new ideas and concepts that equate to value
it is several types such as copyrights which are the property of the author for life,
copyrights protect written works, motion/ still pictures. The patent protects new and usefull novelties such as inventions and last about 21 years for utility patents and 14 years for design patents, Trade secrets are protected as long as they are kept secret from the public but all can be passed on to estates.
Comment by Roderick Whitfield on July 29, 2010 at 6:17pm
Thank you Tim for the added information and maybe this will give the inventive minds to make a dash towards entrepreneural progress!
Comment by Tim Montano on July 27, 2010 at 8:12pm
If I understand the definition of Intellectual Property correctly, then it would be possible to inherit or pass ownership on within ones' estate.

In order to mitigate the chances of looking like a babbling fool, I googled up a few pages of information on the subject of Intellectual Property.

From the explanations given, it appears that when Intellectual Property is held by an individual they can indeed pass it on to their heirs.


This is a link to one of the pages I came across. It may be far more useful than my informal replies.

Tim M.

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