“I've got a great invention idea, but I'm afraid that someone is going to knock it off.”

I hear that refrain a lot, especially from new inventors.

But, here is my response to that statement. “Then, I guess the solution is just to keep it all to yourself. That way, it'll never be knocked off.”

I'm not making light of the dilemma that someone may knock off your invention, but what is an inventor to do?

Grab your free PDF – Shark Tank Super Star Inventions – now. Click on the blue button.

Want to make money with your invention?

Attend the FREE live License Your Invention for Royalties webinar – just click the orange button for all the details and to sign up.

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

Here is the reality: a great invention will be knocked off. Period. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

When it becomes obvious that a new product is a big success, imitators, looking to make a fast buck, will come out of the woodwork. I've had many knockoffs of my invention, the Wonder Wallet. It is frustrating, but it is a reality of business.

Dallas inventor Tomima Edmark invented a simple plastic tool called the TopsyTail to easily make inverted pony tails for women. The product was very popular and soon there were knock offs. Ms. Edmark spent millions defending her patent. That wasn't fun. But, over time, the product has sold over $100 million in retail. She came out okay in the end.

What if in the beginning she felt she had a great invention, but worried about knockoffs. It might still be gathering dust in her garage.

So, what is an inventor to do?

When confronted with a knockoff, you have 3 basic responses:

  1. Have your attorney send a cease and desist letter, but otherwise take no legal action
  2. Take the infringer to court, but not retailers who are selling the knockoffs
  3. The nuclear option: go after everyone – the infringer(s) and retailers who are knowing or unknowingly complicit

Which is the wisest choice? It depends upon your situation, your finances, and your resilience.

Ms. Edmark chose the nuclear option. Why? Her legal team and accountants estimated that the loss of sales of her simple product to infringers if she did nothing would be dramatic. The estimated costs of a full-court legal action was less than the estimated loss of sales of the product.

But, if your product has modest sales, legal costs of pursuing infringers could bankrupt you. Choosing option 1 might carve away some of your sales, but you would still have sales. Then, you could focus upon developing other products. Not the most attractive option, but better than no sales or bankruptcy from legal expenses.

Less than 5% of inventors ever make a cent from their inventions. If you are one of the 5%, celebrate your success and enjoy the moment. Then prepare for the knockoffs. It is a cost of being a successful inventor.

Grab your free PDF – Shark Tank Super Star Inventions – now. Click on the blue button.

Want to make money with your invention?

Attend the FREE live License Your Invention for Royalties webinar – just click the orange button for all the details and to sign up.

Stay tuned.

Would you like to join a community of inventors and learn about licensing your invention?

Just click here to join our FREE Facebook private group – Licensing Lifestyle for Inventors.