The Inventor's Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas

The Inventor's Bible: How to Market and License Your Brilliant Ideas

by Ronald Louis Docie

Paperback(Third Edition)


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781580081207
Publisher: Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony
Publication date: 01/05/2010
Edition description: Third Edition
Pages: 376
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.80(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

RONALD LOUIS DOCIE’s career in the world of inventions spans more than three decades. His own inventions are found in Wal-Mart, Kmart, and thousands of other outlets. As an agent for inventors, Docie has negotiated over fifty licenses with such companies as General Motors. He is an expert consultant on idea submission to Johnson & Johnson and other prominent companies. Docie is the president of Docie Development, LLC, an international company that provides services for inventors and corporations.

Read an Excerpt

When it comes right down to it, profiting from inventions can be quite simple. All you have to do is determine who wants your invention and find out what companies will develop it into a product, approach these companies and establish a mutually satisfactory value and compensation basis for your invention, and finally sip margaritas on the tropical island of your choice. Okay, that last bit is probably somewhat unrealistic, though there are a few who have accomplished such feats.
Really, though, the process of commercializing your invention and receiving royalties does not have to be complicated. Mostly, it involves good, old-fashioned common sense; a realistic, methodical approach; the ability to communicate effectively with others; and plenty of hard work and perseverance.
This book will help you focus your common sense and develop a realistic, workable plan for commercializing your invention. It will show you how effective communication with a network of industry contacts will help you research your market, target potential business partners, and strike a good deal for your inventions. You’ll have to supply the hard work and perseverance, but as an inventor, you already know all about those.
Ultimately society benefits from good inventions. Though new inventions are not necessary for existence, some inventions make life on the planet better for people and for the environment. The planet’s population is not getting any smaller, and population growth alone will create new challenges and problems in the years to come, necessitating new solutions. This gives inventors a sort of open season for the foreseeable future.
Inventions can only provide a benefit if they come into commercial use. The Inventor’s Bible will help you convey your valuable knowledge and developments to others so society can benefit and you can gain fair and just remuneration for your ideas.
The Climate for Independent Inventors
Forty years ago, many corporations had substantial research and development budgets, and the NIH (Not Invented Here) syndrome was prevalent throughout the country, for that matter throughout the world. The NIH syndrome is characterized by the arrogant belief that no one can improve on the company’s own research and development efforts; therefore, companies turned away outside inventors. If it was “not invented here,” they didn’t want it.
In the 1970s corporations became very competitive, and budgets for research and development were among the first to be slashed. As a result, in the 1980s corporations were starving for new products and technologies. There were corporate buyouts; when a company was losing ground in its market, it often bought out a division of another company that had compensatory sales velocity. Corporations also started to show some interest in inventions from outside sources.
In the 1990s and now, invention licensing is at an all-time high. Licensing is in vogue. Corporations have departments for licensing in and licensing out. Many large corporations are now offering disclosure agreements and welcoming submissions from outside inventors.
One of the biggest turn-offs for companies is being approached by uninformed inventors with unrealistic expectations. Inventors often submit inventions without doing their homework; they are notorious for submitting inventions to the wrong type of companies. This wastes everyone’s time. I will tell you how to identify and communicate with companies in the appropriate industries to help you ascertain: whether there is a market for your invention, what the perceived value is for your invention in the marketplace, which of those companies may be appropriate to commercialize your invention, and how to structure the best deal to maximize your potential profits.
Why Did I Write This Book?
There is a great deal of information available on the subject of patenting and negotiations. However, detailed information about how to get from product development to finding manufacturers and licensees is largely missing. There is also a general lack of information for inventors on some of their most vital concerns: What is my invention worth? What steps should I take first? Is free government help available? Who can I trust, and how can I keep from getting ripped off?
When I invented my own safety product for automobiles at the ripe age of twenty-one, I had all the same concerns. I proceeded down an arduous path, asking others, “What do you do when you think up an invention?” Within three years, I was capitalized, and the product was on the market. My success brought me into contact with other inventors who sought assistance, so I began Docie Marketing, an organization dedicated to helping independent inventors make it down the rocky road of invention development. I now have twenty-five years of experience as a successful inventor and invention development consultant and can provide a first-hand account of the licensing process to even greater numbers of inventors with this book than I can in my business.
What Is in This Book?
The Inventor’s Bible is a primer for beginners and a detailed overview for experienced inventors and entrepreneurs. It is an in-depth how-to manual on the commercialization process: how to research the market for your invention, how to find manufacturers and potential licensees, how to develop a licensing and commercialization strategy, how to identify risks, how to effect commercialization on a low budget, and how to select professionals to help you.
This book explains how to generate money from your invention through licensing. If you want to start a business or commercialize your invention on your own, this book will show you how to develop a realistic market projection, learn the competitive conditions in your industry, identify market and financial risks, and assess other factors important to an inventor or entrepreneur.
As I know from experience, it can be hard for inventors to make the leap from drafting table to marketplace. Chapter 1 is a reality check to help you start looking at your invention in the light of its marketability and its licensability—two things that unfortunately have little to do with whether an invention works or is a fresh idea. This chapter also considers the pros and cons of starting your own invention-based business versus licensing your invention to a manufacturer.
Chapter 2 deals with patent strategy, challenging the notion that applying for a patent is always the first thing an inventor must do before starting the marketing process. Chapter 3 cracks the commercialization code, showing you how to find people in your trade who can provide you with help in the commercialization process. The techniques in this chapter and the next three are at the heart of what I do as an invention development professional.
Chapters 4, 5, and 6 teach you how to target companies that can make and distribute your invention. As you zero in on these companies, these chapters will guide you through protecting your rights, understanding a company’s perspectives, and getting the best possible deal or deals for your invention. Chapter 7 advises you on finding professionals who can help you manage the process.
Throughout this book, numerous sidebars highlight tips and tidbits of information that will help round out your perspective on this process, and provide insider strategies and techniques that may come in handy. I offer insight gleaned from my years in the profession in sidebars marked with this symbol. Sidebars that contain a strategy or technique have this icon next to them. Three case studies are threaded throughout the book, with a segment following the Introduction and each chapter. These real-life examples provide interesting stories of life in the commercialization trenches and teach lessons about both successes and failures.
The end of the book is chock full of information and resources. The appendices include a list of invention evaluation criteria, a sample confidential disclosure agreement, a risk/reward ratio test, a quick-reference flow chart of the invention commercialization process, an inventor’s questionnaire, information about patents and patenting, and a helpful glossary of terms. The extensive inventor-oriented resources section lists free government programs, sources of grant money, useful Web sites, comprehensive databases, inventor’s organizations, relevant publications, conferences, and much more.
The Meaning of Success
What determines whether an invention will be a success or failure? Achieving success is like climbing a ladder. One step is finding and contracting with the manufacturers that will produce your invention. The next successful level is to have your invention distributed to the marketplace. Another step may be to actually receive royalties for your invention. Yet another step may be to receive more money for your invention than what you paid out. Ultimately, inventors would like to see their invention put in the hands of all those people who could use it. I hope The Inventor’s Bible helps you climb to the top of your ladder.

