Being an Inventor myself I have gone through a number of the same situations every Inventor faces. I have had my products/ideas rejected by multiple companies, products/ideas held for long periods of time as it was reviewed only to be returned, had the company tell me they loved my product/idea but still say No to licensing it (which is completely frustrating). And a host of other situations that can drive you absolutely crazy. So, I wanted to post some of the situations I have gone through to give other Inventors a look into the reality of inventing. Because inventing can be fun, exciting, frustrating, and have you run the gambit of emotions. The first rule of inventing you need to learn is patience. Because without it you will always have a headache.
I have been fortunate to get 11 of my product/ideas licensed in the toy, tool, kitchen, eyewear and nuclear industries and not go into debt during the process. The fastest I have gotten a product/idea licensed from the time I thought of it to the time I was offered a licensing deal from a company was two weeks. The longest I have gotten a product/idea licensed from the time I thought of it to the time I was offered a licensing deal from a company was 4 years and two months. So as you can see that is a wide range from start to finish. This is why I am posting this thread. I want Inventors to understand that every situation is different and how it progresses is not always the same. Because every company is different, their market is different, internal policies are different, how they treat innovation is different. And you will find that companies will turn down products/ideas they agree they love and would make them money if they licensed it.
I have had licensing deals that the company paid me an advance and then later decided they wanted to go in a different direction. The product/idea was returned to me and I got to keep the advance and go back to shopping it around. I have had licensing deals where the company was excited about the product but had to drop it because current manufacturing processes were not able to make the product at a rate that would make it financially beneficial. So it was not the product that stopped the deal, but current technology.
I had a licensing deal for a product that I developed while working for a government contractor company so it fell under the DOE/Contractor policy. It saved the DOE facility I worked at 4 million dollars a year in reduced waste. I received every award my company gave as well as I was the only individual to receive the National DOE Pollution Prevention award that year. Others that won that award were engineering or scientific groups. You can see info on it here http://infohouse.p2ric.org/ref/14/13978.htm Sounds great, doesn’t it? It is until you realize their policy stated that I would receive royalties for every product sold to non-government companies. It was being used throughout the entire DOE complex nationwide,(which is government) so unless I got the commercial nuclear industry interested in it I would not see a dime. Fortunately it was received very well by the commercial nuclear industry.
My point to all this is that inventing is not a one size fits all process that happens the same every time for every company or industry. How you approach the toy industry is entirely different than how you might approach the kitchen industry and so on. As an Inventor you need to learn to do your research, not be married to your product/idea, not be offended by criticism and learn from it to improve your product/idea, understand that companies work on their timetable not yours, realize a No is not the end of your life, don’t just focus on one area look at the world around you and seek out problems looking for a solution (not a solution looking for a problem). Challenge yourself to think outside the box and realize every idea does not have to be complicated in order to be a good idea.