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DO INVENTORS HAVE UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS?
By Bob DeMatteis [[email protected]]
Inexperienced inventors frequently have unreasonable ideas about the amount of royalties
they should earn from their ideas. Because of their unrealistic expectations, they are
frequently their own worst enemy when it comes to negotiating with a potential licensee.
Inventors should approach licensing issues and negotiate from the viewpoint of
establishing a partnership... a team which will work together towards a common goal. The
best licensing deals are made when the two parties, the inventor and licensee, negotiate
from "the same side of the fence." The best way for an inventor to do this (if he has the
experience and savvy), is without the help of an attorney.
Attorneys tend to create fences instead. However, I do feel that after the two parties have
agreed on the principles, that an inventor's attorney should have a final review to protect
his interests... to make sure there is not some unseen, unfavorable advantage that the
licensee may have.
There is one other point which is important for an inventor to keep in mind during and
after the licensing process. That is, not to let go of "control" of the invention in it
entirety. Experienced inventors know that can easily lead to disaster. Perhaps a better
word to help an inventor understand his position in the development of the invention is to
think of himself as the "pilot".
New, creative ideas invariably are created by a single person, but sooner or later it will
require a team effort in order to be a success. As the pilot of an invention, it is wise for
an inventor to incorporate the use of other team members... principally they are an
attorney, a manufacturer (or many) and a marketing agencies (which could be a part of the
manufacturer or a separate entity).
But through it all, the inventor must maintain the position as pilot.. Classic examples of
letting go of control are with the invention brokers...which give an inventor a false feeling
of security and hope. An inventor must learn to work within the team that he creates as
the pilot of that team. And through the knowledge he gains in working with that team, he
can then improve the invention (a new patent?) and improve the invention's profitability.
Without maintaining the pilot position, an inventor becomes vulnerable to a licensee's
desires [and demands... which can be unreasonable and unfair to the inventor that gave up
Inventing is a tremendous learning and discovery process. It is not easy... but it is a lot of
fun and can be very rewarding. The pitfalls are many... but so are the rewards. Breaking
downs the barriers (working together as a team) and keeping on top of your invention
(piloting it as though you are the eminent expert in the field in the world, in its niche)
will ensure a successful, profitable birth.
About Bob DeMatteis
Bob is a successful inventor-marketer with 11 patents and 5 pending. Sales of his
inventions exceed $25 annually to several corporate giants such as Sears, Walgreens and
Shop Rite. The suppliers are all small- to medium-sized companies. Bob is also a
motivating teacher and conducts seminars at several universities and colleges. He has
written three books, THE ART of INNOVATING, THE ART of PATENTING and THE
ART OF LICENSING and MARKETING are currently self-published. Later this year they
will be distributed nationally to bookstores and libraries through a major New York
publisher. Bob knows what it takes to create products customers want to buy and get them
developed, patented and sold! If you would like any information or help from Bob, he can
be reached at:
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Entrepreneurship, Small business
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