Most people apply economics in making important life choices. For example, in choosing between two appealing job offers, most tend to choose the one that pays more. When purchasing a new car, people generally pick a vehicle they like that falls within a price range they can afford.

That is just common sense.

Unfortunately, many inventors tend to make important invention decisions by ignoring financial or economic considerations: they do what they like rather than what they should. This can often lead to unhappy outcomes.

Today's post is Common Sense Inventing

Common sense inventing involves a set of logical don'ts instead of do's:

  • Don't spend money before you should
  • Don't cut corners on what is crucial to success
  • Don't launch an enterprise that has no chance for success

New inventors often move quickly to file a patent on a new idea simply assuming no one has created anything similar: they spend money before they should. Patent attorneys will do a patent search, but the inventor must determine whether or not an idea should be patented, not the attorney. By investing a bit of time to do their own free patent search on uspto.gov, an inventor may discover there are many similar concepts already patented. If they obtain a patent in such a case, it is likely to be so narrow in scope as to be of no commercial value. Due diligence in the beginning may prevent wasting thousands of dollars in unnecessary patent prosecution.

If a new invention still looks promising after initial patent research due diligence, then taking the step to file a patent is may be a wise decision. Some inventors, when seeing the cost of a patent attorney, seek to cut corners by filing a patent on their own. Often, this leads to a patent that is so “full of holes” that any company could commercially produce a similar concept without legally infringing the patent. Cutting corners on items that are crucial to success is penny wise and pound foolish!

Lastly, new inventors tend to pursue grand enterprises by pursuing complex and expensive ideas or inventions. While a new space plane that anyone can pilot into space from their local airport seems exhilarating and exciting, such an enterprise has no chance for success. The best ideas are those that are simple,  can be developed on a limited budget, and may appeal to a wide segment of buyers.

Stay tuned!