I’ve been reading a lot of the posts in the Forum, in particular in the Pitch section. They all ask about the danger of exposing your idea to the general public. Further, I also get emails, like the one below, at least 3 times a week:
I am an entrepreneur and inventor of an exciting form of **** which does not exist. I have worked over *** years on this project. I do not have a patent on it yet and no prototype.
How could I get on your show without jeopardizing my idea? Would an explanation of the function of the motor suffice? The benefits of marketing this engine goes a long way with protecting our environment and saving our planet.
So let me try to address this, once and for all:
- If you go on national television to pitch you idea, you are exposing your ideas to the public. As such, your appearance may forfeit the right to later patent the idea, since it is no longer secret.
- Showing your idea to investors in private is not the same thing.
- Therefore, go file for your patents. The true cost for just filing is usually below $5000 and some lawyers will even do it on spec. Finally, there are government programs (see IRAP) which can assist you in this area (ex. IRAP can do a “prior art:” search for you, without it costing you an arm and a leg.
- Not only is patenting the idea a good idea, it is almost necessary to get investment money. After all, if anyone can do what you propose, why back you? You need to be able to maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.
- As for not having a prototype, as I’ve extolled endlessly on the blog, AN IDEA IS NOT ENOUGH. As Robert has said repeatedly, having a good idea, and passion, is the ante and a prerequisite to the entrepreneurial game, it is not sufficient in and of itself to warrant funding.
- So if all you have is a non patented idea, then go to friends and family to raise enough money to file the patent and build the prototype, otherwise, you will most likely here “I’m OUT!!!”
Posted on Oct 16, 2007 10:00:00 AM