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How to Submit Your Invention

How To Submit Your Invention to an Outside Firm

 This is a long and detailed 6,000 word article on the technicalities
of submitting your invention for licensing or manufacturing to an outside firm.

By Jeffrey Dobkin

I hear this quite frequently: “I have an idea and I don’t know what to do with it.”

There are three ways to proceed with an idea.  First, if your goal is to make money, you can develop the idea into a product, an invention, and manufacture and market it yourself.

This assumes you can start – and run – a successful business: create a business plan, find financing, hire people – earn money and make enough profit to live on. Please note: all of this is quite independent of your idea.  Starting and running a business is no small feat in itself.  Still – if you’re an entrepreneur this is the way to go!

Second, you can find someone or some firm that will develop, manufacture and market your product for you.  This is usually referred to as a licensing agreement.

Select either of these two directions if you want to make any money, and/or if you want to create a living, breathing, thriving new product.

The third way to proceed?  Well… you can just sit on the idea.  Then you can say “I thought of that __ years ago!” when someone else markets it. Feel free to fill in the blank with the number of years ago that you thought of it.

This is proof that an idea by itself has very limited value.  It is only the action in time, money, or energy you place behind that idea that shows the value of the idea’s commercial success.  An idea without any of these three things will be content to sit on a shelf endlessly.

The majority of people I speak with want to submit their idea to a large corporation in the hopes they will be able to sit back, relax, and collect royalties for the rest of their lives.  Wake up, baby – it ain’t gonna’ happen.  The chances of this happening to you are as good as getting run over by a bus – while swimming in Dolly Parton’s swimming pool.  (By the way, if you get an invite —– I’m free on that day to go with you.  We’ll worry about the bus later.  When Dolly dives in, I want to see just how much water is left in the pool.

Reality check: I’ll tell you what will happen when you try to submit your idea to a large firm.  The large company you submit your idea, invention, or product innovation to will send you their crappy disclosure form stating “We’d really love to hear about your invention!”  “Of course,” they continue, “the only rights [of protection] you have are the rights from your patent.”  Hey, they don’t have to tell you that. If you have a patent, you’ve earned – and paid for – those rights. Those rights are yours whether some company tells you that you have them or not. They’re not giving you anything by telling you that.

So, what is the firm telling you?  Sounds to me like they’re telling you that you have no other rights with them.  They’re saying that if they like your idea enough, and since they’ve been honest enough to tell you up-front that you only have your own patent rights to rely on, they’ll have a clear conscience and sleep well at night after they take your non-patented idea and use it to their own best advantage; or, hire a “patent circumvention specialist” to get around your patent, then market your product or idea themselves.

If you have the strongest of patents, and the money to defend your patent claims in court – because a patent doesn’t protect you – a patent only gives you the right to protect yourself – the submission form the corporation sent you is a fair way to go. Obviously fairer for them than for you.  On the other hand: 1) if your product doesn’t have a patent, or 2) if it has a weak patent, and 3) you’re still really committed to submitting your invention to this company, and 4) they still insist you sign their lousy form, then 5) you have my sincere apology, because 6) I recommend you don’t.  A winning submission is a win-win negotiation for both sides.  Maybe it’ll work itself out later, but this one scenario didn’t start out too much in your favor.

A Better Idea

My recommendation is that you look for a smaller firm that is more flexible – and a little more hungry for new and innovative ideas and products.  To find other manufacturers of the same or similar product lines, look in The Thomas Register of Manufacturers.   Through this resource you’ll be able to find almost every large, medium and sometimes small U.S. manufacturer and distributor of every product in every field and every industry you can think of.

The Thomas Register is a 30-volume directory set found in any library, or on-line at which is not nearly as good as the set of books in the library. I guarantee even though you only thought there was one manufacturer of your own particular type of widgets in the U.S., there are 100 more – and they’re all listed – by category of product – in The Thomas Register Directory.