Table of Contents

foreword  xiii
Introduction  1
The Climate for Independent Inventors  2
Why Did I Write This Book?  3
What Is in This Book?  3
The Meaning of Success  4
Case Study: An Automotive Accessory (Part 1)  6
Chapter 1   Commercialization 101  11
Moving from the Drafting Table to the Store Shelf
The Dilemma of Perceived Value  11
Is the Clock Ticking?  13
Prototype, Patent, or Market: Which to Do First?  13
Research Your Industry: The Real First Step  14
Is Licensing Your Invention the Way to Go?  16
Marketability versus Licensability  19
What Do You Have That You Can License?  20
Whom Can You License To?  22
So What Does It Take?  23
Keep It in Perspective  24
Case Study: Tire Technology  25
Chapter 2   Timing Is (Almost) Everything  31
Formulating Your Patent Strategy and Protecting What’s Yours
Just What Is a Patent?  32
How Necessary Is a Patent?  32
Safeguarding Your Proprietary Property  32
Patent Searches  34
Provisional Applications  39
Shop Rights for Employers and Institutions  40
Patent Partners  42
Some Strategies for Patent Holders  44
Foreign Patenting  46
Case Study: An Automotive Accessory (Part 2)  47
Chapter 3   Market and Industry Research  51
Your Ticket to Free Expert Advice and Lasting Business Relationships
Just Talk to People  51
Market Position  55
The Consumer Product Pipeline  56
Pull-Through Sales  61
Mail-Order Markets  62
Interviewing for Industrial Inventions  64
Trade Associations  66
Trade Shows: What’s in Them for You?  67
Test Marketing  74
Why Interviewing Works  78
Anticipated Costs and Timetable  78
What’s Next?  79
Case Study: An Automotive Accessory (Part 3)  80
Chapter 4   Time to Pick the Lineup  83
Qualifying and Contacting Appropriate Licensees
The Smooth Success  84
Picking the Lineup  86
Making Contact  90
What Decision Makers Can Tell You  91
Disclosure Agreements  97
Your Own Disclosure Agreement  99
Patent Strategy, Continued  104
Your Next Steps  105
Case Study: The Picture Perfect Deal? (Part 1)  107
Chapter 5   The Plan Comes Together  113
Submitting to Companies and Forming a Commercialization Strategy
A Few Words about Strategy  113
What to Submit  115
Initial Responses from Key Decision Makers  118
Determining Your Invention’s Market Value  120
Foreign Licensing and Patenting  124
Structuring a Licensing Deal  126
Joint Venture Opportunities  128
Life after Rejection  130
Case Study: The Picture Perfect Deal? (Part 2)  133
Chapter 6   Brass Tacks  145
Negotiating Your Compensation and Other Contract Terms
Royalties  146
Some Thoughts on Negotiating  147
The License Contract  148
Negotiating Contract Terms  149
Contract Terms  151
Other Terms  167
Who Will Determine the Terms and Conditions?  169
Case Study: An Automotive Accessory (Part 4)  171
Chapter 7   Victory through Teamwork  175
When to Use Professional Help and How to Find the Best
Help with Patents  175
Help with Commercializing Your Invention  177
Help with Patent Infringement  180
Case Study: An Automotive Accessory (Part 5)  186
Conclusion   The End of the Rainbow  195
Afterword   The Future for Inventor’s Agents  197
Appendices  199
Appendix A—General Information Concerning Patents  199
Appendix B—Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries  216
Appendix C—Invention Evaluation Criteria  221
Appendix D—Risk/Reward Ratio Chart  225
Appendix E—Simplified Steps: A Quick-Reference Flow Chart of the Invention Commercialization Process  229
Appendix F—Disclosure Agreement  232
Resources  235
Government Contacts  235
Government Programs  236
Patent Searching and Patenting  240
Private Organizations  241
Publications for Inventors  245
Research Resources  245
Small Business Resources  249
Special Resources  251
Trade Shows  253
Glossary  255
Patent and new product marketing workbook  267
Index  354
About the Author  361

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