Prof. John Rizvi, Patent Attorney
Crafting the Bulletproof Patent
The average Inventor only has, on average, 27,375 days to spend on the planet Earth to craft a dream life and build a platform for success. Arguably at least 416 days or 10,000 hours needs to be spent perfecting your craft or invention, which includes conceiving, building, patenting, manufacturing, marketing and distributing your product. In other words, time is short!
If you are currently aged 50, you have approximately 11,735 days left to live, an extremely short period of time in which to achieve lofty goals for you and your family.
[Note: To get a more accurate picture visit Count My Days. ]
That’s the bad news.
The good news is you are living in the greatest period of inventing opportunities probably seen since the end of World War II which saw America boom into a mighty industrial superpower. The intersection of the Internet Age with Cloud Computing, Mobile Phones, Crowdsourcing and DIY Business Tools offers a wide range of opportunities for the American inventor to be successful.
On the flip side, it has also allowed giant corporations to accumulate hordes of defensive and offensive patents made possible by a sprawling and intimidating team of in-house patent lawyers. By harnessing powerful technology platforms, large lobbying groups, and investigative teams they can control significant segments of an industry and make life very difficult for a small inventor trying to launch a breakthrough product. This is especially true in the medical device sector but can also be seen in other industries, including apparel, sporting goods and toys.
While this can be a depressing thought, it has not stopped my clients from breaking down walls and launching stellar products, including Alex Gomez, a surgical device inventor who went on to make millions, and Troy Faletra, who is finding worldwide success with his marine safety device.
Both of these clients relied heavily on the power of the patent to influence decision-makers in key stages of their journey to financial windfalls. It also allowed them to protect their intellectual property as they slung their brave arrows at larger corporate behemoths who harbor no qualms crushing smaller opposition.
Once these startups had built a strong revenue track record it allowed them, if they so wished, the opportunity to sell their companies for millions, with the patents being the primary drawcard for larger corporate buyers.
The Patent Attorney thus plays an important role in helping startups not only acquire a bulletproof patent but also to ultimately profit from it. From the Average Joe to the rocket scientist, your initial patent is the platform to reach for the stars and settle for the moon!
If you can dream it, you CAN do it!
Consider this point: I have two decades of experience as a board certified patent attorney equating to 7,300 days, or roughly 25% of a person’s lifetime. This is a huge chunk of experience I can offer the American inventor as he attempts to scale greater heights in the entrepreneurial landscape.
Over this time I have crossed paths with thousands of inventors who have either become my clients or friends, or both. This matrix of experience extends to small, everyday Americans who have invented Litter Boxes for cats to Dentists who have gone on to redefine the cosmetics aligner sector. It has given me a unique insight into how larger companies perceive and challenge smaller inventors when it comes to launching a new product in their industries.
While this can be an intimidating experience, crafting a bulletproof patent is the foundational step in standing your ground and reaching the finish line. I have also noticed in recent times, some positive opportunities that come from building an alliance with industry titans rather than fighting them.
It's what I call a success accelerator for the small American inventor.
While in the past, a startup inventor may often be the target of a buyout or hostile overtures, large corporations are beginning to view smaller entrepreneurs as partners rather than threats. Their new long-term strategy is to incubate and accelerate independent entrepreneur ideas which they believe offers greater financial reward in the competitive marketplace.
Giant venture funds are being created - as we speak - to help early-stage startups achieve success. The reason for this change of heart really comes down to profits: It can take massive amounts of R & D funding to launch a new a product internally and get regulatory approval, especially in the medical device sector or general pharmaceuticals.
Now they would rather help YOU conceive, nurture and test an idea than fund expensive internal product development teams which carry huge financial risk.
This offers a great opportunity for small, nimble entrepreneurs to license their technology to larger players who may also in some instances outsource their existing R & D platform to help you build and refine your prototype. You – or your small team - can move much faster and agilely than a slow sprawling corporation with multiple product points.
Consider the creative rot eating away at venerable companies like General Electric which has been around since 1892. Exposed to just about every business category in America including aviation, power, oil, healthcare and energy, it has failed to re-invent itself over the last decade sending its share price hurtling downwards. While there are several reasons this, including dead weight divisions such as GE Capital, I instead argue they have lost the spark plug that made them great in the first place, creativity.
More specifically, they have lost their focus on transformational inventions that disrupt or shape an industry, a journey that began with their legendary founder, Thomas Edison and his incandescent light bulb.
These titanic companies are looking for high-value startups with breakthrough products backed up by bulletproof patents. It’s a strategic gamble on their part, and it works entirely in the favor of the small inventor. I should also remind entrepreneurs that in many cases you do not even require a prototype to leverage this relationship. A well-crafted patent demonstrating a viable future product line may be all that’s needed to enter these new startup incubator models.
You are literally positioned in an “Industrial Scramble For Inventors” as large corporations like J&J and PepsiCo inject new capital into incubation frameworks to spark transformational ideas and products.
Johnson & Johnson has created JLABS, a network of 11 community labs on the east and west coast designed to spark “breakthrough” product lines by startups in the medical and pharmaceutical arena. This creative hub is attracting entrepreneurs from the “school of hard knocks” drawn to its flexible funding options and the ability to implement studies and clinical trials around their healthcare ideas, usually a daunting task for startups in this sector.