Still want to move forward with the original corporation you’ve selected – that one large company you’re dying to do business with?  I don’t see why, but OK, if you’re that determined: here’s my recommendation.  Call the company and ask if they have any standard form for idea submissions. For the ones that do, you can submit your idea – but, and here’s where the path differs from their form: make sure to submit your idea or product to a particular person, usually someone high up, like the president or vice president. Otherwise, there is no accountability on their part.

So… call the Vice President of Marketing – and open a dialog.  With no dialog your idea isn’t going anywhere, so you have nothing to lose by making this call.  I NEVER submit a product or a product improvement in a “blind submission,” addressed to no one in particular (“To Whom It May Concern”).  Ever.  If you send your product in blindly to the “New Product Submissions Department” and then call to find out about your idea, you don’t even know who to ask for, let alone how to get a time frame for an evaluation or find out who the heck is futzing with it.

So call the president or the VP and tell them you’re a product developer (don’t say inventor), and you’d like to submit a new product innovation or an improvement for one of their own products to their firm.  Ask the VP if you can submit your product innovation directly to him – and note that you’d like him (or her) to take a look at it personally.  This holds especially true if you have a prototype.  Let him know if you do.

The vice president will probably mention the company’s standard procedure and blah blah blah about their non-confidentiality form and how everybody signs it.  Tell him the truth – their form doesn’t preserve any of your rights as a product developer.  Ask him if his firm offers a “flatter” or “fairer” disclosure form that offers protection equally for both parties.  Tell him as a professional product developer your counsel won’t allow you to sign a blanket non-disclosure form like theirs.

Let the veep know some of the other corporations that you’ve worked with in the past that have a fairer or flatter form.  Or, ask if he’d like you to send him your standard non-disclosure agreement.  If he says yes, send him the non-disclosure agreement found in my book, How To Market A Product For Under $500!  Or better yet, just buy my book.  If you have any inkling of marketing your product, I guarantee it’ll be the best 30 bucks you’ve ever spent.  Yes – that’s a money back guarantee you just read.  I’m not too worried, I’ve only gotten three back, and I think one was from that jerk Tom Flemming who has hated me since sixth grade.

If you have you run up against a brick wall with submitting your invention to the VP and you’re still hell-bent on sending your submission form to the firm, you might try to sending in their submission form.  Then make a copy of the form and send it to the President or the VP of Marketing. You can say in your letter that you’ve submitted this to their “____” department as they’ve requested, but you’d also like him to personally take a look at it, since you feel it has great merit.  Then feel free to follow up with a phone call.  Remember: open up a dialog…

The Cold, Hard Facts

Frankly, it’s tough submitting an idea. In fairness to the larger corporations, some corporate personnel are very honest, but they just don’t want to get sued.  To help prevent lawsuits, their standard answer to product submissions that come in unsolicited, (over the transom) is usually “Oh, yes, we’ve been working on that for quite a while.”  In truth, some have, and some haven’t, but that’s the standard answer everyone gets. I’ve even received that answer from the legal department of some major firms after I’ve submitted an idea.

Take a quick look at it from the corporation’s side: what if they really are about 6 months away from launching their product with the improvements you think you’ve invented?  Then you send them your idea and receive their standard form letter back saying “Thanks, but no thanks – we’ve been working on that!”  And in 6 months – you guessed it: national roll out with your idea in place.  Even though you’ve had nothing to do with it, how would you feel when you saw it on the marketplace?   It happens all the time.  This must have happened sooo much in the automotive industry, that if you send an idea to any of the large auto manufacturers, do you know what you get?  You get your own envelope back – unopened.  How many times do you think it has happened to them?

Of course some firms – and certain industries like the TV marketing industry – in my opinion are filled with crooks who’d rather steal your idea, manufacture and market it, and take their chances later in court after they’ve made a quabillion dollars on your product.  “Why buy it if you can steal it?” is the motto of many of the firms in the the TV industry.  If you sue them and they lose in court, they keep the money they’ve made from marketing your product over the past two or three years, and give you back your product rights as the court demands.  “Ooops,” they say – “we thought we didn’t step on your patent claims, we’re sorry.”  Now you can pick up the pieces, whatever money your lawyers left, and try to sell your invention to an oversold market.  The sound of laughter is them on the way to the bank.

