Think Big: Nine Ways to Make Millions From Your Ideas|
This is another great book from Don and well worth owning for any inventor. But it's got some flaws of which the greatest is that despite his years of successful experience in the inventing field Don has learned too little about patenting and the law. It's not that he doesn't advocate patenting -- he does -- it's that his primary focus is always on making profits and simply patenting doesn't do that. Fortunately he mentions the technical legal issues/considerations/terminology very rarely, but, unfortunately when he does mention them he often errs.
For example the book repeatedly refers to the mythical "provisional patent." A diligent reader of the whole book should come away with the correct understanding of "provisional applications" and their 1 year time line but the reader will spread the myth when they follow the book's errant terminology. Another example is mixing up the concepts of "public knowledge" and "public domain." His glossary gives the definition of public knowledge for the term "public domain." One of the major functions of patenting is to make an invention public knowledge when the patent is issued. The claimed invention however does not become "public domain" until the patent expires.
Very unfortunately the book contains an "Appendix A: Patent Strategies" with much information credited to two patent agents. I'm tempted to tell you to tear this appendix out and discard it as soon as you get the book -- there are as many as 3 major errors per page. I hope Don didn't inadvertently introduce the errors himself in editing the agents work but, for sure, next time Don needs to bring in the expertise of a current, knowledgeable intellectual property attorney. The appendix does have some excellent advice however on various patent strategies -- from "don't bother" to applying with no intention of getting a patent, etc.
On the still brighter side Jack Lander contributed an excellent Appendix B: Prototyping for Inventors which briefly discusses many common manufacturing methods and how prototypes and even small runs can be made that approximate full tooling manufacturing results but at far less cost. While I might wish more manufacturing methods (eg. rotational molding, vacuum forming) were covered and more depth provided for each prototyping method that's probably too much to realistically ask for in a short appendix. Don Debelak's own Appendix C: Funding Your Invention, is also a highlight of the book and a must read for all proverbial "poor" inventors.
But back to the meat of the book and why I highly recommend it. Traditionally the ways to make money from an invention idea have been enumerated as two 1) licensing and 2) venturing. Venturing meaning the inventor doing what it takes to get their invention into production and to the market themselves. What Don does in this book is cover both licensing and venturing but he spells out 8 ways of successfully venturing with two chapters (the "whats" and "how's") for each technique. Among the venturing methods are TV and mail order, joint ventures, private label marketing, and, of course, your own company. Included for each venturing method is valuable information on how to find and make the contacts you'll need to make things happen.
PS I have a few copies of this I can ship immediately if you place your order by mail.
© Copyright 2004 James E. White, All Rights Reserved
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