Being just about flat broke without many prospects for a job, I was sitting outside the other night and started wondering about what I could invent. My gaze fell upon an old broom and for some strange reason I decided to use it as a model for something I could invent. Ten seconds later I had an idea. What if you put a horizontal grip on the handle of the broom that extended out say, 10 to 12 inches from the shaft and perpendicular to the broom brush. That way you would not have to stoop over so much, it would give you more control and more strength on the broom and it would be easier to sweep because you wouldn’t have to reach down with the lower hand on the broom with a twisted wrist. WOW. The idea popped with such an inspiration that I thought “I’ve got to do something with this!”
Well, I rushed back inside to the computer and went immediately to the government patent office to see how to patent the idea. And what did I find out? Its a can of worms. The cost for a non-provisional patent can cost you over 3 thousand dollars. There is a provisional patent which grants you the right to market your product with the “patent pending” logo we’ve all seen for some nominal prices and I don’t know what kinds of hoops because I dropped that idea immediately when I saw the kind of work and expense it was going to take for something which was really only a simple idea. But I had another idea.
I went back to Google and typed in invention help. There were lots of companies but I found one that would accept ideas and I thought I could simply sell the idea. Right? Wrong. I got an almost immediate response the next day from a director of some kind but I’m sure his real function was director of sales. He actually called me on the phone and we had a brief discussion about my idea and he told me he would call me the next day for more about the company and how I could get my idea to industry.
I was all ready for the call. The night before I was so excited that I submitted 3 or 4 more ideas to the company which the director told me he hadn’t had the time to look at before his call. He asked me questions about my product, how I came up with it etc. but I think that the bottom line was that his company charges $785 to do a patent search and build a proto-type possibly with plans or schematics in order to obtain a license agreement with a manufacturer. The day before I had told him I didn’t have any money to put in this thing and he suggested that money was not the issue.
To heck money isn’t the issue. If I were making $785 per idea everyone called in with I’d be richer than Bill Gates. The company also wanted 10% of the royalties from the licensing agreement so I asked the director “Well, if you think this is such a good idea, why don’t you just back me and take 20 or 30 percent of the royalties?” He responded, “No, we don’t work like that”. Well sure you don’t because boom or bust you are employed by my $785 fee and 10% royalties so it doesn’t even matter whether the idea would sell or not to you and I told him, I could have 20 of these ideas by Monday when he is supposed to call me back.
So not wanting to waste a good thing I’m publishing the idea and might make 2 bucks off the article. Then you can pursue the patent, or find a company to work with to develop the idea, or market it yourself because now that I wrote this article I’m going to write 10 more for the other 10 invention ideas I had and at this rate Watch Out Bill.