Sure, you may get some remuneration after being ripped off – but I assure you that first you’ll have quite an uphill legal battle.  They have lawyers on their payroll to handle matters such as these, since they do this all the time – and get sued all the time.  It’s a headache and heartbreak to you, but it’s just business as usual to them.

When the first ab machine came out with its first infomercial – and produced its first $100 million in revenues – don’t you think all the other TV marketing companies came out with their own version?  Sure – we had the Ab Flex, the Ab Roller, the Ab Flattener, the Ab Shaper, the Ab Crusher – and as many other knock-offs as they could figure out names for.  It’s the “Get all the money you can now, let the courts sort it out later!” theory.

If you don’t have a strong patent to tie up the entire concept, or sometimes even if you do, this is the way some businesses work.  When Mr. Coffee came out with the first home coffee maker do you think Proctor Silex or Black and Decker said, “Gee that’s a nice product in a big market, but we’re too busy making vacuum cleaners”?   Don’t be silly.

So Who Can You Trust?

In reality, there is help for inventors.  You have lots of friends.  Some firms are as honest as the day is long – like myself and the people of my firm, the Danielle Adams Publishing Company. Who else?  The people of ASI, the American Society for Inventors, of which I am on the Board of Directors.  Who else? The people of the UIA-USA, the United Inventors Association, where I’m also a trusted board member emeritus. And there’s a few others here and there…

We just want to help inventors and see good ideas come to fruition.  We encourage inventors and entrepreneurs who put their time and effort into developing their ideas.  Us good guys, don’t ever forget, are out there, too.  While there’s a lot of potholes in the road to success, one thing is for certain: you can’t find the bright lights of New York City without leaving your home town first.  You’ve got to trust someone, so take your best shot.  We’re here to help if you need it.

There are probably lots of good people in the industry where you are inventing.  Try some of the associations in the industry.  Associations are usually run by people who wish to help their industry grow.  The association leaders are usually heavyweight industry players who are knowledgeable in their markets about the businesses and the people who run them.

Three good resources for finding associations are the 828-page National Trade and Professional Associations of the United States – a reference tool which lists 7,600 associations, and is published annually by Columbia Books, Inc. (; 888-265-0600, fax 410-810-0911), along with its companion, the State and Regional Associations of the U.S. Directory ($79).

Association lists and data are also available in the Encyclopedia of Associations by The Gale Group (800-877-GALE) on disk, CD, and on-line through Lexis-Nexis.  This hardbound, three-volume set is the motherload of associations – showing detailed information on more than 23,000 local, state, national, and international associations.

Another great resource of associations is The Associations Yellow Book from Leadership Directories.  While it doesn’t have the number of associations found in Gale’s Encyclopedia of Associations, it has an exceptional depth of information about the top thousand or so associations, arranged and presented in an attractive and logical manner.

The Associations Yellow Book is 1,400 plus pages, and profiles 1,045 of the leading U.S. trade and professional associations.  Included within these profiles are 42,159 officers, staff and board members, 263 political action committees, 437 foundations, and 725 branch offices.  1,036 associations with Internet sites are included.

The Associations Yellow Book is available from Leadership Directories, Inc., 104 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. 10011; Telephone 212/627-4140, Fax 212/645-0931; web address: Published semi-annually, the subscription is for two issues.

The State of Your Innovation

Your course of marketing your invention also depends on what state your idea or invention is in. Ideas and raw concepts, unlike developed prototypes and products already on the market, are longshots – and have less value.  They still need all the kinks to be worked out: manufacturing costs figured out, design flaws corrected, distribution lines established, pricing and profit and revenue models figured out, and so forth.

Most ideas, scribbled on napkins while half drunk at a bar, fall into this latter group and don’t have much commercial potential without a lot of development time.  Developing an idea takes research to make it work smoothly, time to find the markets, more time to figure out how to manufacture it and the costs, locate competition, find similar products and their selling price, develop a market plan (or at least have a good look at the markets and how you’re going to reach them effectively), do some kind of pricing feasibility study, and more money to create a prototype (if not several).

