Book Review: Making Millions with Your Invention

By Gene Quinn
April 11, 2012

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.

[Inventors-Books]

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.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 3 Comments comments.

  1. Ron Hilton April 12, 2012 9:27 am

    Gene,

    Could you briefly compare and contrast this book by Janessa Castle book with the similar-sounding book by Stephen Key that you reviewed last year? I found the latter to be very helpful, but would like to understand how the two books complement each other and what unique value each may offer.

  2. Gene Quinn April 12, 2012 2:07 pm

    Ron-

    I am a big fan of Steven’s book and I think it is a must read as well. For those not familiar, you can see my review at:

    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2011/06/10/one-simple-idea-turn-your-dreams-into-a-licensing-goldmine/id=16315/

    Steven teaches people by telling stories. He is an old fashion, gifted story teller and you could listen to him for hours because he is so engaging. At the end of the story you are motivated and have a good feeling about what you should do to move forward. Steven is motivational, inspirational and action oriented on a lesson by lesson approach.

    Janessa Castle’s book is more of what I would call tough love. She is more direct and gives less stories, and I would say probably gives more businesses advice and perhaps a little more of a roadmap. I’d say her book would be particularly useful for folks without much business experience, or at least without much “work-for-yourself” experience.

    I like both of these books and someone who is a new inventor, or even someone who has few inventions but has yet to have a success, will pick up valuable information from reading both books.

    Personally, I am a big fan of reading. If you can read you can learn. Even if they touch on many of the same issues hearing them presented in two different ways with two different styles will speak to different people. For the price of the two books and the time it takes to read them it is hard to imagine an inventor could be successful if they were not willing to invest in their own enlightenment through the modest purchase price and time spent to figure out how to move forward, and perhaps more importantly how not to move forward.

    -Gene