For over ten years I have been writing articles and commentaries in hopes of educating independent inventors and small businesses on patent and intellectual property issues. For those who are new to the innovation business it can be an extremely daunting task to come up to speed on the topic, particularly given the diverse, sometimes counter-intuitive, issues and obstacles that need to be successfully navigated. I have long wanted to write a book for inventors myself, but now there is no need for that endeavor. Simply stated, if I were to write a book on the topic it would have been this book — Making Millions with Your Simple Idea or Invention. Time and time again as I read this book I found myself nodding my head in complete agreement. For new inventors who seriously want to succeed this book should be required reading.
As the US economy continues to trend toward an innovation and technology based economy intellectual property rights, and patent rights in particular, have continued to become more and more important. To paraphrase Bruce Springsteen — the manufacturing jobs are gone and they are not coming back, as many Americans well know. Prosperity is tied to innovation, and a prerequisite to successfully innovating and making money from innovation is to understand the process, which is capably and thoroughly set forth by Janessa Castle.
I am constantly preaching to inventors that they are far more likely to succeed if they treat inventing as a business. Yes, inventing can be fun and for many there are great rewards in figuring out useful solutions for problems. For most that look at inventing as a way to participate in the American dream, inventing goes well beyond the “cool” factor. The inventors I encounter day to day want to be recognized for their innovative contributions, but they also would like to succeed financially, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that in my opinion.
The overarching theme of this book is to approach inventing in a business responsible way, so Janessa had me on page 1. Many who are unfamiliar with the trials and tribulations of inventors frequently fail to realize that inventors are highly intelligent and very creative. But like all intelligent and creative individuals engaged in a project, they need direction. She guides inventors in gentle, but firm ways, explaining what might otherwise seem obvious, but when you work with inventors daily you realize business savvy and prowess is not always where inventors excel. So when Janessa starts by explaining the importance of time management, scheduling and meeting promised deadlines she demonstrates an uncommon level of understanding with respect to both the questions inventors have and the knowledge they absolutely need to know to succeed.
As a patent attorney many might find it surprising that some of the best things said are those things that provide a reality check on the importance of patents. Let me say clearly that I did not find any problems with any of what Janessa says about patents, she is spot on. She does quite correctly, however, point out that patents are not the end all be all, but rather they are a means to an end. Janessa explains that obtaining a patent is not the “holy grail.” Rather, “the holy grail of inventing is getting your invention into the hands of consumers and making a profit.” For the overwhelming majority of inventors that is exactly what they want to do, and a patent can certain provide competitive advantages, but it is only a piece of what is necessary. At the end of the day the goal is to make money from your invention and that must be the focus.
There are many books for inventors and would-be entrepreneurs, and almost universally when I read them I find myself thinking about what is missing and what should be included, but was not. Still other books I look at, which are not lacking, are overwhelming. I am not sure how it was accomplished, but this book hits each and every issue of real consequence in a way that is thorough, but still approachable and not at all overwhelming. In reading this book, novices will learn the issues that deserve attention, and I would wager that even experienced inventors will find both inspiration and learn valuable lessons. The marketing tips and suggestions are sound, not pie-in-the sky. Actionable intelligence is provided on topic after topic, even down to such issues that are almost universally overlooked, like product packaging. If you want to sell it the package needs to be attractive, attract appropriate attention without being over the top and most importantly it needs to be stackable and fit on the shelf.
So much of what is contained within these pages addresses the common questions of inventors, and then drills down over and over to raise issues you likely wouldn’t have thought of on your own, but need to be understood and appreciated as important, because they are. I wholeheartedly recommend this book and will be suggesting to my clients that if they are serious about succeeding with their inventions they absolutely need to read this book. Not everyone will make millions on their inventions, but armed with this information it will be far more likely.