Case 1308 Texting While Driving ended 3 week run with no decisive conclusion even though public response was immediate and furious. Simply put, there is no technology, both in cars or cell phones, that cannot be disabled by drivers. Since TWD is a form of addiction, that makes it almost impossible to eliminate TWD other than self-discipline coupled with thorough law enforcement. I feel great sympathy to many parents who emailed me expressing their serious concern for the safety of their children. Sorry, but we just have to wait technology to advance or people voluntarily stop TWD. And that includes your teenage and college kids.
Case 1309 Monetizing One’s Patents:
About once a week I receive an inquiry or two from those 99% inventors about their one big problem. That is “how to monetize their patent, once he/she gets one?” Applying for a patent is a rather expensive process, and if you are not employee of a large corporation, you have to pay the expense all by yourself. Let’s say that comes to an average of $15,000.00 till a patent finally gets granted. Now what? Is the question the inventor instantly ends up asking, and he/she needs the answer very soon afterward.
A patent is perishable goods with a finite shelf life of say 17 years. You might say that’s a long time compared with apples and bananas in the produce section of a supermarket. Fruits and vegetables have a much shorter shelf life, but they are produced continuously through a year. A patent is a unique license granted by the government exclusively to its holder. However, patents age fast through its 17-year journey. First of all, technology changes very quickly. A new concept having some positive monetary value today quickly fades to an average uninteresting concept with disappearing monetary value.
The biggest problem inventors face is the marketing of his/her own inventions. In fact many small time inventors get discouraged after receiving a US patent, and couldn’t do a thing with it. Let’s just assume that the patent is the result of the inventor identifying a problem, and developing an appropriate solution for it. And that means the problem isn’t unique to his perception, but common to many other people and/or situation specific to the industry or consumer market. So, why aren’t there any parties coming forward out of woodwork to want to buy, license or doing both?
This question, a very good and natural one, puzzles almost all 99% inventors after plunking his hard earned money to patent processes. Elation of receiving a patent with that impressive parchment certificate with red ribbon soon dies out and a long silence starts. The world doesn’t come banging your door down. Nobody seems to care that you got a patent, and the long silent period of 17 years starts.
If you have a retail store, you know you have to let people know that you exist. You’d run advertisements in various media, run sale events with deep discount, and in general greet in-coming customer with pleasant smile and greeting. In general you have to exude success.
If you have a patent, you have to do the same. Instantly you’d ask “HOW?” I don’t have a patent store, do I? In fact there are no stores that sell patents even if I’d want to display my patent.
Now you see the problem that blocks you from making any profit from your own invention. A woman approached me on the downtown street the other day and told me that her husband, a bright engineer, holds three patents. But, those patents have yielded so far no income whatsoever, and he is working on another one. She sees nothing but a substantial expense and no return on his/her investment. She says “My kitchen needs an upgrade.”
Next week on this Case 1309 I suggest a solution for this large and serious problem.