Additionally, you’ll probably need a short production run to see if they’ll actually sell.

If you think there’s a lot to do being a small firm launching a new product, think about this: if you’re a large firm, it also takes more planning, coordinating and plenty of market testing.  You don’t think Green Giant says, “Oh, we’ll just stick with frozen peas.”  Heck, they come out with a new product every few months.  The cost to you to market-test may be a few hundred, or a few thousand, dollars.  To Green Giant it may cost well over amillion dollars to develop and launch a new product.

When people call me and say they have an idea, I ask them what state it’s in (napkin drawing, prototype, in production, whatever), then I ask them not to tell me what it is.  Not because I’m not curious – which, heck yes, I always am – but because I don’t want them to think there would be a hint of a breach of confidentiality, and that I’m going to make or market their product without them.  Ain’t never done it yet, and I’m too old to start now.

The chances of me liking an idea so much in its idea stage that I actually make some kind of offer for it – whether I propose we work together, offer financial support, or whatever – are… well, slim to none.  Let’s just say it hasn’t happened yet. 10,000 to 1, maybe more – I would guess.  And no, don’t call me up and ask me to do the marketing and we’ll split the profits.  Yea, I do all the work up front and if-and-when we make any money I get an undefined slice of the back end?  No thanks. I get this offer at least once a week without your call.  Thanks anyhow.

I know from personal experience that it takes about two years to bring a product to the marketplace with one person – without much money to spend – working on it, doing everything him or her self. Seems to me I wrote a book around here somewhere on that subject.  Oh yea, here it is, How To Market A Product For Under $500! Your idea may be great, but I simply haven’t got the time to put into my own ideas and projects – and believe me I have plenty – let alone put that full-time effort into someone else’s product.  Nor would I want to.

Here’s Help–ASI

In our board meetings of the American Society of Inventors, Inc., the nation’s oldest continuous inventor help group, we review ideas and inventions from members each month.  We’re a non-profit group and do not charge for this review, and none of the board members gets paid a cent. Nope, no perks, either, not even a dinner once in a while.  We all just do it to help inventors.

To have your invention or idea reviewed in our very informal session, the only requirement is that you must be a member ($49 annual membership) to submit your invention.  Although our reviews are informal, we have some pretty darned good people on the board who are highly regarded specialists in their own fields (I’m the marketing guy).   Contact ASI at the  We take the summers off, so if you need it then, don’t bother.

As far as I can tell it splits up like this: 85% of the ideas I see and hear from inventors don’t have a snowball’s chance in July of making money. 15% can make a profit if the person works hard on it and goes about it in the right way (see my book, How To Market A Product For Under $500!). About 3% of the inventions are great, and I strongly recommend the person move forward in some fashion, whether it be developing the product or selling or licensing it.  About 1% of the ideas or products we see make enough money to provide a full-time or part-time income for the inventor.  About 1/3 of 1% have the possibility of producing a wonderful income for the inventor.

At the most only about 4% of the ideas we review are patented.  I recommend patents to another 2%.  That’s only 2 out of 100.  As for the rest, I feel the product either isn’t worth the money for a patent, it isn’t patentable, the patent – if issued – won’t offer any reasonable amount of protection, or finally, the defense of the patent – should it come to that – won’t be affordable to the person.


Still gung ho about submitting your idea to a large firm? OK, go ahead.  But first, before sending anything, find and talk with a person of authority at the firm to which you are planning to submit your invention. I prefer the President, VP, or, depending on how large the firm is, the firm may have a full-time product submissions person.  If you can’t get to talk to anyone who is fairly high up, it will only get worse after your idea is submitted – so look elsewhere.


In your preliminary call to their firm – especially if you are on the phone with the president or vice president, tell him or her what the benefits of your idea are and what your product or idea will do for their product line and their customers, but do not disclose the idea.  Just tell them the BENEFITS.  Remember, products have features (like a tea cup has a handle), but it’s the benefits of the feature (you won’t burn your hand holding a hot cup) that you discuss with them.

