The biggest lie about patenting your inventions

Which untruth is most damaging to inventors?

The first thing you’re told when you come up with an invention is to get a patent. Many inventors believe this. In most countries, this isn’t true. It’s like buying collision insurance for a car that you’re going to build from a kit, before you’ve even read the instructions.

Far more important is to understand whether there is a market for your invention, will your idea fly! Of course you need to keep the details of your invention secret, but there are many ways to validate your idea without revealing the invention details. For instance, focus on validating the benefits that your invention brings to customers, rather than the features and workings.

So why do so many of us try and seek a patent straight away? It’s because we believe that if we don’t file for a patent right away, we could lose our invention if somebody else does.

A patent is not an automatic monopoly right. It is a litigation document. It is drafted and filed precisely for that purpose – to be used in litigation. A patent gives you the “right to prevent” others from making, using, selling, promoting for sale, or importing your invention in the country where your patent was issued.

It’s the right to sue anyone you believe has infringed your invention.

It does not guarantee that there is a market or that you’ll make money.

Many of us are led to believe that getting a patent is the first step, of a two-step process, to fame and fortune. First you get the patent – then you license it. This is a fairy tale.

It’s the old “get rich quick” scheme. It’s the belief that the path to success is quick, easy and risk free. It has a strong appeal.

Now watch some of the dumbest patents ever evented:

Raglan Tribe

Raglan is passionate about the process of introducing new blockbuster products to the world. After a 20 year corporate career managing product development portfolios in aerospace, automotive and financial companies he set up his own innovation company - Mindsheet Ltd. Recent projects have been delivered to BAE Systems, Cobham, Finmeccanica, De La Rue, Toyota, Hyundai, Siemens, Delphi Automotive, MoD, Transport for London, North Star Equities and ITI Techmedia.

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