Author: John Rau

Don’t Ignore this 4-Letter Word: Risk

Risk is a crucial consideration for all inventors.   Inventors seek patent protection for many reasons. There is the fear that others might steal their idea; personal credibility or vanity; for the experience; the potential to make money from the patented new product; and perhaps because someone told them they should do it. But as with many other endeavors, it’s imperative to consider the risk factor. Sean Butner addressed this in his chron.com article, “What Risk Does an Inventor Assume When Filing for a Patent for an Invention?” Good question! On the other hand, what risks does an inventor...

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Know Who You Are Before Going Too Far

Self-assessment, early market research should be among your initial steps.  Generally speaking, inventors typically fall into one of five following categories: 1. People with one or more ideas but don’t know how to move forward. 2. First-time inventors. You’ve decided to develop your new invention idea but need guidance as to how to proceed. 3. Experienced inventors. You have filed and/or obtained one or more patents and maybe have even obtained a licensing agreement. 4. Professional inventors. You make a living as an inventor, having commercialized your inventions, and probably have several projects in development. 5. Invention manufacturers. You...

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Know the Whys of Your Invention

Understanding the reason for a product or service can help in marketing efforts.  In this space I’ve often discussed the reasons a product is marketable, and what inventors can do to make that happen. But to better understand that, it can be helpful to consider why people invent in the first place. The idealistic answer might be to build a better planet, to help others, or to make life easier. Other reasons include curiosity, to solve puzzles, a sense of feeling creative, or a desire for fame and fortune. Or sometimes, there’s no reason at all. Mark Twain said,...

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A Jolly Good Marketer

Inventors can apply Santa’s methods and spirit throughout the year.  Though store displays for Christmas long ago gave way to Valentine’s Day material, inventors can learn from Santa Claus’s approach to marketing and consider it all year. Think about it: Santa has a well-defined target market and understands its demographics—namely, wellbehaved little boys and girls worldwide. He has to be the ultimate inventor in the sense of designing a delivery system that meets some enormously challenging requirements. How else can he deliver more than a billion packages to expectant children within a 24-hour period on Christmas Eve? Santa Claus...

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Your Aha Moment May Be Coming

BUT IT’S HARD TO KNOW WHEN THE LIGHT BULB WILL TURN ON Have you ever had that “light-bulb moment” when suddenly, you see the solution to a problem? Whether you’re an inventor or not, this is also called an “aha moment,” which the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines as “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.” Henry Ford described this phenomenon: “The air is full of ideas. They are knocking you in the head all the time. You only have to know what you want, then forget it, and go about your business. Suddenly, the idea will come...

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