If you have any figures for your product that are favorable, disclose them.  For example, the product costs $2 to manufacture and sells at retail for $15 to $19.  Competing models sell for $89.  Those would be favorable figures.

It is important that you do not mention what you are looking for in compensation.  If you do, it may be too much, and that will be an early death of your negotiations.  You’ll never know if they didn’t like the idea, the product, or they simply thought your compensation package was too high.  Don’t worry, if they like the idea, they’ll talk about the money at one point.  If talks move to round two, ask what they’ve paid others for product innovations.  It also wouldn’t hurt to see a copy of their other contracts, but it may be tough to get a hold of them.

Ask if they have ever licensed a product before.  If they say no what does that tell you about your chances of licensing out your product?

On approval and their signing of the non-disclosure, fully disclose the product and its benefits, along with whatever you know that may help sell the idea to the manufacturing company or the marketer (for instance – if you know the manufacturing costs or a special market where the product will be most beneficial).  Then be prepared to negotiate reasonably.

Money isn’t everything, but it sure beats the heck out of whatever is in second place.  If you can get your name on the package – and I always go for this – you’ll have more credibility when you develop your second product.  With your name on the package you’ll be able to attract another manufacturer and show them your successful track record.  It’s always nice to see your name in print, and I’d ask for this no matter how small they want to make it.

Reasonable licensing fees you receive may be as low as 1% to 3% for a raw or undeveloped idea (which, by the way, are not only worth less but are much harder to sell), and from 8% to 12% on the very high end for an idea developed into a finished prototype or even a finished product. Most likely, negotiations will start at 2% or 3% from them, you counter with 8% to 12%, and hopefully wind up at 5% if you’re lucky.  These figures are all negotiable and even is they tell you one figure or another is their standard, or the industry standard – it isn’t.  The percentages I quote are based on the wholesale selling price that the firm will receive on each sale, not the list price.  It’s important you don’t settle for a percent of the profits – there are too many ways to hide profits: only settle for a percent of their actual selling price.

Before sending your package, ask how long it will be until an evaluation or decision will be made.  They can have a reasonable amount of time after they receive your package for evaluation – like two weeks to a month at best.  But an inordinate amount of time should cost them – which is only fair since your offer is an exclusive single submission – and their evaluation is taking your product off the market to other firms.  Tell them two weeks is fine, but you can ask for a $2,000 to $5,000 flat fee up front to tie up your idea for several months while they take their time looking it over.  Never give up, but on the other hand know when to fold ’em and move on to another idea, another product, and another industry.

Fending the “Exclusivity” Question

When a firm asks for exclusivity, here’s how to respond. Ask them three questions:  first, what markets would they like exclusivity for – the mail order market, the catalog market, TV rights, chain store exclusive, drug store exclusive, specific industry right, – etc.?  What exactly do they want.

You may wind up assigning exclusivity in all markets to the company, but you should ask this up front to 1) see their response and 2) let them know that you know what different markets there are, and how each must be approached with its own separate marketing campaign.

This question also forces the firm to acknowledge that each market is a separate entity that they will need to acquire rights to.  Alas, in the end, you’ll probably wind up selling them blanket rights to every market, but it will bring added ammunition to your side so your percentage figure will be higher.

Second, what guarantees do you have of minimum sales?  If they are going to be your exclusive manufacturer and marketer, and you can’t offer the product to anyone else, what prevents them from just sitting on it and not investing any money to move the product along?  When anyone says “exclusivity,” I always come back with “guarantees!”

In fairness, I usually do not care if they have a guarantees of sales – under the assumption that you can predict anything but the future.  I don’t expect anyone to know what kind of sales they will have.  If this figure was known in advance by marketeers, every product launch would be successful.

But you do want to know their sales goal or at least a figure they’re shooting for, not necessarily to lock it in a contract but to just get an idea of what numbers they have in mind.  This will set up the last question:

Third, and most important – ask what is their budget for investing in this product?  

