If I ask you, “what kind of inventor are you?,” you’re likely to give me a bit of a blank stare.

“What kind of inventor, what do you mean?

Read on for the answer.

Just click on the blue button to grab your free PDF – 4 Books for Inventors.

Would you like to learn how to license your invention?

If so, sign up for our free webinar – License Your invention for Royalties – by clicking on the orange button.

Spoon-fed versus Self-Educated Inventors

I find there are two kinds of inventors: spoon-fed and self-educated.

See if you can match each of these two examples with the appropriate category: spoon-fed or self-educated:

  1. Inventor Paul meets me and here is the first thing he says to me:
    “I have a great new invention that will sell millions. Where can I find a patent attorney?”
  2. Inventor John meets me and here is the first thing he says to me:
    “I have a great new product that has a lot of potential. I’ve done some research and gotten some referrals of patent attorneys at both large and small patent law firms. Which do you think would serve me better: a large patent attorney firm or a small firm with just one or two attorneys?”

If you picked 1. above as spoon-fed and 2. above as self-educated, congratulations. You got it right!

The above examples are pretty obvious. But, the approaches of the two inventors are dramatically different.

There is no evidence that Paul has done any work on his invention beyond coming up with an initial idea. Notice that Paul asserts that his ‘invention’ will sell ‘millions.’ John, on the other hand, refers to his ‘product’ and states only that he feels it has a ‘lot of potential.’

Furthermore, John has proactively done research and gotten referrals on both large and small firm patent attorneys. He likely already has an opinion as to which type of law firm would be better, and is just seeking my opinion to validate his own thoughts. Paul is looking for a spoon-fed answer which, with a modicum of effort, he could easily have gotten on his own.

Nuances are important, as well. I have found that successful inventors almost always refer to their “products,” rather than their “inventions.”

Why does terminology matter? Inventions, per se, cannot be sold or licensed, whereas products can be. Not every invention can be reduced into a practical product that can be sold at retail. Successful inventors recognize that invention ideas must be validated with proof of concept prototypes, then further refined into products that could be sold or licensed.

Finally, the words you use to describe your product and, especially its potential for success are important. If you pitch your product to a company for licensing, you must never begin with the hyperbolic statement that it will “sell millions.” No one knows, in advance, how well any new product will do in the marketplace. Making such a statement, just discredits you and tends to insult the expertise of those who have graciously given of their time to consider your product. Self-educated inventors rarely make this faux pas, whereas the spoon-fed inventor virtually always makes this blunder.

How to be a Self-Educated Inventor

What steps should you take to be self-educated?

First, become a dedicated student of all things invention. Be a voracious reader. There are many good books about patenting, licensing, and the invention process – some of which are in the attached free PDF. You must know and understand clearly how the patent process works and the role your patent attorney plays. Research and understand how new product development works and its many challenges.

Secondly, as you approach the many challenges and roadblocks that are part of being an inventor, always attempt to first solve them on your own. This will not only save you money, but you will gain valuable experience that you cannot get from just reading. Your knowledge, skills and confidence will grow. When your own efforts cannot solve the challenge or the roadblock, then reach out to others for help.

Then you will be a self-educated inventor!

Just click on the blue button below to grab your free PDF – 4 Books for Inventors.

Would you like to learn how to license your invention?

If so, sign up for our free webinar – License Your invention for Royalties – by clicking on the orange button below.

Stay tuned.