Patent? Really?

tesla patent wall

I saw two things pop up on my radar with minutes of each other and wanted to share them with you.

The first was this blog post from Tesla letting me know that all their patents now belong to me.  Well, not me in the Nigerian prince sense, more of a collective ‘us’ really.  Basically they said that in the spirit of the open source movement anyone can use their patents to build and help bring forward the electric car revolution.

How cool is that now?

The second was thing I saw was unfortunately less inspiring.  Here’s an excerpt from an inventor looking for advice:

“My 20 year patent has been submitted…should the next step be prototype, CAD drawings or product marketing company?”

I see this over and over where someone comes up with a new idea then rushes out to get a patent.  I understand where he’s coming from- we all have this fear that someone else will beat us to market before we can get our idea out there.  But when you file your patent before you do your market research, build or test a prototype, or formulate a plan to make money from your idea through either licensing or manufacturing you are wasting your resources and setting yourself up to fail.

Patents have their place and you can read about why Elon Musk initially filed so many patents to bring the Tesla to market.  But for the independent inventor without the same deep pockets as Elon who wants to bring a new idea to market it’s critical to take the right steps in the right order.

How large is the market for this product?  Can your solution be manufactured at a profitable cost?  Do people other than your Mom and Dad think it’s better than the competition?  Can you improve on your own idea?

The average cost for a utility patent is $10,000.  Before you make that kind of investment make sure you are protecting the right product idea at the right time, and make sure you have a plan in place to earn that money back many times over.

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1 comment

  1. Posted by Paul Solt, at Reply

    Great advice on waiting on the patent!

    What did you do with Coolest?