Ask just how much they will actually put into their marketing to achieve their sales goal.  Their answer to this question will tell you how serious they are, and this question is the most important.  No one can tell you what their sales will be – that’s a best-guess projection.  But they should be able to tell you with a good degree of certainty what they will be investing in their marketing budget to move the product along.

And fourth – what is their target date for putting this on the market place.  If they miss this date, they lose their rights to exclusivity.  They need to have a realistic timetable to bring the product to market.  If they don’t, you get the rights back to sell again.

Doing it right 

If you’re really serious about getting your invention licensed, this is my number one recommendation.

Get your prototype together, and have a professional packager make up a retail box.  Then call the president or the vp-marketing of the firm you are trying to license it to – or anyone who can make the actual decision to buy your product.

It’s important at this point you don’t get trapped at the gatekeeper level.  Lot’s of people will tell you yes they have signing authority and can accept a new product, but in truth they can only say “no!”  When you get trapped in this, and find you much go over their head, you now have an enemy in the firm.  Ugh…

Tell them you are a product developer (don’t say you are an inventor) and you’d like to meet with them.  Whatever you do, don’t tell them what the product is on the phone: just say you’d like 2 minutes of their time to show them something they’ll like.  Then make an appointment, get on a plane and show up at their door.  That’s the way it’s really done.  If you get this far – call me and I’ll fax over my own licensing agreement – which I got right out of Harvey Reese’s book, How to License your Million Dollar Idea.  Better yet, buy his book and use his contract.

Getting Protection

Submitting an idea is always scary because of the lack of protection you get.

Face it, if a big company wants your idea bad enough and is unscrupulous enough to take it, I feel there is very little you can do without eating your heart out. What a big firm will do is set aside a legal fund, and tie you up in court until you run out of money. If their legal bills start to exceed the size of their own fund, they’ll simply give your own product back to you and walk away.  It isn’t a very pretty picture.

To make matters worse, a piece of paper isn’t going to make them honest.  A patent, a non-disclosure document – or any kind of agreement – is just a piece of paper with some words scribbled on it.  The only value it has is: what you are going to back it up with, and how you – and your lawyers – are going to pursue your rights.

Crooks are used to being dredged through the court – they steal from everyone universally (not just you) and live in court defending their suits, dragging their suitors mercilessly through every delay and legal maneuver they can think of until they have to reconcile.  Sorry for such a bad review, but I’ve seen it happen.  While I certainly don’t want it to happen to you, you should know what can and does happen every day of the week.

In fairness to the 98% of businesses that are honest: single product submissions are tough, so I suggest you make up for it in quantity. If you have one good idea, you must have others. Formalize your submission process, and submit ideas and products to all the companies you can think of.  With your smaller ideas, simultaneous multiple submissions make sense.  Make this a continual effort, and submit ideas every few weeks or few months.  You never know when something is going to hit.

If you really fancy yourself an inventor, keep inventing.  Like any other profession, you don’t just do one and stop.  As a writer I don’t just write one article or one book and stop.  Same with inventing.  If you have one great idea, you must have others.  Keep a good notebook, a permanent record of your inventions and the date of conception.  Have it signed, dated, notarized throughout.

Continually refine each invention and drawing.  When an invention gets good enough, launch it in a professional manner.  There are professional inventors out there who make a living – a good living – just inventing.  But they all have one thing in common: a plan of attack.  You can bet it’s something much better than “Well, I just have this here one idea that I scribbled on this here napkin. Now I’d like to license it and make a million dollars.” While this may work for some, I wouldn’t bet the ranch this will work for you.

Whatever you do, do it in writing, and keep a copy of what you’ve sent to whom and where.  You can get a certificate of mailing at any post office that shows you’ve mailed something to a particular person or firm, and the date.  Cost? 25¢.

It’s best to send your idea or product via registered mail. It isn’t much protection, but it is proof you sent something to the firm you’re submitting an idea or product to.  Then, at the same time, send the exact same package you mailed to them to yourself, and when it comes back to you, don’t open it (like I did once, forgetting what I had sent, and then felt like a real fool – which I was). If they ever deny receiving it, you’ll have the receipt that you sent a registered package to them.  If it comes to court, you’ll have the same package registered to you, sent on the same day at the same time available to you – or a judge.  It would be pretty hard for them to deny they didn’t receive the same package.

