SPARKS:2001 V1/Q1

Invention Experts

by Bob Lougher, Executive Director, United Inventors Association of the USA, an AAS Affiliate.

"I have an invention that lawyers say is not patentable. What are the chances of licensing to a large company?" -Dean S.

This question, along with 285 other questions, was submitted to the United Inventors Association's (UIA) "Ask the Experts" panel over the last nine months. The panel consists of 14 nationally known experts in their respective fields. The panel includes successful inventors, authors, patent attorneys, publishers, marketers and consumer advocates. The questions were asked through the UIA's website where the answers were also posted.

The UIA posted answers to the 285 questions on its website, while hundreds more were answered directly to the inventor. If you have a question that you can not find an answer to, go to http://www.uiausa.org. If you want to learn about the processes involved in inventing, visit the "Ask the Experts" archives where you can find answers to frequently asked questions.

Below are just two sample answers to the question above:

"The chances of licensing to a large company are low; they are better with small and medium-sized companies. The problem is that a patent gives the right to exclude, and without that right, the value of an idea is much lower than it may be otherwise. With a patent the licensee has up to 20 years to profit. Without one, all you have to sell is a head start of six to twelve months, because as soon as others see the idea they can duplicate it with impunity." - Ronald J. Riley

"Your chances of a large company accepting your idea and licensing it depend on your product and your presentation. While it's often difficult to approach large firms with non-patented products, there are as many companies searching out products as there are companies that will not have an interest in hearing about a new product in fear they will be sued. What our firm does is find out the name of the person in charge of making a deal or signing a check, call him or her and ask if they will sign a nondisclosure, non-compete agreement. If they will, I send it." - Jeff Dobkin, Author, How To Market A Product For Under $500!

Copyright 2002 Academy of Applied Science