Denver Business Journal reports, “Inventors face a tough road trying to turn a profit, and the DaVinci Institute is trying to help them by using military-style tactics. With the goal of breaking down inventors’ false hopes in the morning and building up realistic ones in the afternoon, the institute will host its first “Inventors’ Boot Camp” on March 9.
“We’re dumping a lot into one seminar in one day,” said Thomas Frey, DaVinci executive director. “I think of the ruggedness of boot camp — it will be emotionally draining, but it will be emotionally stimulating.”
Frey said the workshop will be a very realistic portrayal of the inventing process.
“We’re trying to give people the straight scoop,” Frey said. “This is not a get-rich-quick theme.”
Frey believes being straightforward will help aspiring inventors. Tom Franklin, a workshop presenter, says one of the main reasons inventors fail is because they don’t bother getting patents. This is something he plans to stress during his presentation.
“Inventors really just get taken to the meat grinder,” said Franklin, a patent attorney at Townsend & Townsend & Crew. He said an invention with no patent has about a one-in-2,000 chance of making a profit; that number jumps to about one-in-50 with a patent. But even this dramatic improvement doesn’t impress Franklin.
“What a lot of people think is `If I go and get a patent, people are going to come banging on the door,'” he said.
Producing the invention and marketing it improves the chances of success — to about 10 percent. These numbers will be stressed during the boot camp, making sure the inventors think realistically.
During his part of the presentation, Franklin will discuss patent litigation and how to avoid it. He said the typical litigation costs between $3 million and $5 million — a cost many small-time inventors cannot afford.
This can be avoided if an inventor chooses to write a patent, which costs at least $6,000. Though this comes with what many startup inventors might consider a hefty price tag, Franklin says it is something needed to avoid larger companies from moving in and trying to squash the little guy.
Not only should an inventor patent the original concept but also any improvements made to the product. Doing this sets what Franklin calls a “minefield of patents.”
Having a number of patents makes it difficult for larger companies to steal the idea, Franklin said. The inventors who have both a good idea and the ability to develop it “under the radar of larger companies” have the greatest chance of making it, Franklin said.
Frey doesn’t want the boot camp to scare people out of becoming inventors, he just wants them to know exactly what they are getting into. Part of the workshop will be an in-depth look at different invention failures as well as the 10 most common mistakes made by inventors.
Frey will aim to get participants thinking “outside the box,” using various exercises.
He says many inventors only think about their invention and, by having them work with other ideas, they may be able to see their invention and its marketing from a different angle. This is a very important part of making an invention profitable.
Providing both the positive side and the negative side is what separates the Boot Camp for Inventors apart from other workshops, Frey says.
Other workshops paint the picture that inventing is easy, and most inventions will end up making money. Though this is a possibility, Frey doesn’t want to raise false hope at the workshop.
“A lot of people have the vision that they are going to be the next Bill Gates,” Frey said. “This gives them a realistic picture of success.”