All that notwithstanding, I’d file a provisional patent.  You can do this yourself for a few hundred dollars, and it’s real value is it gives you a patent pending number.  The contents of this – it really is NOT a patent, it’s just to show a date of invention – are kept secret.  Then I would NOT divulge the contents to anyone.  I’d just tell them you can’t disclose the claims until the patent is issued.  You aren’t selling the patent rights, you are selling the concept.  Period.

Sometimes not having a patent can work for you.  If you have a patent, the company can feel free to try to circumvent your patent in any and every conceivable way.  Patents are defended in special courts and can be very expensive to protect.  All in all, it’s the unique claims in your patent that are infringed upon, and most cases – while clear to each side that they’ll win – are more cut and dry to the judge or jury.  But winning the case is no assurance you’ll be prosperous – or even regain your legal fees.

Remember, there are two reasons firms go to patent court.  One is to defend the firm’s own patent.  The other reason is when a firm is marketing the product – and making money – and doesn’t want to give the money to the rightful heir – the owner of the patent.  These folks may take several defensive stances, none of which may be to get the patent rights:  their strategy may be to drag it out as long as they can, or keep appealing to see if you run out of money.

On the other hand, if you have a solid non-disclosure agreement signed and subsequently breached, this can go to trial in a traditional judicial court.  The matters of breach of trust can be argued, and injurious trade secrets can be brought in and litigated. Most states now have trade secrets laws to protect originators of ideas.  This is where your good attorney earns his keep. I hope it never goes that far, because in court you never know what’s going to happen. However, three things are fairly certain.  First, regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the better lawyers usually win the case. Second, the ones with the most money suffer the least, or at least that’s the way to bet.  And third?  The lawyers always win.

OK so far?  Good.  your project is just beginning.  You still need to strike a favorable deal.  But, that’s another article.

Something else. As an inventor and entrepreneur, you are my hero. It’s you who puts his or her neck on the line every day by trying something a little different.  You are the backbone of America.  As an inventor and entrepreneur myself, there were a lot of days I didn’t eat, and a lot of weeks I missed a paycheck.  I still have them occasionally – but so what.  I’m doing what I want.  I know my creativity will pay off one day – and if not, well… that’s OK too.  I’d rather do just what I’m doing, even if I never get rich.  I can face that reality.  What I couldn’t face is having a job I hated, waking up one day when I’m 50 or 60 and saying, “My God, I’ve wasted my life doing something I hate. I could have taken a shot at it when I was a younger man, I was too scared and didn’t.”  I don’t ever want to think that.

To be frank, I could go into a regular job right now and probably triple my income – and have a steady paycheck every week to boot.  While it would be great to have a few more dollars of cash in my pocket, I’m not quite ready to sell my soul, my life as an entrepreneur, for a steady paycheck even if it does come every week.  I guess I just love my life and doing what I’m doing.  The creativity never stops, and the ideas keep flowing and the pursuit of the unknown and it’s challenges I face every day remind me I am at risk.  But I know in my heart I am a true entrepreneur, and an inventor.  Never give up your dreams.

Keep inventing.  Best of luck.  Call me when you need some help or you need a friend.


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Bio – Jeffrey Dobkin is a writer, a speaker and a direct marketing consultant.  Call him with questions, or call for his FREE instructional booklet of direct marketing tips: 610/642-1000.  Dobkin is the author of five marketing books including Uncommon Marketing Techniques ($20.95 PPD) 35 articles on direct marketing, just like the one you just read, and How To Market A Product For Under $500!, ($33.95 PPD) a 400 page direct marketing how-to manual.  Both books are available from the publisher, Danielle Adams Publishing, Box 100, Merion Station, PA 19066.  Call TOLL FREE: 800-234-IDEA. Thanks. Satisfaction Always Guaranteed.