Entrepreneur / Inventor Exchange

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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: 171
Latest Activity: Jun 12, 2018

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 Ronald J Riley on October 23, 2009 at 7:13pm
"Patents are in the main a complete waste of time for the individual inventor."

This is not true. It was true from 1920 to about 1960 but since that time much has changed. I left a subsidiary of Sun Oil in 1990 and made enough money from my inventions that I have not had to work since.

I know many inventors who succeed. While I turned my attention to inventor advocacy I have friends and colleagues who have made millions and in a handful of cases billions of dollars.

I am not saying it is easy. There are many pitfalls. But determined inventors can and do kicking the living s*** out of large patent pirating companies.

And yes, engineers can learn to be entrepreneurs. I am one example of this. Ed Zimmer is another and today runs a foundation specifically for that purpose. The web site is a very good resource. See his web site at: www.TENOnline.org.

Ronald J. Riley,


I am speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
President - Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.
Comment by Jon Connell on October 23, 2009 at 2:28pm
I have been inventing various things - albeit in broadly the same industry - for most of my career. I have the following for you all - in brief.

The idea is actually only 20% of the formula. Marketing and funding are the 80% part of the mix and by far more important.
I sometimes lose sleep over all the good ideas which must be fading away every minute of the day because we engineers are not necessarily good business people.

Never use any inventor business services - online or otherwise - to assist you with your invention. The best ones cherry-pick the good ideas and the worst ones simply take your money.

The best idea in the world will go nowhere fast without funding and marketing.

Patents are in the main a complete waste of time for the individual inventor.
Patents are useful to corporations and add value to a company. Unless your idea is a true turn of the wheel in basic physical technology, the chances are that it can be worked around by a good engineering team. Your money would be better spent on placing it with a backer or manufacturer. Spend your money on marketing yourself and the idea and a small amount on NDA and confidentiality agreements before your disclose to potential investors. Any patent attorney worth his salt should tell you the same thing btw.

If you really must patent your idea, remember that there are two types of patents - utility and design. If your idea is good is should get a utility patent. Many unscrupulous attorneys will go ahead and register a design patent for you - on an idea which is not truly worthy of a utility patent. Design patents are effectively worthless to the individual inventor. I see independent designers getting ripped off in this way regularly in my day to day consulting business.

The best idea in the world is worthless if it does not get manufactured and brought to market. Like a tree falling in a forest your idea makes no mark on this world if you fail to bring it to market and the idea has no audience.

As engineers we are in a position to truly change the world we live in - in a way which can be truly immediate and more direct than many other professional disciplines. Ideas are priceless - some anyway. We have a responsibility to understand not just what we do best, but also what - to many of us - is the less fun stuff - the business of doing business.

Understand the business you are in. Understand marketing - both of yourself and of the final use of the idea. Understand finance, design, manufacturing and sales channels. Only by getting a firm handle on these do we become successful inventors.

My 25 cents.


Jon Connell, IESNA
www.productswithpassion.net
Comment by John R. Gyorki on October 23, 2009 at 3:14am
Invention Promotion Fraud refers to those people and organizations that advertise in all media to help you obtain patents on your ideas. They advertise on radio, TV, newspapers, magazines, and the Internet. They claim to know how to get the patent protection for you easier and faster than you can do it for yourself. But, in fact, they are in business to steal your money. You end up thousands of dollars poorer, and most often, without a patent. As Mr. Riley says, legitimate patent lawyers do not need to advertise. They get their business by referrals. I recommend going to www.InventorEd.org/caution and the links for more information. John R. Gyorki -- Editorial Director
Comment by Ronald J Riley on October 22, 2009 at 6:35am
One of the biggest pitfalls is invention promotion fraud. Legit promoters rarely advertise, the reason being that good ones have plenty of word of mouth business. There is a reason that those doing the advertising need to do so. The typical success rate for first time inventors is about 2% and for repeat inventors it is in the 70-80% range. First time inventors who use the wrong promoter success arte is between ZERO and 0.2% with the majority being at the low end.

Patents obtained by promoters are usually far narrower than they should be and by the time the inventor figures this out it is usually too late to expand the claims. Even worse is that the poorly drafted issued patent becomes prior art which prevents the inventor from getting a patent on their invention.

InventorEd.org has been tracking promoters for about a decade. See www.InventorEd.org/caution.

Ronald J. Riley,


I am speaking only on my own behalf.
Affiliations:
President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
Senior Fellow - www.PatentPolicy.org
President - Alliance for American Innovation
Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
Washington, DC
Direct (810) 597-0194 / (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 8 pm EST.
Comment by John R. Gyorki on October 22, 2009 at 5:01am
If you are not self employed, how you profit from your inventions depends on your employer. Most ethical companies have definite policies regarding inventions, patents, and royalties. If this is important to you, find out all you can about company policy before you hire in. Having said that, when you are aboard, keep accurate, legal notebooks and team up with another engineer who can vouch for you in case of a dispute. And submit your applications to the legal department as soon as you can. For example, in my own experience, engineers in my department held engineering design meetings monthly and many innovative ideas came up. One guy in particular made a habit of submitting patent applications on everyones ideas within minutes after the meeting! We did not catch on until the other engineers had their own patent application ideas rejected later because Ned got our ideas in before we had a chance to refine them and do some testing. Not even pounding on the wall (as Dave once did) would not change anything after the application was submitted, signed, and dated. Stay tuned to this channel. I invited a lawyer and a "professional" inventor to join our discussions. Maybe we can get them to share some "good stuff" with us. John R. Gyorki -- Editorial Director
Comment by David Eldridge on October 16, 2009 at 12:50pm
San Jose Medical Device Design Engineering Firm Launches New Website: www.proengineerportal.com
Comment by Jim Hill on October 1, 2009 at 7:41am
The other problem with it is as a company matures, it stifles innovation. The senior management get a good bit of their pay from the royalties on the old technology. The incentive is now to squash any new ideas that would threaten it. Add that to the natural egos and you have blood on the R&D floor.
Comment by Peter Bessey on October 1, 2009 at 2:19am
Problem is, an alternative is very difficult to setup if it is not kept black and white. It's the same in the sciences and for design/development generally. When you are in a 'creative/inventive' environment it is extremely hard to differentiate where work ends and domestic starts. The brain will be operating on problems and ideas 24/7. How do you determine if an idea is sprung from work issues or if it is helped/modified by work issues?
 

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