The ability to accelerate ideas, products, creativity, research, trials and funding has allowed one startup, Sienna Biopharmaceuticals, to move towards commercializing its range of medical dermatology and aesthetic product lines under JLABS. Access to equipment, people, and a mouth-watering infrastructural framework allows Sienna Labs to focus on the science and entrepreneurial aspects of launching a business. This translates into “Science Becoming Products” extremely quickly, which obviously benefits both David and Goliath in this new landscape.
Accelerating innovation is not restricted to healthcare. PepsiCo recently announced it was launching a Nutrition Greenhouse Accelerator Program to help entrepreneurs become successful in the food and beverage sector. The soda giant is looking for 10 American startups whose ideas may spark innovation in the natural and sustainable product sectors. Each entrepreneur will be guaranteed $20,000 in grant funding and get access to a 6-month business optimization program designed to accelerate growth. One of these 10 will also receive a an additional $100,000 to expand their idea into the commercial sector with help from PepsiCo.
These two examples alone do not just offer capital funding and infrastructural access; they also hold one of the keys to making it great it any industry or field: Mentorship.
This intangible is often a missing component in an entrepreneur’s toolset but something which is now increasingly available at all stages of an inventor’s journey.
It is something I offer directly to all my clients as they begin the patenting process and start working on early prototypes and product testing. In my recent books I offer insights into the mindset and tools required by an inventor to strike it big in what I call the Golden Age of Inventing. I have taken these ideas to audiences on the TED Platform and discussed them with TV presenters on ABC and CBS. I have also shared my experience with early stage inventors at the Inventors Society of Florida and recently at workshop for the SCORE mentorship program for entrepreneurs seeking to patent their ideas.
The tactical steps to patenting your idea and earning royalties from a “Patent Pending” have been refined inside my YouTube Educational Videos for Inventors, which offer step-by-step guidelines for acquiring a bulletproof patent. I also share insights into how my clients utilize marketing and distribution channels to promote their product at Trade Shows, The Home Shopping Network and my alliance of influencers in the entrepreneurial community, including Kevin Harrington, one of the original “Sharks” on the TV Show, Shark Tank.
The business ecosystems being deployed by J&J and Pepsi, amplify this mentorship platform for inventors who naturally crave data, information and ultimately, knowledge, about the manufacturing, distribution and legal channels related to their product.
"It was more than the prize money – our mentor gave us valuable insights on retail and consumer marketing as we extended our 'powerful plants' concept into a unique range of snacks. As a result, our revenues grew over four times last year and we launched Erbology in U.S. retailers in June this year,” said Irina Turcan, Founder of Erbology.
Bear in mind that traditional avenues for acquiring startup capital are also expanding for the 16 million people in the United States who identify themselves as entrepreneurs. It’s been reported that big banks are approving business loans at higher rates than ever before, which is helping to fuel a new round of SMB growth.
However, it’s the startup innovation hubs mentioned earlier which are attracting inventors, entrepreneurs and startups in higher numbers. It’s estimated that at least a third of startup activity is being built in this creative lane outside traditional investment centers.
We should also look at startup trends overseas, especially Asia, which boasts new fashion incubators to help apparel designers access affordable working space, knowledge and skills training, and you guessed it, mentorship.
“We take brands back to the drawing board and help them examine what’s missing, whether its R&D or textile development, or something as simple as numbers,” said one of the co-founders of the Hong Kong Design Center which runs a Fashion Incubation Program
Can you imagine if Sarah Blakely, inventor of Spanx, had access to this ecosystem when she first started her pioneering journey towards revolutionizing the undergarment sector and acquiring a patent in what was then a heavily male-dominated environment? Only her determination and belief in her product allowed her to overcome numerous obstacles before she became a household name on the Oprah Winfrey show. These creative hubs would have arguably propelled her to success in a much shorter time period.
Meanwhile, a recent graduate of The Miami School for the Performing Arts, Jauynee Silvers-Singer, exploited a gap in the marketplace to launch a celebrity-tinged fashion vertical in California which allows media personalities to bring their brands to market through Touché LA. Described as a seamless platform of design, development, manufacturing, marketing and fulfillment it “leaves no famous entrepreneur” behind. One of the keys to this platform’s growing marketing success is Social Media which she believes is “replacing the Vogues” of this world when it comes to trend forecasting for consumers. There is nothing stopping inventors from following the same approach when it comes to generating buzz for their own products!
Whether you are building a sports bra, a Grandmas2Share doll, a surgical non-fogging device, a toilet purifier, a marine safety device, Rubik’s Cube or even a fabled Flux Capacitor, it all starts with crafting a bulletproof patent FIRST.
Whether you sell your company for $100 million dollars like my client Alex Gomez or alternatively license your product to Johnson & Johnson or Pepsi, the intellectual property is now considered the foundational cornerstone of its overall asset value. Missed opportunities to earn income off your idea (and patent) abound in history, including the famous example of the G.I Joe Doll Inventor losing millions in annual royalties due to a key miscalculation.
Every conceivable tool you require for success is at your fingertips, inventor. The first step is to involve an Intellectual Property attorney in the mechanics of protecting your idea. This step should be taken as early as possible to ensure a successful patent filing. Remember, I can also expose you (and your team) to my blueprint for attaining profits and income from your idea.
The only thing working against you, as prefaced in the opening paragraph, is TIME.
I remind all readers that each person lives an average of 27,375 days with a person aged 50 having only 11,737 days, on average, left to live.
These numbers are not meant to scare you but merely to spur you into action!
When you’re ready to start crafting a bulletproof patent, just call The Patent Professor. I would be happy to help you enter the Golden Age of Inventing.