Tom Kruer and Andrew Abrams are professional product developers and licensors of intellectual property. We have, from time to time, participated on web-based forums. The conclusions that we draw from the discussions are:
1. The title of "Inventor" is generally misunderstood and often misused. - "Inventor" does not necessarily refer to a person who is creative. If a person creates a painting, they are not necessarily an artist. They are just someone who did a painting. If someone conceives an idea, they are not necessarily creative or should be labelled inventor. They simply created an idea (regardless of merit).
2. There are all types of inventors, best categorized by their abilities and whatever motivates them. When discussing inventors, one can best communicate by modifying the term by category such as: amateur inventor, novice inventor, newbie inventor, inventor wannabee, hobbyist, tinkerer, professional inventor, designer, design engineer, and entertaining whacko.
3. The professional and successful inventors invent because they like to invent and are making a living at it. They are not obsessed about a pot of gold.
4. The novice inventors are looking to make millions from their ideas; and that's their rationale for wasting thousands of their hard-earned dollars on patent applications.
5. The vast majority of amateur inventors do not have the skills to turn ideas into products that might be licensed or manufactured. This requires an entrepreneur...a vastly different skill set. To assume that an average garage shop tinkerer can construct an effective patent application, press release, or licensing agreement is really a stretch of imagination; and in many cases can lead to legal and economic nightmares for themselves and their families.
6. Turning ideas into profitable properties or products is an extremely time-consuming slippery slope.
7. Many advocates of the independent inventor are not willing to admit that the commercialization processes are extremely difficult to master....for they will be out of a "job" and their life's work is only marginally helpful to others.
8. Novice inventors are not being told the truth about their real chances of success; and continued encouragement by some Amateur Invention Community advocates represents an injustice bordering on fraudulent behavior.
9. A patent holder is not automatically an inventor or on the road to commercial success. It simply means that an overworked, self-serving, and over-accommodating patent office has granted a patent for a fee to a person who may not own anything of value in the end.
10. A patent is not a magical protective shield. In most cases, it exposes a concept for a product whereby a professional designer can easily and legally design around it and, in many cases, improve it.
11. Try, as they may, the self-appointed free consultants to naive inventor wannabees will never be able to come up with a workable step-by-step process for an inexperienced individual to bring ideas to success. The task requires too many different flavors of personality, skills, experience, industry category, and marketing to be neatly packaged into a one-size-fits-all system.
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